BALMY BALLOONISTS

2000 Up & Away Games
Rules of Play: English

Balmy Balloonists is a strategy game in which 2-6 players aged 10 and up compete to win the around-the-world balloon race.

Historical background, solitaire and other scenarios, player notes, design notes and more for Balmy Balloonists are available at the Up & Away Games website. Visit us: http://spotlightongames.com/upandaway

Components

Note: when separating a balloon figure from an altitude adjuster, pull them straight apart to avoid damaging the figure. Before your first game, separate the cards by folding back and forth along the horizontal perforations. Separate along horizontal perforations. Repeat folding and separating along the vertical perforations until all cards are separated. Then divide them into four decks based on the card backs.

Game Map:

Red longitude lines divide the map into 4 regions called Quadrants. The main balloon tracks are indicated by lanes numbered 1-5. Lanes are further divided by vertical lines to form spaces. Yellow spaces denote Exclusion Zones while brown and white triangles indicate Medium and High Mountain Zones respectively. The center is called the Polar Vortex while the area around the outside of the map is referred to as the Equatorial Doldrums. At the North Pole is the Wind Rose. At either end of the map is an illustration of the sequence which each player follows during his turn.

How to Set Up the Game

  1. Each player takes the balloon and three altitude adjusters of the same color as the Wind Rose point which is nearest him.
  2. Each player receives chips as follows: 9 yellow, 9 black and 11 red.
  3. Shuffle the Advantage cards and deal 2 to each player. The players place these cards face up in front of them. Any remaining such cards are removed from the game.
  4. Shuffle the Local Wind cards and deal 3 face down to each player to form the player hands.
  5. Shuffle the Quadrant cards and place a card face up next to each quadrant in the spaces provided on the map.
  6. Shuffle the Misfortune cards and place the deck to the side of the board for later use.
  7. Identify the Start Player: whoever has traveled in a balloon most recently. If there is a tie, choose randomly. Player order will be clockwise.
  8. Place the two pawns on the Wind Rose points whose colors match the balloon colors of the last two players in the player order.
  9. The player to the right of the Start Player places his balloon without altitude adjusters in one of the spaces behind the checkered starting line in North America. (Balloons will travel in a counter-clockwise direction.)
  10. The rest of the players do the same in counter-clockwise order. Each balloon must start in its own space, either one or two spaces behind the checkered line.
  11. The game begins with the Start Player taking the first turn. Note that once the game has begun, any number of balloons may pass through or end in the same space.

Goal of the Game

Play ends as soon as the first balloon re-crosses the checkered line. (It is not necessary to actually land.) The first player whose balloon does this wins.

Sequence of Play

Each player's turn consists of the following:
  1. Play a Local Wind card and resolve.
  2. Select new altitude if desired.
  3. Fly your balloon per the Quadrant card.
  4. Expend 1 Fuel if at High (auto-descend 1 level if unable).
  5. Expend 1 Fuel if out of Gas (auto-descend 1 level if unable).
  6. Draw a Local Wind card if you have only 2 cards.
Then continue with the next player in clockwise order.

Playing the Game

  1. Play a Local Wind card and resolve.

    The player whose turn it is always uses his own cards. Two choices are available:

    1. Play a card to move your own balloon, OR
    2. Play a card from the table on another's balloon.

    A. Play a card to move your own balloon:

    The player plays one of his Local Wind cards from his hand openly on the table in front of him and follows the instructions (more about these later). The card stays in front of the player even after his turn. But: If you already have 3 played cards in front of you, you must choose option B -- you may not play a card on your own balloon.
    B. Play a card from the table on another's balloon:
    One of the Local Wind cards currently in front of the player may be played on another player's balloon, i.e., on one of the two balloons whose Wind Rose colors currently have pawns. The choice between the two is taken by the player of the card (if one of the marked colors is his own he must choose the other balloon).

    The card's instructions are now applied to the chosen balloon. After this the pawn is advanced to the next unoccupied Wind Rose point in a counter-clockwise direction. Wind Rose colors already having a pawn are skipped, as are colors corresponding to balloons not in the game. Finally, the used card is placed in the discard pile.

    Resolving the Card:
    The affected player cross-references the balloon's current altitude with the card and applies the instruction to move the balloon north or south accordingly. A balloon moving northward or southward maintains its relative distance to the next heavy line. In other words, balloons moving south move right while balloons moving north move left. An exception is that balloons moving north or south never cross a heavy red or blue line.

    A Local Wind card may have no instructions, i.e. simply a dash (-), at the altitude of the affected balloon. In this case the card has no effect.

    Example Local Wind Card:
    example local wind card On this card, if the balloon were at High altitude it would be moved one space south.

    At Medium altitude the balloon would not have any movement at all.

    If at Low altitude it would be moved two spaces north.

    The "?" symbol indicates that this card may be played to generate a Misfortune instead of movement.

