Spotlight on Games > Ludographies
Balloon Aviation Board Games
15-August-2014 - Added Flieg Luftballon, Flieg!Im Fluge durch Deutschland, Oesterreich und die SchweizRise of the AeronautsZeppelin Attack: Doomsday WeaponsZeppelin ConquestZeppelin: Peter Strasser's Blitz

25-January-2014 - Added Balloon RaceForbidden DesertFortune and GloryKings of Air and SteamLeviathansZeppeldromeZeppelin Attack

10-September-2013 - Added Banzai ZeppelinDer Blinde Passagier im ZeppelinDurch die Luft Mit ZeppelinQuicksilverTerror of the Skies: The Airship Pirate Board GameA Voyage Through the CloudsZeppelin Derby

Balloon Games
Airship Games
Related games

Balloon Games
Everyone seems to love a balloon. If you've never encountered one in real life, even the small ones tend to be huge, their envelopes dwarfing everything in sight. They tend to look exciting in bright, lively colors, their movements quiet and fluid, as if operating by magic. In fact they remind us of simpler, more adventurous times when the human took center stage rather than the technology. And since balloons are not particularly useful as transportation, they tend to give off an air of leisure and fun. But we speak of balloons in real life. How they have fared in the world of games?

Im Fluge durch Deutschland, Oesterreich und die Schweiz
(unknown); Spear's Games-1920?; 2-6; 30; 6+
"In flight through Germany, Austria and Switzerland." Roll-and-move game of traveling across the three countries and trying to avoid hazards.

Stratosphere
Parker Brothers-1933; 2-4
This game was inspired by the record-setting high altitude balloon ascent into the stratosphere by Auguste Piccard in August of 1932. His grandson's record-setting flight around the world was the inspiration for
Balmy Balloonists. The box cover depicts a very tall, billowy balloon such as used in the actual ascent with the word "STRATOSPHERE" displayed across it in a very typical for the 1930's typeface. Copies of this game today are worth $100 and more.

Sprung aus den Wolken
Abel-Klinger-1963; 2-4
The first reaction may be "What inspired a balloon game in 1963?" I too would like to have a good answer to this question, but never having seen the game can only report that its title means "Jump From the Clouds" and it was published by Abel-Klinger. As there seems to have been a television series of the same name around the time, I expect it was a tie-in game and in fact have only a comment in the Luding game database to support that it even pertained very much to ballooning. According to various nostalgic web pages, the TV program appears to have been about travelers parachuting into various adventurous locales such as the Wild West, Ancient Troy, a pirate boarding, etc. Ballooning might well have been merely the stitching between episodes. But if you ever run into this one, be sure to check it out and let us all know what it's like.

Ballonrennen
Eric W. Solomon; Ravensburger-1977; 2-5
With 1977 we come to a game which I have actually played. Published by Ravensburger, it was designed by Eric W. Solomon, who may be better known for some of his other titles such as Billabong, Black Box and Conspiracy. The title means "Balloon Race", but there is a little bit more going on as the balloons are not just trying to reach a destination, but also to deliver the mail! I very much doubt that balloons have ever been trusted anywhere with anything as serious as the mail and this game proves why. All too realistically, players can spend a long time trying to get to where they are going. Since the sequence of play is that a player first chooses altitude and then turns over a wind card to see how the speed and direction change, it can be almost maddening trying to get anywhere with certainty. And it is not simply a matter of crossing a line, but actually landing on a specific spot. Some nice ideas are the accurate reflection that stronger winds exist at higher altitudes and at least in some sense the interplay between gas and ballast in piloting. What will not fail to impress are the nice-looking plastic balloons which adjust altitude by traveling up and down on a tapered plastic stick, nicely-formed plastic tokens and large plastic hexagons in three different heights to indicate the current wind speed.
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Fantastische Ballonreise
Tom Werneck; Ravensburger-Promotion-1977; 2-5; 7-99
Appearing in the same year, this one also came from Ravensburger, but as a specialty game made for the soft drink Fanta. Both games use virtually identical balloon pawns, although in this one they carry the Fanta logo. The title means "Fantastic Balloon Voyage," – notice the similarity between "Fanta" and "Fantastiche". It's interesting to speculate on the relationship between this game and the one above. Did Fanta come with their request first and Ravensburger decide that as long as they were ordering balloons anyway they might as well make a game on it? Or did Ballonrennen fail to sell well and Ravensburger look for a way to re-use the pieces? Or perhaps it was one of lifes happy accidents and both ideas came in at the same time. Whatever the case, Fanta's game was designed by Tom Werneck, one of the German gaming pioneers, founder of the famous Spiel des Jahres prize and author of the short book, Leitfaden für Spieleerfinder (Guide for Game Inventors).

