MONTGOLFIERE - Reviewed by Mike
Excellent game in my opinion, one of my personal favourites, where players use cards in an attempt to get their balloons as high as possible in each round of play to gain the most points. The game is played over several rounds until an agreed point level is reached and the one with the most points at that stage is declared the winner.
The game is produced by Euro Games, caters for 2-6 players and takes about 1 hour to reach 50 points. For a shorter game play to a lower target.
Components consist of a simple board depicting the different heights of the balloon, ranging from 1 to 15. There are 6 packs of cards, one for each colour, each consisting of the same 24 cards which depict an action. Finally there are 6 wooden balloon markers in the different colours.
Although I have categorised this as a boardgame it could quite easily be filed under the Card Game section as it is the cards that drive it. Within each round of play players will select a card to play which are then revealed simultaneously. The outcome of these actions is determined and the balloons are moved accordingly. This is repeated until all 24 cards have been played and then the round is scored. If the target has been reached the game ends, otherwise further round(s) are played.
To start, each player takes a set of 24 cards in the matching colour. Each player has exactly the same distribution of cards which are : -
· 2 Sleeping Gas
· 2 Bad Weather
· 15 Ballast (numbered 1-15)
· 1 Super Motor
· 4 Hooks
Each player shuffles them well and places them face down in front of him. They then take the top 7 cards into their hand.
Playing the Game
Each player selects one card from the 7 in their hand and places it face down on the table. Once all the players have done this they are turned over simultaneously and the resultant outcome determined (see "Card Resolution" below)
One (or more) of the playing pieces is moved on the board. Each player moves the card just played to one side and takes the top card from his remaining pack to bring their hand up to 7 cards again, and a new turn begins.
Once the stockpile of remaining cards has been exhausted, the game continues with the cards in the player's hand, until all 24 cards have been played.
A very specific order of play must be followed to take into account the effect of the cards played in each round. This sequence is as follows : -
(Note : A player can lay a card which is of no interest to him e.g. a Sleeping Gas although no-one is beneath him. This corresponds to a discard)
Sleeping Gas - This card overrides all other cards, (except the Super Motor which is never affected by Sleeping Gas) which have been played by players who are one section immediately below the player who is using the Gas. All other players, whether further below, at the same height, or above this player are not affected.
The cards over-ridden are laid to one side and are not taken into account when resolving the outcome of the turn. Note that a Sleeping Gas card over-rides another Sleeping Gas card below it.
Bad Weather - If an uneven number of Bad Weather Cards have been played (1,3 or 5 cards) then Bad Weather prevails for the round and the balloons move 1 section down, instead of up. If an even number of Bad Weather Cards have been played (2 or 4 cards) then the Bad Weather is cancelled out and movement will be upwards, as normal.
Ballast - The player ( or players in the event of a tie) who lays the highest value Ballast card moves 1 section up, or 1 section down if Bad Weather prevails. All other players who have laid a Ballast Card do not move this turn.
Super Motor - This card allows the player to move up 2 sections, even if Ballast cards have been played. However if Bad Weather prevails the upward movement is restricted by the wind to 1 section only.
Hooks - The player who plays this card moves at the same pace as the player (or players) one section immediately above him. Other players, at the same level or below are not affected. Beware !! If Bad Weather prevails and the player to whom he is hooked moves downwards, then the hooked player also moves down !
A chain reaction can break out if several players lay Hook cards. If one player is hooked to another who is in turn hooked to another who climbs up (or climbs down) everyone moves at the same time. Note also that a player can hook to a player who has played a Super Motor card, in which case the hooked player will rise by 2 sections ( 1 section if Bad Weather).
If there is more than one playing piece above, the player laying the Hook card can decide which one to hook to, taking advantage of the most favourable option.
So you can see that this is a game of trying to outguess your opponents. You can be pretty sure that if an opponent is one section above you they will play a sleeping gas on you, if they still has one, so play a low level Ballast. Try and keep your higher value Ballast cards until the most judicious moment....and then see someone else play the Bad weather card so that you go down instead of up !
All very light-hearted and not too taxing on the brain. An ideal filler for ending a gaming session.