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Blam!: Celestia – Review

August 2, 2016

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Publisher Blam!
Genre Press your luck
Number of Players 2 – 6
Play Time 30 minutes
Initial Review Date 7/18/16
Last Updated 7/18/16

This game is an updated version of the game Cloud 9. The hot air balloon theme has been given the steampunk treatment, turning the balloon into a steam-powered airship. In the game, each of you is a passenger on the airship and part-time captain. Since no one wants to get blamed for the trip going badly no one wants to be the captain and so you each take turns piloting the captain. If that wasn’t bad enough each of the other passengers have started taking bets on the current captain’s abilities. In the end, it’s a race to see who can reach the point goal first.

Setup

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Each location is laid out in a column progressing from the smallest value on the bottom and the highest on top. Next to each location a stack of point cards corresponding to that location are shuffled and placed next to the matching tile. Each player selects a colored pawn along with it’s matching character card which is placed in front of the player to identify their color. The airship is placed on the starting tile and all of the pawns are placed inside. You then select one player to start as the captain.

Game Play

On each turn, the current captain rolls the dice where everyone can clearly see the result. The number of dice rolled depends on the next highest value tile in the column and is shown by the number of white squares shown. The early tiles are easy only requiring two dice to be rolled, whereas the later locations require all four dice to be rolled.

Each die has 2 blank sides, a chicken, a storm cloud, a lightening bolt and a pair of crossed swords. In order for the airship to progress to the next location tile, the current captain must play cards from their hand that match each of the rolled symbols. Blank dice require no cards to continue.

Starting with the player to the left of the current captain before the captain plays any cards from their hand each player must decide if they think the current captain can overcome the current perils. Any player that decides that the captain will not overcome the challenge may get off the airship safely. Those who decide to get off may immediately claim one card from the pile next to the current location. These cards will be worth points based on their location. If there are no cards remaining at the current location then the player claims no cards when they get off.

Once everyone has decided to get off or stay the captain must either play every card required or ask for help. There are some cards that will allow dice to be rerolled. If the captain is able to play cards matching the perils then the airship moves on to the next location, leaving behind anyone that decided to get off. The player to the captain’s left becomes the new captain.

The player to the captain’s left who is still on the airship becomes the new captain. If after arriving at a location the captain finds that they are by themselves on the airship, they  have the option of stopping at their current location and collecting a card from the location or continuing on. However, so long as the captain is not alone, they must attempt to travel to the next location.

If the captain is unable to play cards to overcome the perils rolled then the airship “crashes”. This ends the current trip and all pawns are placed back in the airship, which is then returned to the start. The player to the left of the last captain becomes the new captain for the round.

Scoring

In general, you want to ride the airship for as long as possible before it crashes, since if you’re still on the airship when it crashes you get zero points for that trip. This means that while it is a “press your luck” style of game, it is often not your own luck you are relying on, but rather the luck of the other players.

At the start of each new trip, a player may announce that they have reached the point goal and reveal their cards. If multiple players have points equal to or greater than the point goal then the player with the most points wins.

Otherwise, point cards are kept hidden from other players.

Conclusion

This is actually a really fun and easy game. It’s also visually interesting from across the room, since you’ll see the airship with the pawns sitting in it. People will come over to ogle this game if they’ve not seen it before. If you like “press your luck games” this one makes a nice casual addition. If you hate “press your luck games”, you might find that this one isn’t so bad. Since even if you “always roll bad”, most of the time it isn’t your rolls you’re having to bet on. Plus, when you’re the one rolling the dice, to a certain extent you’re locked in. With the exception of a few cards you will already have a pretty good idea if you’ll make it or not and so there’s not much pressure. The pressure is really on the passengers who have to decide if you have the cards or not.

It’s worth checking out, even if you just use it as an icebreaker.

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