The game itself has something of the flavor of Empire Builder as players are dealt several destinations and must strategically order these to find the shortest path. The map stretches from the Alps to Amsterdam, and from Hamburg to Paris. Paths are delineated on a square grid plus there are diagonal lines, but curiously only in the northwest to southeast direction. As it means the board travels faster in one direction than the other, this is totally weird! But weird does not mean bad; rather, players are forced to think a little harder and take this into account in their planning. The game is rated for ages 7 and up and illustrated accordingly with a dazzling series of colorful images which are particular to the folklore each locale. The map is traveled according to altitude just as in Balloonrennen with the only restriction being an ascent limit of just one level. Wind direction is controlled by a special die which the player always throws to alter the current wind speed indicator. This is more forgiving than it may sound as the indicator just gives the maximum allowed speed rather than the required speed and it is always possible to travel at least one. Upon reaching a destination the player follows the instructions on the card which provide some background information and sometimes grant an extra turn, require a landing, etc. Occasionally, as in Elixir, a player may receive an extra advantage if able to answer a trivia question, tell a joke or draw a picture. The die also contains indicators for drawing Chance cards, which appear to be even-handed. The most significant of them are probably those which permit a player to trade a destination with one of another player or to immediately fly along a line toward the next destination. Overall it is a game with plenty of atmosphere and color, but probably not satisfying for strategists. It would possibly be of interest for those playing with young children.
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Rules (this site: English)

200 Jahre Montgolfieren
Jürgen Hagedorn; Hexagames/TST-Enterprises-1983; 3-6; 7-99
Six years later Jürgen Hagedorn and Hexagames presented this game whose title "200 Years of Hot Air Balloons" commemorates the bicentennial of the original 1783 ascent of the Montgolfier brothers. As they were French, it seems strange that so far we have not encountered a French game on ballooning topic, but we will remedy that later. This designer created several titles during the 1980's, none of which I have ever seen, including this one, although I have read the rules. According to German reviewer Andreas Keirat to whose review and picture I am indebted, this should be classified as a dice game. The board is circular and divided into ten concentric rings. Twenty-four "spokes" combine with them to form a grid. Players each have a wooden balloon which shows its altitude by stacking it up, insecurely it seems, on small wooden disks. They also receive at start four ascent cards and four descent (gas bottle) cards. A wooden arrow on a disk at the center shows the current wind direction. Players move by rolling two dice, a special one which describes a change in wind direction or a requirement on the player and an ordinary one which gives the amount to move. There are actually three games in one, all centered around getting a balloon to a specific location, the first two based on real life balloonist games: a chase or "fox hunt" and a target race. The third scenario describes a race to the center of the board. Andreas seems to feel that the game is average for a dice game, while giving high marks for the components apart from the cards.
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Review (Keirat/Luding: German)

Hot Air Ballooning Game
Joe & Maggie Cordova; Hot Air Ballooning Game-1983; 2-5
Published for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, features balloonists racing past a series of obstacles. Movement is via spinner. They can attempt to change the wind direction. There are also event cards. Balloons are mounted on 1-foot plastic rods.

Balloon Race
Hungry Owl-1984; 2-5
In 1984 there appeared, uncredited and unheralded, one of those games where the goal is to fly has high as possible, once again in fact, to the stratosphere. But this time each player is simultaneously piloting not one but four balloons which attempt to traverse a tall grid, rendered whimsical by a number of wavy lines. An exotic 10-sided die is used to move a player's pawn on the track that runs around the outside edge of the map. Every now and then it passes an action points indicator (numbered 1-4) which permits the player to make that many moves. Besides pure advancement of their balloons, some spaces are storm clouds which have the side effect of dropping one of the ten hail stones down a square – upon hitting a balloon they send it all the way to the bottom from which it must re-start. Other special effects are spaces which force a move to the side, random hail stone activity, squashing a balloon between two others and using one's own balloon as a stepping stone. While the board is rather colorful, the balloons are simply represented by plastic chips. Apparently sponsored by Alka-Seltzer or at least that is the logo prominently displayed on the box.

Balloon Race
Nick Sewell; Three Wishes-1990?; 3-6; 6+
as The Great Balloon Race for Parker-1991, also for Tactic
in German as Himmelsstürmer for Parker-1991
in French as Poursuite en Ballon for Parker-1991

With 1990 players no longer had to wait half a decade for a new balloons game to appear as three were due to appear over the next three years. Perhaps part of the reason was that the year's entry proved quite a successful one, being published in three different languages. The game seems to have begun life as a self-published effort by Nick Sewell (under the label Three Wishes) who did a few other games in the late 80's and early 90's, the other most recognizable names being Die Erbraffer and S.P.I.V.'s. The game was then picked up by Parker and published in the UK as The Great Balloon Race and in Germany as Himmelsstürmer ("Sky Stormer").

