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At the bottom, everyone begins with the same chance. But only one will make it all the way to the top. So while you must climb as quickly as possible, you must also find a way to slow down your opponents. Play your cards right and it will be you at the peak. The sky's the limit in this tall, tall, 3D game. With just the right mix of strategy and luck, you will reach new heights!
I have played Sky Runner many times and I was surprised at the low reviews. It's a family game; so if you are expecting the level of strategy and depth found in games like Puerto Rico or Tigris and Euphrates, then you might be disappointed. However, there is a lot of strategy involved for a family game.
Each person has a character that is trying to climb up the side of a 3-level building. When you get to the top you win. In order to move your character you play a climbing card (2, 3, 4, or 5 spaces). If your character has to go up a level you must also play an equipment card.
Every round a card is turned over and all the players bid on it. Each player is given a set of cards numbered 1-8 to bid with. (Once you have used the whole set then you take them all back in your hand and start over.) Here's where the strategy comes in.
First of all, cards that tie are discarded. So if a 5 climbing card is turned over for bidding, and player A and B both bid 8, but player C bids 1, than player C wins the card. (and player C still has his 8 bidding card and knows that players A and B do not). Instead of bidding you may play a climbing card from your hand, but in either case you play it face down; so player A may bid 7, only to find out that the other players didn't even bid, they just played climbing cards, moving their characters closer to the top. On top of all this suspense while bidding, there is also a burglar card. If you play the burglar card (face down) while bidding you get to steal any climbing cards that are played. Now you may get a situation where Player A bids a 5 bidding card, Player B plays his burglar card, hoping someone played a climbing card this round, but Player C also plays a bidding card so Player B loses his burglar card. (the burglar card is considered part of your set of bidding cards, so once you have used up your set, you can get your burglar card back along with your bidding cards).
There is no down time to this game, and the many bidding scenarios make it very fun. You are always trying to outwit your opponent, and guess what card they are playing. Even with 4 players the game doesn't take more than an hour to play; and the rules are easy to explain.
To me this is a great game!
The game component, the building, is quite attractive, but the game itself is not so attractive to me. The game plays with players either playing their cards, moving their character or collecting a card. This is no problem, but if all the players choose not to move their character for a long time, the game time will be long, and in this situation the game may become quite boring.
'Sky Runner' is a recent release from Ravensburger games in which players race to the roof of a skyscraper by scaling the outside wall.
The game board is a 3-D building composed of heavy cardboard walls and plastic ledge and roof frames, and the whole assembly fits into the bottom of the box which contains a nicely detailed plastic city environment complete with streets, cars and parks. The tokens depict a climbing human figure and these are placed onto the game board via a series of holes that run from the ground to the roof.
Gameplay is handled with a deck of cards containing movement cards, equipment cards, sabotage cards, crash cards and a few others. One player reveals a card from the deck and the other players place cards from their hand face down on the table. They may bid on the revealed card (highest number wins), play movement cards (and advance their token up the building) or do things like sabotaging another player's move. Note: If any revealed bid cards match (same number is played), the cards cancel themselves out and are discarded.
There isn't much else to it, really, and that's why I have given it an 'average' rating. It's a nicely crafted game, easy-to-learn, quick-to-play and fun, but it's not a game that my group is aching to play again.
It should work very well with kids, though (they'll probably get a kick out of the 2-foot tall building)!
Assemble a three-level skyscraper and try to be the first to climb to the top. Everyone gets an identical hand of numbered cards, which they use to bid on the cards from the main deck. These cards can help you inch your way up, or provide equipment for you to make your way over a ledge or past a rival climber. You can also choose a sabotage card which forces the player of your choice to descend three notches, or a lost equipment card to make your victim lose his rope. If you're the only one to play a parasite card, you can reuse another player's climbing card. When you win, pause a moment to admire your surroundings; then rappel down and have another go at it.
Every now and then a mechanic for a game is invented which is so unique and interesting that it is borrowed by other designers and used in their own creations. Examples abound, from the Pop-O-Matic device used in games such as Trouble and Headache, to the drafting of cards as used in Get the Goods, Union Pacific and Taj Mahal. One such device is the card play mechanism which was introduced in Hol's der Geier (Raj in the United States). This mechanism has been used in such games as Montgolfière, Ponte Vecchio and, now, Sky Runner by Ravensburger.
In spite of some mediocre reviews for Sky Runner, I couldn't resist the price tag and the fact that the game appeared to be visually stunning. Due to the scattered mediocre response I had heard, I was a bit apprehensive. I shouldn't have been. Sky Runner is a highly entertaining game which has appealed to both gamers and my family and friends.
As mentioned, Sky Runner uses the same card-play mechanic as found in Raj / Hols der Geier / Montgolfière, but, in my opinion, to much greater and more satisfying effect. There are more opportunities in the card play to hinder the progress of your opponents, and a wider variety of cards to use, giving a player more options on his turn.
The game uses an impressive 3D board representing a huge skyscraper, measuring approximately two feet in height, with players racing to climb to the top. Players each have a set of numbered bid cards (1-8 in value), two climb cards with a value of 3 and 4 respectively, an equipment card and a 'parasite' card.
Each turn, a card from the common deck is revealed. This card can be a climb, equipment, sabotage, lost equipment or crash card. Players then simultaneously play a card face down from their hand then reveal them. The player playing the highest bid card takes the card from the common deck which was up for bid. As in Raj, ties disqualify each other. This can be extremely nasty--and devilishly fun! Any bid cards played are set aside and a player cannot reclaim these cards until he has played ALL of his bid cards. Therefore, proper timing and planning are essential.
The captured card can be used immediately (to climb or, if the card was a sabotage card, sabotage another player, causing him to fall), or held in one's hand for use in a later round. The only exception is if the card was a crash card, in which case the player playing the LOWEST valued bid card immediately suffers the effects of the crash, falling the listed number of spaces.
Instead of playing a bid card, a player may play any other card from his hand (climb, parasite, lost equipment). He then takes the action indicated. A parasite card allows the player to confiscate any climb cards which were played by opponents during that round. A lost equipment card forces an opponent to lose an equipment card. Equipment cards are vital as they are needed to climb over other players and the three ledges on the skyscraper.
The game continues until one player successfully scales the building and reaches the top.
I've now played the game numerous times and, although I've yet to win, find it highly entertaining and enjoyable. I feel this is a superior game to the basic Raj or Montgolfière as players have many more options during the course of a turn. Its drawback is that it can tend to drag, but this is easily correctable by simply removing the top level of the skyscraper.
An added advantage of the game is that it is visually stunning and is sure to attract attention. When we had it set up at the recent Gulf Games convention, folks kept wandering by to gawk at the spectacle. I can't wait to set this one up in a public place and see the reaction. Who knows, we might even find a new gamer or two for our group!