BALMY BALLOONISTS
Extra Scenarios
The Game of the History of Distance Ballooning by Up & Away Games
March 1, 2001

Contents:

  1. Atlantic Helium Race.
  2. Continental Race.
  3. Pacific Helium Race.
  4. Atlantic Hot-Air Race.
  5. Pacific Hot-Air Race.
  6. Eurasia Race.
  7. Balloon Campaign.
  8. Ongoing Game.
  9. First Attempt.
  10. Solitaire Scenarios:
    1. Pacific Helium Race.
    2. Eurasia Race.
    3. Around-the-World Race.
  11. Team Racing.

  1. Atlantic Helium Race.

    Note: this scenario is recommended for players who want to teach the basic mechanics with a quick game.

    Crossing the Atlantic by balloon had long been a goal of balloonists and five balloonists were to lose their lives in the fourteen to twenty-five attempts (depending on how they are counted) before it was finally conquered in 1978. One curious try was that of the Small World in 1958. This balloon was equipped with two propellers on the gondola which were linked to a bicycle mechanism. The idea was to ascend and descend without use of ballast or gas. Instead ballast would be provided by bringing up water from the ocean. Also curious was that the attempt was to begin in the Canary Islands and attempt to cross traveling west. The crew of four Britons: pilot Arnold "Bushy" Eiloart, his son Tim, designer Colin Mudie and his wife Rosemary soon found that the bicycle failed entirely and very few of the other gadgets worked either. Still, they managed to travel about 1,200 miles in ninety-four hours. Even more fortunately, their gondola was also seaworthy and they finished up their journey by sea, reaching the Barbados after the ten more days.

    A 1970 attempt in a helium balloon featured an envelope open at the bottom, as for a hot air balloon, with a propane burner below. Taking off from Long Island the Free Life piloted by Malcolm Brighton and carrying crew Rod and Pamela Anderson, rode right into a storm and went down off Newfoundland. They disappeared without a trace.

    In 1976 noted balloon architect Ed Yost took off from Maine in the Silver Fox and stayed aloft for four and a half days. He was finally forced to ditch off Portugal, however. He was rescued shortly thereafter, 530 miles short of the goal.

    In 1978, the British balloon Zanussi took off from Newfoundland. Piloted by Don Cameron, later architect of many of the around-the-world balloons, and Chris Davey, their Rozier-style balloon developed an eight-foot tear in the helium cell on the second day and the precious gas began leaking out. Nevertheless, they made impressive progress, but by the fifth day winds would let them go no further and they splashed down in the Bay of Biscay, just one hundred miles short of France.

    Just a few weeks later, on August 11, the American team of Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman, flying Double Eagle II set out. Asked why he was doing it, Newman would only reply "I do something a little crazy every day." Newman was not only a balloonist, but also a hang glider enthusiast and planned to fly down from the basket at the end of the flight. The first two had already tried in the previous year, in a horribly ill-prepared flight. Possibly because they were racing against Dewey Reinhard, whose water ballast attempt in the Eagle was also to fail, not all of the radio equipment was working, nor had the pilots been fully-briefed on how to use it. Their briefing missed other little things as well such as where the map of the Atlantic had been stowed. Worse, no consideration had been made for the mountainous terrain of Maine and eastern Canada which they crossed before entering the Atlantic. This casual effort failed to bring clothes made to withstand rain and storms or even plan seating for the pilots, which was finally supplied by lawn chairs at the last moment. Not surprisingly, the flight ended up ditching in a Force 8 storm featuring twenty foot swells near Iceland, one of the participants suffering permanent effects of frostbite.

    Despite these hair-raising results, the balloonists were eager try a second attempt, which launched from Presque Isle, Maine, with an envelope, too much of which was painted with reflective silver. The result was that each day when the sun was highest in the sky they lost altitude as the balloon was no longer being heated. Continually jettisoning ballast to compensate, they ran into freezing rain and at times the temperature dropped to zero degrees in their open gondola. Ice which formed on the upper part of the envelope at night also forced release of more ballast. Even the hang glider had to be jettisoned. Nevertheless they made excellent progress, at times reaching 24,000 feet, and although they hoped to duplicate Lindbergh's landing in Paris, they decided to safely touch down in a barley field in Miserey, France (about sixty miles northwest of Paris) after a voyage of some 137 hours. The trio were feted in Paris Le Figaro calling them ces merveilleux fous volants, "those marvelous flying idiots" and provided with the embassy bedroom where Lindbergh had slept.