The game itself is one of tactics and bluffing, a bit in the style of games designed by Bruno Faidutti (Citadelles/Ohne Fürcht und Adel) and indeed he has a favorable review of the game at his website. The board is a curved track with whimsical depictions of European landmarks along the way. There are eight nicely-made large, plastic balloons, differentiated only by color (a potential problem for the color blind). Players do not "own" any balloon in particular, but are each secretly supporting a unique set of three of them as determined by a secret card dealt at the start. A turn is comprised of a die roll and a movement of any balloon. There are special spaces on the carefully-designed track which may send balloons backwards, back to the start or stop its forward movement. There are also special rules by which balloons may be bumped. A great deal of the interest here is in the bluffing and deduction. Obviously these activities can go on even on others' turns so there is very little "down time" between turns. Overall, although bearing relatively little connection to actual ballooning, this forty-five minute game is rather enjoyable, certainly much more so than might first appear.
[Check Availability: German]
[Check Availability: English]
Review with Images (Trev: English)
Review (Clarke/Billabong: English)
Review (Keirat/Luding: German)
Review (Faidutti: French/English)
English Rules Translation

Montgolfière
Dominique Erhard; Eurogames/Descartes-1992/1999; 2-6; 7+
Balloon games returned definitively to the land of their birth with this game by Dominique Erhard (better known for Condottiere, Serenissima and at the time of this writing, the brand new Die Weinhändler) and published by Eurogames/Descartes. Re-released in 1999 with new artwork, it is my guess that this is the ballooning game best known in the United States today. It differs from all of the others discussed so far however in that now the race is no longer a lateral one, but rather to see which balloon can ascend the highest, in fact, as the board whimsically suggests, all the way to the moon.

Players familiar with Hol's der Geier or Raj will recognize the influence of Alex Randolph's ideas as each player starts with an identical set of cards, chooses a random subset and adds one card each turn. The higher the card played, the more likely one is to move up, but there are other interesting plays such as grappling onto another balloon, using soporific gas on lower balloons or storms which defeat the leaders. It can be especially interesting to compete against the non-player Black Baron who has been known to win the game from time to time, even playing randomly. All of this makes for a light psychological battle not requiring a great deal of thought or effort, but nice artwork and components make for a pleasant experience which doesn't last more than thirty minutes. For those wanting a denser game, we have successfully played a variant in which each player has the full deck of cards available from the outset. This adds to the strategy, especially with respect to cooperative play.
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Review with pictures (Dan Becker: English)
Review (Oakes/Sumo/Game Cabinet: English)
Review (Irons/Just Go Play: English)

Balloon Race
John Escott; World International Publishing-1993; 2; 4+
Roll-and-move air race over Greendale.

Himmelsstürmer
Manfred Franz; Jumbo-1994; 2-6; 7+
as Wolkenstürmer for Jumbo-1995

Two years later there appeared another entry, again for children, and again about flying as high as possible. Designed by Manfred Franz for Jumbo, it was renamed as Wolkenstürmer (Cloud Stormer) a year later, perhaps because of the overlap with the game of 1991? This designer is also responsible for Die Schlangen von Delhi (The Snakes of Delhi) and Schweinerennen (Swine Race), also games for children. Nor are animals limited to those as here players must contend with crows whose deadly attentions may spell disaster for the daring balloonists. As in the previous game of this name, a player's support of a particular balloon color is secret, although here just of one rather than three balloons. Instead, each balloon has multiple colors depicted. The board shows several layers of air with specially-marked positions at which the crows begin. A turn consists of rolling a die which gives a balloon color. The player may move a balloon with this color up or sideways or, alternatively, move a crow sideways, the crows politely declining to change altitude. A third option is available if a crow happens to start the turn next to a balloon. In this case, the crow can be used to attack the balloon, after which it, having done its damage, retires from the scene, as does a balloon which has been twice attacked. As unfortunately I have been unable to ever encounter this game, I am indebted to the review of Andreas Keirat once again, as well as that of Peter and Birgit Koeltringer for the information here. Both seem to indicate that this is a pleasurable combination of bluff, tactics and luck lasting no more than twenty minutes.
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Review (Keirat/Luding: German)
Review (Koeltringer/Luding: German)

Steampunk – War Balloon
Alessandro Manitto & Massimo Torriani; Hobby & Work-1994; 2
Far less well known was this war game in which on a square grid board the two combatants try to shoot one another down. Dice play a role and damage is taken by drawing damage cards. The balloons are represented by cardboard standups.

