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Subject: Quick review for the newcomer, by Vladimir rss

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Vladimir Atehortua
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My quick reviews are aimed at people who are new to BGG, and who "just a couple weeks ago didn't know so many games existed!". I write these reviews to help them from drowning in the sea of games and reviews, so If you are a newcomer, read on.

My reviews are thus concise, and attempt to provide the newcomer with the most helpful information in the shortest reading time, so that he/she can check more game reviews or perhaps get enough sleep after reading so many, instead of providing game details to the veteran geek.

What you'd get if you purchased Cloud 9:
(promo image)

When you are a newcomer, you probably are looking for interesting strategic "euros" that are different from the typical games you grew up with. However, upon browsing the BGG website you will eventually find out there are many types of games and not all of them are strategic/economic/skill-based.

There is this genre called "press your luck", which features games that are simple to understand and mainly luck based (not skill based). These games have a place in every boardgamer's collection for one reason: Gaming sessions are like fancy dinners, people cant eat main dish after main dish, they'd choke. If people played Power Grid after having played Caylus their brains would get burnt. You need games to get people "warmed up" and have some fun before engaging in a heavy-brainy strategy game, or to cool down from it. Light games like Cloud 9 are good for that.

Cloud 9 is:

a game of "pressing your luck", in which every decision you take is of this kind: "¿should I keep what I've already won, or risk losing it in order to win more?". Like in the who wants to be a millionaire TV show, when the player is asked to go for "double or nothing". If you don't find this kind of gambling entertaining, you won't enjoy Cloud 9

a game for 3 to 6 players, best with 5 or 6, still good with just 4 or 3. It doesn't really work with only 2 players.

a very cheap game (US$11 online) with great looking high quality bits for it's price.

a game filled with player interaction. This is NOT multiplayer solitaire. Your choices, will depend on other player's choices. There is also a lot of talk (trying to influence other people's choices) in a game of Cloud 9.

NOT a skill-based game. There are a couple strategies, and there are "tactical opportunities" that can be seized, but in general is a luck game, and should be taken as one. You roll up to 4 dice, and no matter how good your strategy is, dice can kill you, and no matter how bad or unskilled your opponent is, dice can save him/her. There is an element of managing the probabilities (as with hold'em poker) and of bluffing (as with poker). If you don't enjoy this kind of luck, you won't enjoy Cloud 9.

a somewhat social game. People tease each other into keeping pushing their luck, or into bailing out. There is bluffing, and people make fun of each other, accuse each other of cowardice, etc.

at least in my experience, Cloud 9 is a game that strongly appeals to the females. It could be because of the cutesy of the bits, the theme or the social nature of the game.

a game with no confrontation. Cloud 9 features player interaction, but not in a way that allows a player to "screw up" another player.

a game so simple, it can be played by 6 newcomers to the hobby, without the help of a mentor nor any previous experience with board games. The rule book is really straightforward, non convoluted, and has no "mistranslations from the german"

a quick game. At most it will take half an hour. People usually want an immediate rematch.


This game is what you would call a "filler", a game meant to open or close "game nights". You cannot get it as your "only" game. It will only complement a meatier game.

If you play it too often, it will burn out quickly, and people will not be interested to play it anymore. Don't overplay it. When people insist with "lets play a third time" be strong to reply "no, it is time for the main game of the night"

If you get the game:

The theme, as is written, lacks cohesiveness to the gameplay. Do yourself a favor and teach your gaming group the theme like this:

"The game is about a group of extreme skydiving parachute-adrenaline-junkies. They rent a balloon and sail up, and each one chooses when to jump off the basket of the balloon. The longer each person waits, the higher the balloon will be, making for a better & longer jump, thus scoring more points for it. However, the last person left on the balloon has to pilot it back to the rental, so he/she can't jump and gets zero fun-points"

I've found this way the theme sticks better to the gameplay (and the components). Read it first and then go on to the rules.

If you don't get the game:

If you are looking for a "multiplayer light filler game", but you find Cloud 9 (or the the press-your-luck genre) not suited for you and your people, there are other inexpensive light-filler gems out there that may be right for you, like For Sale, Martinis & Men, Felicity: The Cat in the Sack, Saboteur and others. Also, there's a list I've made, specially intended for newcomers, which might help you find your way amongst the myriads of available games:
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sevo man
North Carolina
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Great idea on the theme - will try that next time.

This is a great little game that gets dismissed too often due to the apparent lack of strategy. To that end, for those reading, could I also suggest some variants from the original game - mainly (if you can) Pass the Barn cards (insert the included Amigo cards - and yes other players will be able to see that you have the card as it is double sided - adds to tension) and also the extra cards for catch up for the last player at various points on the scoring track.

Hope that helps.
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Mitch Willis
United States
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Nice review. I think this is an underappreciated gem when it comes to press your luck games; probably overshadowed by the more popular games in the genre like Diamant/Unnamed Object and Can't Stop (which are also good games). The price point and foot print of the game, especially for the quality of the components you get, can't be beat...
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