    This triumph in 1979 inspired the revival of the James Gordon Bennett race which had lapsed for forty-one years. The cross-country race was won by the Abruzzo, Anderson, Newman team flying in the Double Eagle III. It also inspired in 1992 an Atlantic crossing race known as the Chrysler Challenge. On the winning team was a then-little-known pilot by the name of Bertrand Piccard. Sadly Anderson did not live to see it as he had died in a ballooning accident in 1983 and Abruzzo too had died in a 1985 airplane crash. But see below, Continental Race and Pacific Helium Race.

    Launch Sites: Each Balloon begins on its own space, which is in the North American continent and is not an island.
    Starting Chits: Each player begins with 3 Gas and 3 Ballast chits.
    Winning the Race: The winner is the first to cross into the next quadrant, i.e. the one which runs through western Europe.
    Special Rules: Balloons may never voluntarily enter High altitude and if forced there by Bad Weather, are automatically returned to Medium at the start of their next turn.

  2. Continental Race.

    Once the Atlantic was successfully crossed, it seemed natural that someone would want to try crossing North America, which though a longer trip, has the obvious advantage of being completely overland. Accordingly, the first non-stop transcontinental balloon flight over North America was completed on May 12, 1980 by Maxie L. Anderson and his son Kris. Their trip in the Kitty Hawk, lasting 99 hours and 54 minutes, launched from Fort Baker, California and ended on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada. Strictly speaking however, they had failed to reach the actual Atlantic so another trip was undertaken by John Shoecraft in his humorously-titled Super Chicken balloons. In September he and his, as you'll soon see ironically-named, co-pilot, Ron Ripps, were forced to parachute out during a thunderstorm over Columbus, Ohio. The second attempt was aborted in December when the envelope developed a leak near Liberal, Kansas. Not deterred, Super Chicken III launched October 9, 1981 with Fred Gorell as co-pilot. This 55-hour trip launched at Costa Mesa, California and wound up on the historical Blackbeard's Island off the coast of Georgia, completing the challenge to the satisfaction of everyone.

    Launch Sites: Each balloon begins on its own space, which is on the North American west coast, i.e. a space containing both land and water.
    Starting Chits: Each player begins with 3 Gas and 3 Ballast chits.
    Winning the Race: The winner is the first to land their balloon in a land space which also touches the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of the first Quadrant line.
    Special Rules: Balloons may never voluntarily enter High altitude and if forced there by Bad Weather, are automatically returned to Medium at the start of their next turn.

  3. Pacific Helium Race.

    The crossing of the Atlantic and North America provided a natural inspiration to try the Pacific. Actually it had already been crossed several times by balloons launched by Imperial Japan against the United States during World War II, but manned flights would be a much more complex matter. Three who hailed from New Mexico -- Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, Ron Clark -- and Japanese-born Rocky Aoki (founder of the Benihana restaurant chain) launched in 1981 from Nagashima, Japan. Their trip in the Double Eagle V was filled with threats and dangers including thunderstorms, ice and helium leakage. Eighty-four hours after launching, on November 13, 1981 they accomplished a rough landing in a wilderness area near Covelo, California, half the gondola disconnecting in the process and throwing the pilots into a pile like four ninepins.
    Launch Sites: Each balloon begins on its own space which lies within one of the following countries Japan, People's Republic of China, Japan, Republic of China (Taiwan), or Korea.
    Starting Chits: Each player begins with 4 Gas and 4 Ballast chits.
    Winning the Race: The winner is the first to cross the heavy blue line which cuts through Alaska and land their balloon in a space containing land.
    Special Rules: Balloons may never voluntarily enter High altitude and if forced there by Bad Weather, are automatically returned to Medium at the start of their next turn.

  4. Atlantic Hot-Air Race.

    After the likely crossings using gas-powered balloons had all been accomplished, plucky balloonists turned to the trickier question of crossing these areas employing only heated air.