Cloud Nine
Aaron Weissblum; F.X. Schmid USA-1999; 2-6; 8+
Five years passed. Balloons flew and landed, no doubt trying to avoid crows and soporific gas along the way, but no new games could be added to the ballooning games ledger until this 1999 publication by F.X. Schmid. American designer Aaron Weissblum's other games are co-designed with Alan Moon: Knights of the Rainbow, Time Pirates and San Marco. This game breaks with its predecessors by abandoning the idea of competing balloons and instead puts all of the players into the same basket, one which is climbing through the clouds. On each cloud, the current player must roll the dice which show cards in four colors and two blank sides. Whatever cards are rolled must be matched by that player, but the other players may either jump off the balloon (and score points depending on how high the balloon is) or stay on, gambling that the needed cards will be played. If the cards are matched, the balloon continues to rise. If the match is not made, the balloon ride is over and all players still on the balloon score zero. Umbrella cards are "wild" and considered a match for the entire needed set. The "Pass the Barn" cards allow a player to force somebody else to make the match. Unfortunately my plan to try out this game fell through and I was not able to play it before completing this article. Thus I have relied here on the reviews of Dan Becker and Trevor Clarke, which describe the game as reminiscent of the Sid Sackson (Hasbro) classic Can't Stop, the similar quality being that players need to decide when to quit while they are still ahead, but differing in that card counting may help success whereas in the former, one is always at the mercy of the dice. This rather light game rarely lasts more than forty-five minutes.
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Review (Becker: English)
Review (Trev: English)
goofy balloon

Pass the Gas
D.J. Stamper; Fun City Games-1999; 2-6
In the same year, but only very recently brought to my attention, another ballooning game was published by Fun City Games, a Florida outfit, who were previously unknown to me. The games designer, D.J. Stamper, who also seems to maintain an on-line comic book shop, is also a new name to me. Production is reminiscent of the Cheapass Games approach to publishing, including only a rules set, cards and four large cards all monochrome to form the board. In an arrangement that must give pleasure to dice retailers, players must supply a twenty-sided die and a four-sided die for each player. As in Montgolfière, Himmelsstürmer/Wolkenstürmer and Cloud Nine the goal is once again to reach maximum altitude, but unlike the latter, the players are once again back in their own balloons (and represented by the four-sided dice). Airspace is divided into six vertical lanes with tossing out ballast (in the form of cards) being the primary activity each turn. Humorous imagination was applied in the naming of these items such as the kitchen sink, an encyclopedia, a refrigerator, etc. The same goes for the naming of the different balloon teams. A balloon rises toward its eventual goal of five thousand feet depending on the size of the ballast card. However, this card does not simply land on the earth – instead it will be more fun to try and hit another balloon via a "to-hit" roll which if successful, gives the ballast card to that player and forces his balloon downwards. In addition, it may hit a crew member, knocking him out and forcing out a piece of ballast, causing the balloon to rise again. Each player also has one dart and one dynamite which may be launched at an opponent instead. With the latter, unless the player happens to have the one nonflammable gas card (the gas cards are passed each turn), the balloon bursts and the team is forced to re-start from the ground. Players may be somewhat reminded of the game Skyrunner or even Devil Bunny Needs a Ham and the game may last a bit longer than players expect as it is relatively easy to burst other balloons and send them hurtling all the way down to the ground.
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Balmy Balloonists
Philip Vogt & Rick Heli; Up & Away Games-2000; 1-6
Although perhaps only dimly remembered now, 1999 also saw the world's first balloon circumnavigation. Except for those who followed its progress on the worldwide web, the drama of the race seems to have been little shared by the general public. In fact it was an occasion of high adventure hearkening back to the historic automobile and airplane contests of the early century, complete with diplomatic overtones, frequent mishaps and not a little genuine peril. Although a $1,000,000 prize beckoned, the typical team was to pay up front costs of more than twice that. This was to be a race not for the gold, but for the glory.

This is the departure point for this first game by Philip Vogt and, surprise!, myself. We found ourselves truly inspired by the balloonists' sense of adventure, the romance of ballooning itself and the many difficult strategic decisions involved. Publishing under the label Up & Away Games, we decided to posit the game as a more familiar race, one with a common start line and time. By the way, just such a real-life race is planned as an annual event starting in 2001. Philip's background in meteorology was invaluable in designing textless cards which represent actual weather and jet streams patterns. The balloons represented by stackable plastic pawns carry limited supplies of ballast, gas and fuel which must be carefully husbanded, just as the real ones are. Of course in every flight there are unfavorable winds and events and in the game these are for the most part triggered by the players, thus giving a way to slow down a leader. But it is not an open season to blow anyone off course at will as we rely on a color system to limit which balloon may be manipulated at any given time. (To avoid the most common red-green color blindness problem we eliminated one of these colors.) The successful player will use lookahead ability to successfully navigate this system and claim a virtual sip of the traditional winner's champagne.
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English rules
German rules
FAQ

Interlude
With this game, we come to the end of our ballooning tour. Or is it? Are there more ballooning games in our collective future? Only time will tell. But one positive sign will have already been noticed by buyers of this year's Die Siedler von Catan: Das Buch (expansion kit for The Settlers of Catan) by Kosmos. In it are six colorful balloons as well as "Ballonfahrer" (Balloon Travelers) rules which can be added to any Settlers game, thus revealing another potential for ballooning in games, i.e. just add them as a variant to any of the games you're already playing. Perhaps some readers will come up with some very inventive ideas in this area. Who knows what excitement may develop!

