It is my hope that by now we’ve impressed upon you the fact that not all games of a particular type are the same. There are a multitude of different games that may fall into the same category but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience. As an example, Team3 and PlingPong are both dexterity games. But the first is cooperative and requires excellent communication skills as you attempt to get a teammate to carefully stack bricks. PlingPlong, on the other hand, is all about tactile control and *might* remind you of a drinking game. Add Icecool to the mix and you have a dexterity game where you flick penguins around the board. Of course, play Hurry Up if you want to feel like you’re on an episode of Survivor. So when I say we played another city-building game, rest assured that Cloud City from Blue Orange Games different than this colorful building game from Grey Fox Games, the Penny Lane card game or the cooperative building game from Kosmos. What makes it different, you ask? I’m going to tell you!
For starters, there isn’t anything cooperative about this game, nor does it use cards. You’ll actually be competing with up to three other people to construct walkways connecting high-rise buildings in your own individual cities. But there aren’t any buildings yet for you to connect your walkways. You’ll actually be selecting tiles that allow you to build them. Oh, and there are a lot of rules about how and where you can build walkways so it requires some thought with what to build and where. Did I mention that there are a limited number of resources? Well, there are. So there’s that too. Begin by setting out the buildings and walkways in the center of the table. Remove the starting tiles from the stack then shuffle the remainder to form a draw pile. Select a starting player then give that person the “one” tile. Distribute the others (in numerical order) to each player clockwise. Give each player three Cloud tiles then create a row of three additional next to the draw pile. Everyone selects buildings that match the icons on their start piece and the game is afoot.
Throughout the game, players will each be constructing their own 3×3 city. Over the course of eight rounds, you’ll expand the base of your city, place buildings, build walkways and draw a new Cloud tile. There are three different categories of buildings, consisting of three heights. In addition, there are five different lengths of walkways corresponding to each of the three colors.
On your turn, examine the three secret tiles in your possession. Decide which you want to use then place it alongside an existing tile, remembering to keep within the 3×3 land restriction. Pay attention to which buildings are on your selected tile because you’ll need to align those with others in your city in order to score points. River Walkways are used to connect the lowest buildings in your city, Forest Walkways connect the midsized ones and Sand Walkways connect the highest. The city council favors the longer walkways that connect buildings and award points accordingly.
After placing your tile and buildings, you may choose to build skywalks throughout your city. You can choose to construct as many as you are able during this phase of your turn, but there are several restrictions. A few examples include not building over undeveloped land, cannot cross another walkway of the same level and cannot be attached to a building that already has two walkways.
Complete your turn by drawing a new Cloud tile. You may select one from the three face-up next to the deck or take the top one from the draw pile. Play continues clockwise until all players have completed their cities. At that point, everyone adds up the value the council has placed on their various walkways to determine who did the best job of satisfying the council’s requests.
As you can see, Cloud City is very different than city-building games we’ve presented in the past. Whether you want to play it alone or create an entire game night around this type of game, pick up a copy from Amazon or ask your local game store whether they stock this one. This time of year is when game publishers announce their latest releases keep your head out of the clouds and keep watch of Blue Orange Games‘ Facebook and Twitter channels for updates!
What’s the highest building you’ve ever been in? Would you use a skywalk that high up?