Home > Games > Up, up and away…

Up, up and away…

September 29, 2013

I was vaguely aware of Cloud 9 a while back, but had it brought back to my attention by a post on Hiew’s Boardgame Blog where Hiew and family had fun with it at a boardgames cafe they frequent. I did a little more investigation about the game and ended up finding a bargain copy which I duly bought.

No, this isn't the night of the living dead. Miss B is just wearing the smudged remains of face paint from a party earlier in the day.

No, this isn’t the night of the living dead. Miss B is just wearing the smudged remains of face paint from a party earlier in the day.

So the game is a cute little push-your-luck game where we all take rides in a hot air balloon and see how long we dare stay in the balloon before bailing out, hopefully just before the pilot runs out of cards that would enable further ascent. The longer you stay in the balloon the more points you score, but if the pilot (whose job passes round the table after each flight) can’t (or occasionally won’t) make the balloon continue to rise, nobody left in the basket scores points for that trip.

Unfortunately Cloud 9 needs at least three people to play, but luckily Mummy was amenable to joining in, so we got a couple of games in before dinner time. The game plays quickly, even with Miss B playing, though there were passages of play where we just got a series of aborted take-offs before someone managed to pilot a decent flight. It is also a tough job being the pilot; very often you end up scoreless, but once in a while, if everyone bails out and you still have a wild card in your hand… well, that’s… umm… it puts you on cloud 9… or it doesn’t usually because cloud 9 is the top of the ascent and scores 25 points if you can make it. Nobody did. I’m rambling. Move along…

As an aside, we have another recently acquired game, the Romance of the Nine Empires, which I haven’t had a chance to play yet (and probably won’t be playing with Miss B in the immediate future). This is a curious beast. It’s a fictional game, invented for a movie, but which then got turned into a real game (it’s a re-theming of Legend of the Burning Sands, as I understand it) and released with packaging claiming that it is a special 15th anniversary world championship set, even though the 15th anniversary and the world championship is entirely imaginary. The game looks good, by the way, and I’ve been hearing good buzz about it. Anyway, Miss B was looking at this while we were talking about Cloud 9 and started giggling. She wanted me to tell you: “When we were writing this down we came up with the joke of mixing Romance of the Nine Empires with Cloud 9 and called it the Cloud of the Nine Empires.”

Meanwhile, back at the game in hand…  We all enjoyed playing this game, though Miss B was frustrated at the difficulty of scoring points when you are the pilot and that some flights literally never get off the ground.  I suspect that with more players flights would tend to get higher as everyone draws a card after each flight, so more players means bigger hands of cards when you are the pilot.  We also love the balloon motifs and the big basket (held aloft by a clear plastic stand) that everyone sits in to fly.  Nobody even questioned why people would be deliberately bailing out of a balloon.

The game: Cloud 9 (Out of the Box), 3 to 6 players aged 8+.

The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 6¾): “I think I’d mark it 8 out of 10.  It could be better if the pilot got more points on its go. You don’t really have many choices. And I think there could be two games you can play with it.  The first is for one or two players where you try to get to cloud 9.  The second is for just one player and you need to roll the exact number and see how many turns it takes to get to cloud 9.”

Edit: It turns out that I misread the rules and we were playing the game wrong. After each turn the pilot role changes.  This may deal with some of Miss B’s criticisms. We’ll try to play it right next time and see how things go.

  1. JM74
    October 7, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Hello! I’ve been reading your blog and enjoying it very much. You’re doing a great job, and you have plenty of reasons to be proud of Miss B… Congratulations!

    I’m also a geek dad, father to a 3-year old boy, and since he was born I harbored plans to do more or less what you’re doing with Miss B. I bought some kiddie games like Chicken Cha Cha and the Magic Labyrinth, waiting for the moment to play with him.

    Unfortunately, my boy was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is not a closed diagnosis, since we spotted the problem very soon and he is progressing constantly, but as for now, he still can’t speak and he is barely beginning to play imaginatively. He’s a charming, intelligent and affectionate little boy (and with an 18 in Charisma!), but simply his brain is wired differently.

    So for now, my plans have been delayed. But not thwarted! I have an immense faith in him, and with every new thing he learns and every obstacle he overcomes he gives us every day plenty of reasons to be proud of him. I’m sure that, once he overcomes the language barrier, board games will be an excellent way for my whole family to learn together and have fun.

    Keep up the good work with your lovely daughter, and treasure those moments of fun with her… they are priceless!

    Greetings from Catalonia!


    • October 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Hi Jordi. Many thanks for commenting. It’s great to hear from you.

      I don’t know much about autistic spectrum disorders, though it sounds like a big challenge to learn how to deal with a non-standard brain. If, when he is ready, he enjoys playing games, you could well have a real challenge playing with someone who can think about games with very different perspectives! 🙂

      Good luck, and enjoy being a parent!

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