Title: Cloud Control
Designed By: Eugene Bryant
Art By: Stephanie Gustafsson and Matt Paquette
Published By: 25 Century Games
Player Count: 3-10
Time to Play: 15-30 Minutes
Cloud Control is a family-friendly party game about letting your imagination run wild and creating shapes out of clouds. It is easy to learn, easy to teach, and easy to play!
To get started separate the cloud cards into piles by type (there are 16 types with 4 cards of each shape) and lay them out so all players can reach them. These are the cards you will be using to create the shapes in the clouds.
Also make sure that the point tokens (shaped like little kites!), the shape cards, and the timer are within easy reach of all players.
Decide who goes first and have that player look at a shape card. There are 5 words on the shape card. The top two words are 1-point words, the next two words are 3-point words, and the bottom word is only used in the lightning round. Once the starting player has read the card, they can put it in the little card stand so they can see it without others being able to. They then flip the 90-second timer and get to work creating their shapes.
The active player can use any of the 16 types of cloud cards to create any of the 1 or 3 point shapes on the card. The player can start with whatever word they choose. Other players watch the cloud creation and try to see if they can guess what the active player is making. If they guess correctly, both the guesser and the active player receive the corresponding amount of points. The active player can then pick a new word from their card and players continue guessing until time runs out or all words have been guessed.
Cloud cards can be overlapped, flipped, animated, or oriented in any direction. Shapes can be broken down into words to help guess the final word. Hand gestures are even okay. The only real rules around cloud creation are that the active player cannot speak, make sounds, use sign language, or use cloud cards to spell out the word or give the number of letters in the shape.
After all players have had a turn to be the active player once, a lightning round begins. In this round, a shape card is revealed to all players. Everyone then has 90 seconds to create the lightning round shape a the bottom of the card. Players may only take one cloud card at a time and must place it before taking another one. When time is up, each player shows off their creation and then the 90-second timer is flipped again and players can explain their shapes. When time runs out, all players vote simultaneously for which shape is their favorite (and no, players cannot vote for their own cloud). Whichever player gets the most votes receives 5 bonus points.
Play then goes back to the original starting player. Each player takes turns being the active player once more and then once the last player has been the active player twice, everyone tallies their scores, and whoever has the most points wins!
Cloud Control also includes rules for team play which is recommended for groups of 6 or more players.
Cloud Control is perfect for fans of games like Pictionary. It was refreshing to play a party game that could also be described as "wholesome". It offers fun for the whole family, with a lot of creativity built into the gameplay. We love that Cloud Control is a party game, but is not another version of "a put in a card that best matches this description" game.
Something else we enjoyed is that all players are involved during every round of Cloud Control, whether you are the active player or a player guessing, Cloud Control keeps you engaged and there is not a lot of time sitting around waiting to be involved in the game.
We also like the scoring mechanics where both the active player and the person who guessed the correct answer score points. It incentivizes players to want to figure out what the active player is creating while increasing the likelihood that the active player wants to make the best shape they can. This scoring system also helps those that may not be great at either creating the shapes or guessing them, as you can still earn points by just being really good at one of these things. You don't necessarily need to be the most creative person in order to win!
The lightning round is a cool little feature in Cloud Control. It really is almost as crazy as a lightning storm. It was funny to see what everyone comes up with for the same word, especially as the shapes you need start to get taken by other players during cloud creation. Comparing all the clouds created at the end was definitely a good laugh.
Cloud Control offers a wide-range shape options from things that are as simple as a cat, to as obscure as Mt. Rushmore. One thing we always look for with party games is the replayability factor. Some games grow stale after a few plays, once everyone knows all of the cards. But with 300 cards and 5 words per card, you will get a lot of gameplay out of Cloud Control. We also got the bonus deck which allows us to create our own shape words. This could be super fun if you were planning a theme night, or for a special occasion.
Overall, Cloud Control was a cirrus-ly fun game that we look forward to playing again and again!