Die Siedler von Catan: Das Buch
Kosmos-2000; 3-6
Contains balloon pawns and rules for a "Ballonfahrer" variant for adding balloons to Die Seefahrer von Catan.
Rules (this site: English)

Die Siedler von Catan Variant
Thomas Hnizdo; 3-4
Rules for another "Ballonfahrer" variant adding balloons to Die Seefahrer von Catan.
Rules (this site: English)

Balloon Cup
Stephen Glenn; Kosmos/Rio Grande-2003; 2
Game of various ballooning competitions. There isn't really any connection to ballooning apart from the artwork. The idea is that players are competing over a series of ballooning competitions, represented by cards placed in a line between players. Players then play cards on either their own or the other player's side to represent how well they have done in the a competition. Winning a competition earns a wooden cube. Earn enough of these in a color and receive a trophy which gives victory points. Play is very tactical and one wants to do many things, but only one is permitted. The important skill is to evaluate which is most important, often based on whatever can be deduced about the opponent's goals and hand. It's refreshing that both low and high cards are useful, greatly lessening the possibility of losing due to poor luck of the draw. Unfortunately the theme is very thin.
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Balloonacy
Walt O'Hara-2003
Diceless miniatures game where the player controls altitude via ballast. Wind and Terrain are determined by card draw.
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Walt O'Hara Site

Balloons in the Wind
(unknown);
(web-published)-2007; 2-8
Print-and-play dice game. Win by crossing the red line into the park.

Hot Air - Solitaire
Michael Eskue;
(web-published)-2008; 1
Card game of navigating with a limited amount of fuel and trying to avoid birds, lightning, planes and gusts of wind.

Mad Zeppelin
Olivier Pauwels; Alderac-2010/Dust Games-2010; 2-5
Card game set in the Industrial Revolution. Players represent traitors trying to sabotage a valuable zeppelin shipment, a zeppelinment, of supplies to a great emperor while trying to avoid being caught by the guards.

Magnificent Flying Machine Rally, The
(uncredited); The Master Herbalist, Ltd.-(unknown year); 2-6
A simple dice race from London to Paris during the age of early aviation. Two of the racers are balloons and one is an airship.
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Airship Games

Ace of Aces: Balloon Buster
Alfred Leonardi & Hal McKinney; Nova Game Designs-1985; 2
Booklet game about shooting down tethered observation balloons during the first world war. Part of the Ace of Aces series.

Aeronef
Steve Blease and Matthew Hardey; Wessex Games; 1999; 2
Air combat with 1/1200th scale miniatures in a Victorian science fiction setting. Players control several airships at once.
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Aether Captains
Todd Sanders;
Mage Company-2010; 1; 20; 8+
In a fictional, steampunk world the player commands an airship versus pirates. The airship consists of six dice positioned so as to make up various parts of the ship such as guns, command deck and engine. Damage to these sections, which may later be repaired, is indicated by dialing down the pips. Six dice also represent the pirates. Spinoffs to this system, all from 2011, include the following:
Aether Captains: Capek Golems
Aether Captains: Clockwork Cabal
Aether Captains: Dread Supremacy
Aether Captains: Pirate and Traders
Aether Captains: The Search
Aether Captains: Triad
Aether Captains: Triad 2

Air Ship Game, The
(unknown); McLoughlin Brothers-1904; 2-4
Roll-and-move game of racing to the north pole via airship.

Airship Adventures
Lloyd Krassner;
Warp Spawn Games; 2005; 2-4
In 1850, players pilot Victorian airships, completing various missions around the globe. Airships have six attributes: Military, Exploration, Diplomacy, Transportation, Rescue, and Speed. Attachments and Crew cards help improve various traits. Employs two ten-sided dice.

Airships
Andreas Seyfarth; Queen-2007 2-4
This is a dice and technology tree game around the perfection of airship technology like that of the Hindenburg (wartime uses carefully sidestepped). The four players represent Germany, France, Italy and USA and the play materials reflect that (though this is not really a variable powers game). Also thematically nice is the separation of cards the players can acquire into six types: engines, pilots, scientists, tools, hangars and funding. All of this is realized in some quite lovely artwork by Jo Hartwig, the faux "designer's notes look" being especially fetching. What's more is that the internationalized communication design is clear and well done. Along with these materials, there are some unusual dice in three colors. White dice show results in the range 1-3, red – 2-5 and black – 4-8. A number of cards are laid out, each specifying the types of dice and the total needed to acquire them. To the total the player may afterward add a bonus chit; failure grants another such chit. Turning in three chits permits a double turn. A player can only hold one of each type of card which means there are sometimes difficult decisions and also that the order that new cards appear is a bit of randomness perhaps more decisive than that of the dice. Eventually players try to create actual dirigibles by taking the more difficult cards which grant victory points. Doing so gives the nice wooden blimp piece and another dice roll bonus. Starting work on the major airship overrides all lesser ones, however. The fact that this ship may never be finished and that the game ends not when all four of lesser airship stacks are depleted, but when each is down to just one card shows judicious wisdom that prevents matters from going on past the point of fun, something less often seen in American games where normally, come hell or high water, every last possibility must be played out long after Fun has left the building. Often the winner is the one who was most often able to roll an 8 on a black die as it always seems that that will win the prize while failing to roll an 8 will lose it. There's a bit of strategy – low-risk/low-reward v. high-risk/high-reward – but the main skill is evaluation of probabilities. On the other hand it's short enough and the choices and setting otherwise interesting enough to make this one of the better possibilities in the dicing sphere.
[Buy it at Amazon]