    A few cards also show the "?" Misfortune symbol. In this case, the player of the card may choose to apply a Misfortune card instead of north-south movement. To resolve this, simply draw the top card from the Misfortune deck and resolve per the card's instructions. (Should the Misfortune deck become depleted, simply re-shuffle the discards to form a new deck.)

    A few cards also show the quartered-circle Quadrant symbol. In this case, the player of the card may choose to change the Quadrant card in the target balloon's quadrant instead of applying north-south movement. To resolve this, draw the top card from the Quadrant deck and place it on top of the current card for that Quadrant. (Should the Quadrant deck become depleted, re-shuffle the discards and not visible cards to form a new deck.)

    If a balloon is moved into the Polar Vortex, it returns to the race in Lane 1, but it is placed in the first space after the last heavy red or blue line that the balloon has passed. If a balloon is moved into the Equatorial Doldrums, it is placed just outside the space from which it departed Lane 5 and remains there until a Local Wind card is played to move it back into the race. Balloons which are Grounded, such as on the first turn of the game, do not have any north-south movement.

    Special use of Advantage Cards: If a player no longer wishes to hold a particular Advantage card, he may discard it after playing any Local Wind card. In exchange, he may pick up a Local Wind card from any of those face up on the table, including his own (but not from the discard pile). This card is added to the player's hand.

  2. Select new altitude if desired.

    A balloon may change its altitude to any one of 4 levels: High, Medium, Low or Grounded. A balloon's altitude is represented by use of the altitude adjusters. Players stack up adjusters and then fit the balloon over this assembly. To show the balloon at Low altitude, place it on a single adjuster. To show Medium altitude, add a second adjuster. Add a third adjuster to show High altitude. Balloons may only have all of the adjusters removed, i.e. Grounded, if so instructed by the rules.

    To increase altitude: discard one Ballast chip per level ascended.

    To decrease altitude: discard one Gas chip per level descended.

  3. Move your balloon per the Quadrant card.

    Balloons move in a counter-clockwise direction. Cross-reference your current altitude and lane with the card corresponding to the balloon's quadrant to determine how many spaces your balloon moves. Positive numbers indicate forward movement while negative numbers indicate backward movement. A "0" (zero) indicates that the balloon does not have any movement.

    Note that Quadrant cards have extra instructions along the right hand edge which are used only in conjunction with certain Misfortune cards. This information should be otherwise ignored.

    Example Quadrant card:
    example quadrant card If traveling in the Quadrant of this card, a balloon at High altitude in Lane 4 would move forward (counter-clockwise) 4 spaces. The symbols at the right side of the card are used in conjunction with the Bad Weather Misfortune card (see more below).

    Exclusion Zones.
    Unless the owning player has the matching Permission Advantage card face up in front of himself at the moment of entry, balloons which enter the yellow spaces representing the restricted airspaces of Libya, Iraq, Sakhalin Island, Area 51 (has no permission card) or the People's Republic of China must immediately expend Gas chips to become Grounded (in the offending zone). The player loses the next turn. Then on the following turn, the balloon may launch again either from the space or from the leftmost space which is one lane north or south of this space, at the player's discretion.

    Mountain Zones.
    The spaces containing brown or white triangles indicate mountain zones. Brown mountain zones must be traversed at Medium or High altitude while White mountain zones must be traversed at High altitude. A balloon which fails to observe the mountain zone altitude requirements is automatically considered Grounded and the player loses the next turn. Then on the following turn, the balloon may launch again as normal either from the space or from the leftmost space which is one lane north or south of this space, at the player's discretion.

  4. Expend 1 Fuel if at High (auto-descend 1 level if unable).

    A balloon at High altitude must expend one fuel chip if any are available. If unable to spend the fuel chip, it automatically loses a level (without expending any chips).

  5. Expend 1 Fuel if out of Gas (auto-descend 1 level if unable).

    A balloon which has no remaining Gas must expend one fuel chip if any are available. If unable to spend the fuel chip, it automatically loses a level (without expending any chips).

  6. Draw a Local Wind card if you have only 2 cards.

    If you have only 2 cards in your hand, draw another card from the Local Wind card deck. (If the deck is depleted, gather up all the discards and re-shuffle.)

Variant Rules

Players may elect to use any or all of these variant rules in any combination.
  1. Friendly Weather. (*)
    If at the start of the game the current Quadrant card contains an asterisk (*), discard it and turn up another card to replace it. Continue doing this until the drawn Quadrant card does not contain an asterisk.

  2. Emergency Measures.
    If a Local Wind card played on your balloon would cause an immediate forced landing (due to Exclusion or Mountain Zones), you may play in response any one of the cards placed before you. In this case the effects of the two cards are combined together to achieve a net north-south movement before moving the balloon.

  3. The Storm.
    The first time that any balloon passes the Sakhalin Island Exclusion Zone, the balloon currently in last place, decides where the storm is to be located. He places the storm tile in any space which is directly above, below or on the Sakhalin Island Exclusion Zone.

