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Balloon Cup
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Balloon Cup

English language edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 30 minutes 2

Designer(s): Stephen Glenn

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Kosmos

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Product Description

In Balloon Cup, the players compete in several short balloon flights (hops) to collect the colored cubes associated with each hop. When a player has collected enough cubes of a given color, he earns the trophy card for that color. Players may even trade 3 otherwise useless cubes for 1 they can use. The first player to earn 3 trophy cards is the winner! Each player has a hand of eight balloon cards. The players play their balloons on mountain or plain hops. Players play their high-valued balloons on the mountains and their low-valued balloons on the plains. Players usually play their balloons on their side of the hops, but winds (and cunning) can cause them to play on their opponents side, a move that can ruin their opponents plans.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Family Card Game Nominee, 2005
Games Magazine Awards
Best 2-Player Card Game, 2004
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2003
International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game Nominee, 2003

Product Information


  • 45 balloon cards
  • 5 trophy cards
  • 4 hop tiles
  • 45 victory cubes
  • 1 bag
  • 1 rule booklet
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.1 in 24 reviews

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Unusually good two player game
October 07, 2007

Two player games are tough to design, because the game must be interesting and close up to the end. Balloon Cup has a great mix of luck and planning that makes it very enjoyable, with short turns and interesting decisions. Like most great games, you have many choices, and most of the time you have to pick the best of many good moves to make.

I have played this game with many no-gamers (girlfriends, mostly) and other gamers, and it's always challenging and exciting right up to the end.

by Roy L.
Flawed Euro; Diverting Lightweight Card Game
September 02, 2006

A lightweight diversion for very causal play, this game falls apart quickly on close examination. It has two serious flaws, both of which have been mentioned by other reviewers. First, there is a serious error in the rules regarding placement of cubes (which has been corrected by official but tedious to enforce errata). Second, the game is so dominated by luck that players will frequently find their moves forced. Worse, games almost always end in a luck driven anticlimax as the victor is determined by the scoring of a single tile and who happens to have the few cards relevant to wining it.

Great, casual, two-player fun
July 18, 2006

My wife likes card games like Uno and Phase 10. I like less abstract games like Civilization, 1830, or Carcassonne. Balloon Cup is a happy middle ground for both of us. Balloon cup is really an abstract card game with some beautiful artwork on the cards. The game is supposed to simulate a balloon race through mountains and plains. It's a card game where the player with either the highest or lowest numbered cards wins a portion of the race. You want to have the lowest score over the plains, and the highest score over the moutains. You can play a card on either your side (i.e. your balloon) or your opponent's side. Despite what other reviews may say, the game involves luck and strategy. Like in Poker or Hearts, there's a limited number of differnt colored cards. If you're paying attention, you know what's been played and what the odds are that a particular card will come up. There are usually plenty of decisions to make, do you play for big races or small races; do you try to slow your opponent by playing cards on his or her side or do you speed yourself along. When we play, a decision I don't make often comes back to haunt me as my wife fills my side of the table with "bad" cards. This is a fun, light-hearted and fast game. Like many card games, it can get repititive. Nonetheless, I highly recommend it.

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