Banzai Zeppelin
(unknown); Löffler & Co.-19??; 2-5; 6+
German roll-and-move race around the world. An important feature is the requirement to reach particular points withing a set amount of time; getting there early provides extra cards. Probably published in the late 1930s.

Batalha de Zeppelins
Antonio Marcelo; Riachuelo Games-2002; 2
Microgame of aerial battles of airships before the advent of the use of the airplane as war weapon. Web-published in Portuguese at http://www.plebe.com.br/riachuelo/zepe.htm

Der Blinde Passagier im Zeppelin
(unknown); Verlag Schmidt Zwiebeltürme-19??; 2-6; 6+
This German game from the 1920s or 1930s is about getting your passengers into seats on the zeppelin. The mechanism is dice rolling. Results of 1-5 put a passenger into a corresponding waiting possition while a 6 gets them into the zeppelin. Rolling an occupied position sends a passenger back to the start. Title means "Blind Passenger in the Zeppelin".

Cloudbusters
Martin Wallace; Warfrog-1998; 3-4
Wargame set on a Victorian world where only the tops of mountains are habitable. The only way that the tribes can get around is by airships.

Conquest of the Skies
Jake Staines; web-published-2012; 2-3; 60
On an alternate history earth players vie to retrieve a recently discovered ore that is the key to a superweapon. They're all in a big hurry so of course they go in airships, which can also engage in combat. Other aspects include exploration, research, technology development and food harvesting/feeding the populace.

Dirigibles of Doom!
(unknown); Irrational Number Line Games-2012; 2-4
Miniatures game that affords dirigible duels in the sky. Momentum and response latency are taken into account, rewarding good planning. Includes seven scenarios, cut out models and maneuver cards.

Durch die Luft Mit Zeppelin
(unknown); AK Spiele Heimchen-19??; 2-6; 6+
German roll-and-move game published after 1908 since one space depicts the Echterdingen (Stuttgart) air disaster. Probably 1920s or early 1930s. Title means "Through the Air by Zeppelin".

Forbidden Desert
Matt Leacock; Cocktail Games/Competo / Marektoy/Devir/Gamewright/Schmidt/White Goblin-2013; 2-5; 45; 8+
Cooperative game with a modular board and variable player powers in the tradition of Forbidden Island. The players must recover a legendary flying machine buried deep in the ruins of an ancient desert city and escape before it's too late. Includes 49 cards, 24 tiles and 6 pawns.

Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game
Jason C. Hill; Flying Frog Productions-2011; 1-8; 90
In the height of the Great Depression, adventurers hunt down ancient artifacts, explore deadly temples, and fight the powers of darkness. Characters include the Flying Ace, the Night Club Singer/Martial Artist and the Master of Science. There are thirty-nine 28mm plastic miniatures and even an original cd soundtrack. There is also the possibility of playing cooperatively.

Game of To the North Pole by Airship
(unknown); McLoughlin Brothers-1898; 2-4
Roll-and-move, probably inspired by the 1897 attempt of the Swede
Salomon Andrée to reach the north pole.

Game of the World Flyers
All-Fair-1926; 2-4
Subtitle is "Around the World Flight Air Race" shown on the cover along with three dirigibles, a ship and city. Includes four metal dirigible as playing pieces. Board shows various flight paths from New York to Paris including ones passing through South America and Africa. Also included are two dice and an 18x9" board. The back of the board was marked as for Checkers and a full set of pieces was included for playing this game. Said to be valued at over $200.

Graf Zeppelin
(unknown); Klee-1960; 2-6; 6+
A roll-and-move German racing game named after the zeppelin's inventor. Players race around Europe, stopping at the major cities and obeying the instructions on special spaces.

Graf Zeppelin's Reisen durch Deutschland
(unknown); Klee-(unknown); 2-6; 25; 6+
A roll-and-move German racing game from the 1930s named after the zeppelin's inventor. Players race around Germany – from Friedrichshafen and back.