    To determine which balloon is in last place, choose the balloon which is the furthest number of spaces away from the finish line. If there is a tie, choose based on the following priority:

    1. the balloon which is at the lower altitude
    2. the balloon which is further south
    3. the balloon which has fewer chips remaining
    4. the balloon which has the most Local Wind cards on the table
    5. randomly

    The storm travels exclusively at High altitude. Use of the storm tile adds a third option for card play. Instead of playing a Local Wind card on another's balloon, it is allowed to play the card on the storm. If a card is played on the storm, the storm is moved if there is any indication on the card for Local Wind at High altitude.

    If a balloon or storm ever moves into the space of the other, the balloon or storm loses the rest of its move. A Quadrant card is drawn for each balloon in the space and the Bad Weather effect is applied, exactly as if a Bad Weather card had been played.

  4. Games with Two or Three Players.
    In games with only two or three players, each should play two balloons. The winner is the first to have both balloons cross the finish line. Once a balloon has crossed the finish line, it no longer participates in card and pawn play. Its hand and table cards are discarded. If the pawn is currently positioned at this balloon, simply move it one point counter-clockwise.

Credits

Balmy Balloonists has been designed by Philip Vogt and Richard Heli.
Graphic design and artwork by Tanya Chou.
Translation help from Richard Andersson, Manuel Suffo, Ronald Hoekstra, Stefanie Kethers and Didier Renard.
The publishers offer many thanks to our dedicated playtesters (in alphabetical order): Philip Apps, Phil Bradley, Eron Bringhurst, Tanya Chou, Matt Crawford, Chris Farrell, Richard Fulcher, Kurt Heli, Gordon Hua, Matt Hubbard, Chris and Cynthia Ikehara, Richard Irving, Dave Kohr, William LaCross, Matt Leacock, Grant Moy, Dave O'Connor, Kevin O'Hare, Michael Rhodes, Jodi Soares, Ken Tidwell, Ray Tsai, Michael Turner, Bernard Yeh.
2000 Philip Vogt and Richard Heli

Cards

Advantage Cards
friendly wind Favorable Winds: This card may be used at any time during the turn to move your balloon either one space north or one space south. Discard after use.
stamp reading OK Permission: represents a permit granted to enter one of the yellow spaces representing the restricted airspaces of Iraq, Libya, the People's Republic of China or Sakhalin Island, which are not normally available for flyover.
wrench (spanner) Repairs: If a player holds a Repairs card and one of the depicted Misfortunes (Communications Difficulties, Envelope Ripped, Fire or Heater Problems) is played on him, he may discard the Repairs card to cancel the Misfortune.
Misfortune Cards
lightning bolt and a cloud Bad Weather: if aloft, balloon draws a Quadrant card and consults the Bad Weather effect which the balloon must immediately follow. Simple arrows indicate automatic increases or decreases in altitude. Black arrows on spaces indicate changes in lane. Bad weather effects which force a balloon to move backward also have a symbol denoting that the balloon may not move forward on its next turn, although if in a negative wind pattern, it still moves backward. Balloons sent above High altitude must expend 2 Gas chips for each level above High. If the player has insufficient Gas chips, Fuel chips may be substituted. Otherwise such a balloon is removed from the map and is out of the race. Balloons sent below Low altitude must expend 2 Ballast chips for each level below Low, or become grounded. A grounded balloon loses its next turn. After resolution, discard the Quadrant card.
jet aircraft Busy Air Corridor: commercial air traffic endangers the affected balloon -- it must immediately spend Gas to reduce to Low altitude and may not increase altitude on the following turn. This card has no effect on a balloon currently overflying a Mountain Zone.
radio waves bouncing off balloon Communications Difficulties: aluminized polyester film covering the balloon's envelope interferes with data transmissions and the crew's ability to receive up to date information about the jet stream. The affected balloon may not play a Local Wind card on its own behalf on its next turn.
balloon with its envelope ripped Envelope Ripped: the affected balloon develops a tear during a hailstorm. The player immediately loses 3 Gas chips.
balloon with fire in its capsule Fire! A fire breaks out in the capsule and the pilots must do all they can to put it out. If aloft, the affected balloon may not play a Local Wind card on its own behalf on its next turn.
thermometer Heater Problems: malfunctioning burners deplete the hot air supply within the capsule and endanger the health of the crew. The affected balloon must immediately expend Gas to reduce to Low altitude and may not increase altitude on the following turn. If the balloon is currently overflying a Mountain Zone, it must land as well. The grounded balloon loses its next turn.
stop sign Permission Revoked: a country which previously granted overfly permission now retracts it. The player generating the draw of the card names any currently-showing Permission card of the targeted balloon and the owner must discard it. A card currently being used to fly over an Exclusion Zone may not be named.
disintegrating solar panels Solar Panels Lost: Two solar panels are lost in a thunderstorm, forcing the balloonists to expend valuable Fuel to compensate. The affected balloon must discard 2 Fuel chips.

November 20, 2000.
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