What does that cloud look like to you? A bird? A plane? A man in spandex?
|Cloud Control (2020)|
|Designer(s)||Eugene Bryant||Artist(s)||Matt Paquette, Stephanie Gustafsson||Publisher||
Most of us have been outside on a cloudy day and looked up to the sky and thought they saw certain shapes in the clouds. Even in popular shows and media this is an activity couples or groups of kids do. It is that creative portion of our brain working trying to corollate shapes as something more specific; the technical term for this is pareidolia, which is essentially to incorrectly see things in unrelated objects.
Cloud Control took this concept that most people are familiar with and turned it into a game. There are games that have used these general mechanics, but to me, often it is the theme of games that stand out. The use of "cloud watching" as a theme for a game that is using the creative side of your mind is great. Let's jump into what is included within the box and how the game is played.
Box and Components
The game comes in a fairly compact box that is just a little bigger than the components it holds. What I like is the divider actually works. Many games come with either no divider to keep cards straight or they aren't sized correctly for the game. While this one is a generic cardboard divider, it works and is suited for the components. I just set my Shape Cards in a line from one side to the other and haven't shift out yet. The other half isn't as good, but there are far less pieces to get mixed up. So overall, I am very happy with the box and the divider. Beyond those pieces, the game includes:
- 64 Cloud Cards: These are going to be the cards you will be using to design your shapes.
- 300 Shape Cards: These provide a list of objects the player may attempt to create using the Cloud Cards.
- 1 Card Holder: This is used to hold up your Shape Card facing the active player.
- 50 Point Tokens: These point tokens are split between 1 and 3 points and are shaped like kites.
- One 90 Second Sand Timer: Turns will be limited to 90 seconds; you can use the included timer or your phone if you find it hard to watch the sand timer while playing.
We also received a small pack of blank Shape Cards that allow players to create their own Shape lists to include into their game; I am not sure if they send these out with orders from their website or if it was part of a special promotion.
The Shape Cards are the smaller cards like early Ticket to Rides or many euro style games. The Cloud Cards are larger and square since you want people to be able to see what you are creating. Overall, the cards are nice; they have a little more give to them than many games I have reviewed recently, but they should be fine.
The game is fairly straight forward and should be quick for anyone to learn.
- Separate the Cloud Cards. There are unique 16 types and 4 each; create 16 piles with all 4 of the matching cards. Piles of 4x4 is what they recommended, but you can place them however you like that makes sense for your table.
- Shuffle the Shape Cards and create a deck with them placing them within reach.
- Ensure the rest of the components are within reach as well.
The person who has the sunniest disposition goes first; alternately, use whatever methods you prefer such as an app or rock paper scissors.
The game is going to be played over 3 phases:
- Standard Round
- Lightning Round
- Standard Round
The Standard and Lighting Rounds play slightly different so I will break them into their own explanations.
In these rounds, each player will get the opportunity to take a Shape Card and try to create the four shapes at the top portion of the card (ignore the Lightning shape for now), and the other players will try to guess what they are creating.
The Active Player will take a Shape Card, take a moment to think how they want to create them, and flip the timer over when they are ready. They will have 90 seconds to create the shapes out of any of the Cloud Cards they want. There are a few rules the Active Player must follow:
- You may use as many of the Cloud Cards as you want.
- As with most games of this genre, you may not talk or make sounds to provide hints to the players; you may not create letters/numbers out of the clouds. The goal is to make the shape get everyone's creative juices working.
- Clouds may be placed in whatever orientation and may even make separate pictures for when the word is a little more difficult to illustrate.
- Just like clouds shift and move around, you may also give motion to the clouds to help illustration the word they are looking forward. If you trying to get people to say "Fly," you could create a plane and move it around, or a bird and flap its wings.
- You may use body language to provide confirmation that the players are on the right track by nodding your head or other subtle gestures.
All of the other players may shout out as many guesses as they want. The first person to guess correctly will receive the 1 or 3 point marker based on the difficulty of the Shape shown on the card. The active player will also receive those points for each correct guess. Each Shape Card has 8 points that can be awarded (two 1's and two 3's); meaning, the active player could receive 8 points as well as the guesser.
The next player will repeat this process until all players have been the Cloud maker. Re-sort the Cloud Cards for the next player.
In this round, all players will be creating shapes at the same time. The start player will announce the Lightning Shape from the top card of the Shape Deck, and flip the timer over. All players will quickly build their best cloud; in this mode, all players will be using the same Cloud Cards so be quick. After the time has finished, players will have another 90 seconds to collectively discuss their clouds to win the votes of the other players. Once the timer has run out, players will all point the cloud they felt best represented the "Shape" except their own. The player(s) who receive the most votes is awarded 5 points (ties each get 5 points).
This round is only played once between Standard Rounds.
Once the 3 rounds have been played, the player with the most points wins! If there is a tie, the tied players will each play another Standard Round to break the tie.
In this variant, there will be two teams of players, and there will be no Lightning Round. Many of the same rules apply from the standard game, but there will be two active Cloud Makers using the same clues. Cloud Makers will simultaneously make the same Shape until someone on either team guesses the correct answer. They will reset the Cloud Cards and move on to the next Shape; each Cloud Maker will make 4 shapes (1 card) and swap out with other players.
The guessers may use either team's cloud to come to their answer. Points are only awarded to the team who made the correct guess; Cloud Makers do not win points in this variant.
The game will continue until all players have been the Cloud Maker twice. Whichever team has the most points is the winner!
This is a cute little game. I have played similar games such as Show & Tile that also used cards to create shapes and plenty of other games that do this but with drawing. What I like about this game is there is a larger variety of shapes (Clouds) available to use, and the actual shapes you are trying to make are more reasonable. I don't have much drawing skills so I prefer something like this that is more flexible.
I can see a lot of families with children enjoying this game. I really like the theme; there is nothing controversial about it and is very relatable. The production is perfectly fine for this game, and the cost is also reasonable. I can easily recommend this for people who enjoy a light-weight creative, party game.
You can even send secret messages to your significant other with this game; technically, this picture violates the games rules but it was cute to make.
Cloud Control Board Game Geek Page
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