Great War at Sea II, The: The North and Baltic Seas
Avalanche-1999 (?); 2; 10+
Wargame includes World War I zeppelins.
Image (Avalanche: English)
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In 80 Tagen um die Erde
Wolfgang Kramer; Otto Maier-1986; 2-6
in English as Around the World in 80 Days for Ravensburger-1987

Review (Keirat/Luding: German)
Review (Farquhar/Game Cabinet: English)

Kings of Air and Steam
Scott Almes; Tasty Minstrel Games-2013; 2-7; 90
In America's early 20th century players represent shipping barons operating both airships and railroads. The airships deliver cargo to depots where they are picked up by trains. Actions include building depots, upgrading airships/trains, operating the train and getting loans. Airship movement is via planning card. There is a market and prices are always changing. There are modular boards and seven teams, each having a different special ability.

Leviathans
Randall N. Bills & John Haward; Catalyst Game Labs-2012; 2-8; 90
War game miniatures rules set in a 1910 alternate history. The basic set includes eight ship miniatures and twelve ship cards. There have been a number of subsequent expansions: Leviathans: British Fleet Box, Leviathans: French Fleet Box, Leviathans: Ship Quirks & Crew Abilities Card Deck.

Luftschiff
Phil Eklund;
Sierra Madre Games-1993; 2
Zeppelin bombs Britain during World War I, tactical level.
Review (Richtmyer/Murphy/Web-Grognards: English)
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Quicksilver
Paul Imboden; Split Second Games-2013; 2-6; 60
Victorian Age airship racing on a course customized by the players using ships they modify to suit. Dice are involved, as are attacks on opponents.

Riesenflugzeugabteilungen
Phil Eklund;
Sierra Madre Games; 2
Expansion for Luftschiff which adds the Gigant-types, i.e. enormous bombing airplanes.
Review (Murphy/Web-Grognards: English)
Review (Murphy/Web-Grognards: English)

Rise of the Aeronauts
Austin Bennett, Jacob Chaney, Sam Schirmer; Mystic Ape Games-forthcoming; 3-6 60
Steampunk-themed game of fighting to build the world's first airship in 1851. Players acquire resources by conquering others' territories. Each player represents a different faction which has its own abilities.

Round the World Flyers
Wolverine Supply and Manufacturing Co.-1925
The metal board shows bi-planes and a blimp in the corners. The description on the box cover reads "A New, Interesting and Instructive Game for Children / This game is played by moving miniature aeroplanes around a map of the world, following the exact course of the U.S. Army Aviators in the first round-the-world flight. Every stopping place is marked, and the actual incidents of the flight add interest to the game. Teaches children the map of the world and the flags of many nations." Part of the company's "Sandy Andy" label. Company was located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1903-1961. Patented in the USA on August 18, 1925. Is said to be worth $80 or more.

Sky Galleons of Mars
Frank Chadwick; GDW; 2
The sky galleons in this science fiction setting seem to act very much like dirigibles.
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Terror of the Skies: The Airship Pirate Board Game
Robert Brown; The Game Crafter-2013; 2-5; 7+
Players control airships intent on a life of air piracy over the American wilderness, which in a Victorian age is ruled by an emperor, criss-crossed by railroads and inhabited by Bedouin types. Based on the Airship Pirates role-playing game.

Über Stadt und Land: Der Fliegende Musketier
Wicküler Brauerei-1973; 2-5
Promotional game for a brewery whose title means "Cross-country: The Flying Musketeer" and is an airship race across North Rhine Westfalia. The airships move via dice and action cards. Components were said to be of very good quality.
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A Voyage Through the Clouds
(unknown); Spear's Games-1910; 2-6
Roll-and-move race game across seven countries, with thirteen different hazards, e.g. storms, on-board fire, etc.

Wings of War: Balloon Busters
Andrea Angiolino & Pier Giorgio Paglia; Edge Entertainment/Nexus/Fantasy Flight-2009; 1-2
Part of the Wings of War series. Includes a Caquot - Ae800 balloon miniature and an Allied Nieuport 16 with Le Prieur air-to-air rockets. Some of this was previously published cin Wings of War: Burning Drachens (2005).

Zeppeldrome
Anthony J. Gallela & Jeff Wilcox;
12SP Entertainment-2014 (forthcoming); 2-4; 90
Puzzle and "take that!" racing game in a steampunk setting. Features route planning via cards, ten board modules, obstacles and humor like "Tragic Lemming Migration". Includes 86 cards and a number of tokens.

Zeppelin
B. Koff and M. McVeigh; Decision Games-1993; 2
Zeppelins bombing Britain during World War I, strategic level.
Errata (Web-Grognards: English)
Questions and Answers (Web-Grognards: English)
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Zeppelin
Steven Cole; Jagdpanther-1974; 2
Zeppelins bombing Britain during World War I, tactical level.

Zeppelin Attack
Eric Vogel;
Evil Hat Productions-2014 (forthcoming); 2-4; 45
Deck-building game of mastermind villains planning to dominate the world. Cards include weapons, defenses and operatives who attack others. Includes 112 cards.