    In 1987 Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand undertook to cross the Atlantic in their hot-air balloon, the Virgin Atlantic Flyer. As they launched from the coast of Maine, traveling at around 25,000 feet with a velocity of 100 miles per hour, a propane tank fell off and was lost, causing the balloon to suddenly shoot up in altitude. Fortunately they were able to correct this. Then, two hundred miles off Gander, Newfoundland, they met an intense low-pressure front that buffeted them for three hours. They resisted the temptation to come down and stayed at 27,000 feet, getting through the turbulence, snow and darkness, eventually coming through to clear air. By the time the balloon reached Europe, it had flown so far and so fast that it still had three full fuel tanks on board. Wanting avoid the danger of landing with these on-board, Lindstrand brought them down over Northern Ireland intending to release the tanks from a safe height, but he overdid it and crashed heavily to the ground, breaking off the tanks. The resulting loss of two and a half tons of ballast caused the balloon to take off like a rocket. The two balloonists hurriedly decided to ditch in the Irish Sea close to the English coast. As they touched water, they fired explosive bolts to separate the capsule from the canopy, but these failed to work. As a result the balloon was towing the capsule along the surface at high speed and both prepared to jump. Lindstrand went, but Branson hesitated. Branson was now soaring up at full-tilt to try to provide a soft landing. Meanwhile, none of the chase helicopters had seen Lindstrand go into the water. Branson turned off the burners and came down through cloud, to his immense relief seeing the Royal Navy frigate HMS Argonaut below. He bailed out a few moments before the capsule hit the sea and was rescued by a Royal Navy helicopter. Fortunately he was able to provide instructions on where to find Lindstrand who was shortly rescued as well. The entire flight took 31 hours and 41 minutes.

    Launch Sites: Each balloon begins on its own space, which is in the North American continent and is not an island.
    Starting Chits: Each player begins with 10 Fuel and 5 Ballast chits.
    Winning the Race: The winner is the first to cross into the next quadrant, i.e. the one which runs through western Europe.
    Special Rules: In this scenario, a player must burn a Fuel chit each turn to maintain the current altitude. Failing to do this returns the balloon to Low altitude.

  5. Pacific Hot-Air Race.

    Having conquered the Atlantic, Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand now turned their attention to the challenge of piloting a hot-air balloon over the Pacific. Their balloon of 2.6 million cubic feet was launched from Miyakonojo, nearly 600 miles southwest of Tokyo. The first seven hours went well, until they decided to dump the first empty fuel tank. To their horror, jettisoning the empty tank also accidentally released two full ones, causing the balloon to soar up to 36,000 feet. Fortunately they still had 35 hours of fuel remaining. They eventually found themselves over the frozen tundra of Canada's Northwest Territories, but in the middle of a 35-knot blizzard. They came down to 1000 feet to find their ground speed was still at 30 miles per hour. They decided to land on a frozen lake. The capsule hit the ice, they jettisoned the canopy and slid to a stop. The outdoor temperature was -20 degrees F and the nearest road 153 miles away. It was four hours before a helicopter picked them up.
    Launch Sites: Each balloon begins on its own space which lies within one of the following countries Japan, People's Republic of China, Japan, Republic of China (Taiwan), or Korea.
    Starting Chits: Each player begins with 10 Fuel and 5 Ballast chits.
    Winning the Race: The winner is the first to cross the heavy blue line which cuts through Alaska and land their balloon in a space containing land.
    Special Rules: In this scenario, a player must burn a Fuel chit each turn to maintain the current altitude. Failing to do this returns the balloon to Low altitude.

  6. Eurasia Race.

    A mythical trans-Eurasia helium-filled balloon race should provide the players with some different challenges.
    Launch Sites: Each balloon begins on one of the numbered spaces behind the Quadrant line in Europe.
    Starting Chits: Each player begins with 5 Gas and 5 Ballast chits.
    Winning the Race: The winner is the first to land their balloon in a land space beyond the heavy blue line which cuts through Japan.
    Special Rules: Balloons may never voluntarily enter High altitude and if forced there by Bad Weather, are automatically returned to Medium at the start of their next turn.

  7. Balloon Campaign.
    For those wanting the fullest possible experience, it is possible to re-live the entire history of long-distance ballooning and prove who is the best balloonist of all time by competing in a series of races in the following order:

    1. Atlantic Helium Race.
    2. Continental Race.
    3. Pacific Helium Race.
    4. Atlantic Hot-Air Race.
    5. Pacific Hot-Air Race.
    6. Eurasia Race.
      Around-the-World Race.

