The Great Balloon Race
Julian Clarke writes:-
The Great Balloon Race is a simple family game of hot Air Ballooning, which is simple enough for children of 5 or 6 to play. The game was deleted around 1994 or 1995, & I was lucky enough to pick up a copy in Toys 'R' Us, remaindered, at about half its original price.
The aim of the game is to be the first player to have all three balloons shown on their hidden card across the finish line. There are 8 different coloured balloons, and eight cards, each with 3 balloons on it. Therefore, each balloon appears on 3 cards. This means that there is a good chance that more than one player wants each balloon to finish.
The rules are very simple. Each player takes a card, and keeps it hidden. This card shows 3 different coloured balloons, (we have found that each player will check their card at least once every turn, so memory really doesn't matter here!). All the balloons are massed before the start line. The board is made up of a curvy track of spaces, which contain a variety of symbols, one per square. Only one balloon may occupy each square. Should a balloon want to land on an already occupied square, then the balloon which was there is bumped off, & goes to the nearest empty space according to the standard movement rules below.
One player is chosen to start and they roll the 6-sided die. That player can move any of the eight balloons the distance shown on the die.
The squares contain the following symbols:
All of the balloons on your card must have crossed the line before you can claim a victory. They do not need to be the only balloons to have finished. If you move the last of your balloons across the line on your turn, then you can claim victory immediately. However, if another player moves it across the line, you have to wait for your turn before announcing victory.
This is a simple game, requiring neither deep thought or background knowledge. Each turn can be played on its merits. There are certain tactics which can help, but they will become apparent after few outings. Children are often not able to think about 3 balloons, and can often be poor at disguising which is their balloon.
If you get a chance, buy a copy of this game. You won't find better pieces in a game, which is astounding for a British produced game.