Zeppelin Attack: Doomsday Weapons
Eric Vogel; Evil Hat Productions-2014; 2-4; 45 minutes
This expansion for
Zeppelin Attack features 47 cards including atomic attacks and defenses, experimental attacks, science zeppelins, and more.

Zeppelin Conquest
Eric Vogel; Evil Hat Productions/(web published)-2014; 2; 10 minutes
Thirty-six cards permit two evil masterminds to fight across the globe via zeppelins and soldiers. Uses the majority control mechanism in which players must consider three different targets. Released as a Print and Play backer reward, as part of the Kickstarter campaign for
Zeppelin Attack.

Zeppelin Derby
Todd Sanders; Good Little Games/(web-published)-2013; 2; 15
Zeppelin racing fueled by 17 cards and 5 dice, including a few dirty tricks. Part of the
Aether Captains universe.

Zeppelin: Peter Strasser's Blitz
Glyn R. Sparkes; battle-market-2007; 2; 120
World War I game of the battle between the German Naval Airship Division commanded by
Peter Strasser and British aerial defenses includes 1 A4-sized map, 2 tracking aides, 50 counters, and four pages of rules plus a background article. Features plotted movement. Three different types of zeppelins are available. Each turn represents a month. Special rules cover weather, accidents, etc.

Zeppelins Over London: WW I Airships (1916 AD)
Peter Pellegrino;
Junior General; 2008; 8
Historical miniatures air combat game designed for classroom use played by teams representing the British and German forces. The British have five divisions of Bristol fighters while the Germans players have 12 airships.
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Zippy Zepps
All-Fair/Fairchild Co.; c. 1925
The game box shows a long Zeppelin air ship named ZZ1 and has the subtitle "Air Game". The two part board shows three cities inside large circles, Berlin, Paris and New York from left to right. Connecting the cities are curved, color paths, demarcated into spaces by crossing lines. The zeppelin pieces are made of metal. There are also cards showing zeppelins. The publisher was also known as AllFair and as E.E. Fairchild and operated at different times out of Rochester and Churchville, both in New York. Designers were Harry O. Alderman and Elmer E. Fairchild, publishers of paper boxes and novelties since 1900 who got into game publishing in 1922. For a while Herman G. Fisher was vice-president before going on to found Fisher-Price. Their games were known for their vivid color, detailed illustrations and contemporary themes, of which this game, made to tie-in with the then new transatlantic dirigible service, is an example. Copies of this rare game are said to now be worth over $400.

Zombies & Zeppelins
Scott W. Leibbrandt; web-published-2012; 2-4; 60
In 1922 the world is being overrun (overstaggered?) by zombies. On a world map delineated by twenty-five regions, players use a card-driven system to work together to fight the undead.

 

Related
A few games on related topics for further delectation.

Around the World in 80 Days
Transogram-1957

Bunte Ballone
Ravensburger; 1-4; 3-5

Flieg Luftballon, Flieg!
(unknown); Spika-1972; 2-6; 15; 3+
"Fly Balloon, Fly!" is a game of rolling a die and placing a chip over a balloon of the same color as the result.

Magnificent Race, The
Bill Cooke; Parker Brothers-1975; 2-4
The balloon is one of the four travel modes in this game for children.
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Moderne Zeiten
Dan Glimne and Gregorz Rejchtman; Jumbo-2002; 3-5; 8+
"Modern Times" features six very nice zeppelin figures. Auction and shares game set in the large construction world (trains, planes, automobiles, telephony and skyscrapers) of the 1920's. Players bid for a set of randomly turned up shares, and for the right to act first. Similar to Traumfabrik, the winning bid is distributed to the other players. Then each player either draws two shares from the deck or plays any number. If the latter results in the player showing more shares in the industry sector than any other single player, he moves his zeppelin piece forward on the spiral track to the next space showing that sector. This space also names a city (New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Chicago, New Orleans). Sector and city are used to index a location on the clever central board matrix which the player now marks. At the end, points are granted for dominating rows and columns of this matrix, as well as for having the most shares in each sector and the most money. As shares appear, they are counted and once they hit a limit, whichever sector has the most shares out crashes and they are all lost so this is one of those games where it is a good idea to aim for the tricky goal of being in second place. Strategically, with a full complement of five players, it seems that a lot of points can be earned by being diverse in holdings and conservative about spending, but it's hard to advise since maddening ambiguities in the instructions seem to ensure that there is no consensus about the correct rules of play. If one can somehow get over this, "Modern Times" is an appealing construction which because of the variable starting and appearing shares should have plenty of replay value. Fans of the somewhat similar Union Pacific should enjoy this as well, but those who didn't care for it should like this even better as what happens on the board matters more. The look reflects the interesting theme very nicely, even though the artwork feels a bit bland. One wishes for a bit more quality in the flimsy play money which sticks together too easily and is difficult to count.
Review (Hoekstra/Spelmagazijn: Dutch)
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If you liked this Ludography, you may also enjoy traveling back in time to the SILK ROAD.


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