    The winner of each race is the Start player for the next one. In addition, at the start of each race, each player receives one extra Ballast, Fuel or Gas chit for each race won. The winner of the Campaign game is the player who has won the most races. If there a tie, the prize goes to the tied player who achieved the best final position in the Around-the-World Race.

  8. Ongoing Game.
    Players who want to while away an afternoon with the game may, instead of playing with the normal game ending of a scenario, set a time limit to the game a few hours in the future and allow players to re-start their balloons in an attempt to better the previous record. In this game, each player is rated on the number of turns actually spent aloft as well as forward progress. First place goes to the player who manages to travel furthest in the shortest amount of time with a special endurance award going to the balloon which has managed to stay aloft the longest.

  9. First Attempt.
    Players wanting to simulate the initial attempts to encircle the globe, i.e. numerous failures until the Breitling-3 finally succeeded (see Background), can try the following rules changes to the usual game:

    1. Each player starts his balloon just behind the heavy red or blue line of his choice and must pass it twice to finish. Make this choice by writing it down prior to dealing the Quadrant cards and revealing simultaneously. Players are not prohibited from starting in the same space for this scenario.
    2. Each player starts the race with a total of only 25 Fuel, Gas and Ballast chips. The distribution of these chips is decided secretly by each player and kept secret throughout the game.
    3. Balloons which are forced to land may not resume and instead are out of the game. The player may begin a new balloon at the same location as the last one on his next turn.
    4. Balloons which are out of Fuel chips may never ascend to High altitude, even if they retain sufficient Ballast to do so, except if automatically sent there by a Bad Weather result.

  10. Solitaire Scenarios.

    In Solitaire games, every third turn, after the player makes a Local Wind card play, turn up the top card of the Local Wind deck and apply it to the balloon. If the card contains a Misfortune or Quadrant symbol, the card is resolved as a Misfortune or new Quadrant card instead of its Local Wind portion.

    To determine the score, the player must track the number of turns that has accumulated. This score is compared with the Victory Point Schedule listed with each scenario. Players may also enjoy keeping records and comparing with their own past performances, attempting to set new records, etc.

    1. Pacific Helium Race.
      Victory Point Schedule
      • 5 and under: Set a new world record!
      • 6-10: Excellent! Pop a magnum of victory champagne.
      • 11-15: Average. Not covered by the media.
      • 15 and over: Poor. May have difficulty finding sponsors for next trip.
      • Not finished: Good stories to tell your grandchildren.

    2. Eurasia Race.
      The player begins with 2 randomly-determined Advantage cards.
      Victory Point Schedule
      • 5 and under: Set a new world record!
      • 6-10: Excellent! Pop a magnum of victory champagne.
      • 11-15: Average. Not covered by the media.
      • 15 and over: Poor. May have difficulty finding sponsors for next trip.
      • Not finished: Earn the cheers of your disappointed supporters.

    3. Around-the-World Race.
      The player begins with 2 randomly-determined Advantage cards.
      Victory Point Schedule
      • 15 and under: Set a new world record!
      • 16-20: Excellent! Pop a magnum of victory champagne.
      • 21-25: Average. Not covered by the media.
      • 26 and over: Poor. May have difficulty finding sponsors for next trip.
      • Not finished: Earn your place on the disaster reel of TV's Wide World of Sports.

  11. Team Racing.
    If there are an even number of players, i.e. either four or six, the usual game may be played in partnership by teams of two. This gives the players some new considerations in their planning. For example, is it better to help oneself or play a card to help the partner, or at least move the pawn from the partner's color? In this scenario the following special rules apply:

    1. Partners sit across from one another at the table.
    2. Partners should not discuss with each other what cards to play, how to play them or which lane to choose.
    3. The winning team is the one which is the first to have both balloons cross the finish line.
    4. Once a balloon has crossed the finish line, it no longer participates in card and pawn play. Its hand cards are discarded, although its table cards remain out should anyone wish to use an Advantage card to pick them up. If the pawn is currently positioned at this balloon, simply move it one point counter-clockwise.

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