We just received our first shipment of games today in the mail. They included the following games: Carcassonne Traders & Builders and Princess and Dragon, Ticket to Ride, Warcraft, For Sale, Cartagena, Pick Picknic, Balloon Cup and Alhambra. Up until today, the only Eurogame that we had tried was Carcassonne (plus river exp, Inns & Cathedrals, & the Count). We really enjoy playing Carcassonne and were looking forward to trying the other games.
I played Balloon Cup with my wife. I had looked at Lost Cities and LOTR: Confrontation also, but choose this as our first two player game to try.
First Time Set up and Reading Directions
Set up is a piece of cake, directions were easy to read and learn. Took maybe 10 mins.
Four large placards 4"x4" [numbered 1-4]are placed between the two players in order. All the cards are two sided with mountains on one side and valleys on the other side. They alternate high low on initial set up. There are little colored cubes that are used to ultimately win trophy cards. Randomly, 1 is placed on placard 1, 2 on 2, etc. The players are dealt cards that have a number and color that correspond to the wooden cubes. The numbers range from 1 to 13 I think. Players play cards by each of the 4 placards. The 1 placard needs one card on each side, the 2 needs 2 on each side. The cards played have to correspond to the colored cubes on the placard. On the mountain placards, players need the highest total score for that set of cards, on the valleys the lowest. you can play cards either on your side (to help you) or on your opponents side (to hinder them and help you). If all the necessary cards are played on a particular placard, the highest/lowest player wins the cubes (depending on mountain/valley showing) Th e placard is then flipped to the other side and the required number of cubes are put on top again from the bag. Its easier to play than it sounds. Really.
Winning the Game
As players game colored cubes, they can use them to get trophy cards. Each color has a trophy card with a certain number of cubes required to get it. Once 1 player has 3 of 5 trophy cards, the game is over and they win the game.
You could probably play the game in complete silence if you wanted, I don't think any interaction is necessary to play. But then again, its a fairly easy game to play so there is amble time for chit-chat. A great couple game in my opinion.
Took us about 45 mins overall. This included a couple small interuptions. It will probably be a lot less next game.
I ended up winning 3/2, but we forgot about the rule that you can use 3 cubes of one color to fill for another color. Can't remember if my wife would have been able to win first. Might have.