Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Before dinner, we had time for one quick game of something. Balloon Cup!. I don't know exactly why I like this game so much. Is it because I win every game of it? No, can't be that. The running score was 1-3 before this game. Was it because it was a great simulation? No, not that either. I'm sure that somewhere out there is a game that really emulates the thrill of racing hot-air balloons, but this isn't it. Is it because it's a short Euro game with enough strategy in it to keep you interested throughout, but enough luck that the result isn't a foregone conclusion? That sounds likely!
It's also a nice antidote for Twilight Struggle, also a game I really enjoy. However, let's move past the weighty subject of the End of the World As We Know It, and let's move on to who can win the most balloon races!
The initial set up favoured Red and Yellow cubes heavily. Very heavily. Well, ok, there's an imbalance in cubes anyway in the game - fewer Grey than otherwise - but why was it that my hand, full of Grey cards, was trying to play a game with no grey cubes on the table? Unfortunately, I still had enough cards in my hand to play, so I did. Poorly.
Randy leapt to an early lead in races won, and when I was winning races, they were short ones for few cubes. I did manage to set up a couple of "play a card here and I win the race" situations, but Randy was doing the same, and more effectively.
Eventually a grey cube came up, and Randy won it, annoyingly. So, I made sure I'd win the next grey cube. Randy didn't win that one, but instead took a major 4-long race and the 4 cubes that went with it.
I'd like to make this into a major session report, full of life-or-death decisions, but let's face it: Balloon Cup, while one of my favourite 2-player game, is about racing hot-air balloons, and only takes about 20 minutes. So I can't.
The USSR didn't come back from behind. The Americans didn't care. I was left with Randy flying his balloons to victory: three trophies to one.
As I said, I love Balloon Cup, even when I don't win. I wandered off to dinner with only one thought in mind... as I do all the shuffling in these games, perhaps I could stack the deck?...
Following dinner, Tide of Iron!