SNAP Review – Cloud Control: Composing Cumulus Creations
Isn’t it nice to lay in the grass? Look up at the sky, and see the clouds. There’s a dog floating by… a car… a train… Bernie Sanders and his mittens? If I point at a cloud, can you guess what I see in it?
This is a SNAP review for Cloud Control!
Like in many other pictionary style games, the art is in the eye of the beholder. You’re crafting cloud shapes from various cloud cards in Cloud Control, and the game lends plenty of options for you to be endlessly creative.
The word cards couldn’t be more clear, with the high and low point clues easy to differentiate. The colors match exactly what you’d expect to see when looking up at a bright blue summer sky.
Cloud Control is a party game at its core, so it’s very simple to play, although setup can be a little bit of a bear.
To start, separate the 64 cards into 16 stacks (four of each type), and arrange these stacks in a 4×4 grid in the middle of the table.
Each player takes a turn in the first round of the game. During a player’s turn, they take a clue card from the deck and study the clues on it (the clue at the bottom is for the lightning round, leave that one out!).
Once they’re ready, they flip the timer and get to work creating their clues with the various cloud cards from the grid. But this isn’t like a normal pictionary game! The clue giver can move the clouds once they’re in place to animate the image they’re trying to get someone to guess.
For each correctly guessed clue, the clue giver and the appropriate guesser get that many points!
Different clues are worth different point values so pay attention to who gets what. But if nobody guesses correctly, nobody gets any points at all.
Once everyone has had a turn making cloud shapes, it’s time for the lightning round! Flip the next card in the clue deck face up and show the lightning clue to everyone. Everyone has 90 seconds (the length of the timer) to make their best version of that clue. Then, everyone has 90 seconds to make their case that their shape is the best. At the end of this, everyone votes on the best shape, and that player gets five points! If there’s a tie, each player gets five points.
After the lightning round, everyone takes turns making cloud shapes again.! Once everyone has had a second turn, tally up your points and whoever has the most points wins!
(Andrew) When I first saw Cloud Control and looked through the components, I was instantly reminded of Imagine from Gamewright (now out of print). I expected Cloud Control to play similarly, and the core mechanic of the game is, in fact, very similar.
Imagine is relatively themeless, though, and I can appreciate the attempt of the clouds in the sky theme here in Cloud Control. I don’t know how much it carries through, but the cloud cards and the kites for points do an alright job reinforcing the theme.
Due to the pandemic restrictions, we weren’t able to gather a large group together to play the team variant, which looks very fun – The group separates into two teams and a clue giver from each team is racing to create the same shape and have their team guess it first. I like this idea because it feels a little more collaborative than every person for themselves. I expect that to be a very fun variant.
(Anitra) I was really surprised to see just how hard this game ended up being. There’s 300 clue cards in the game, and it’s possible in our plays we just happened to be getting the hardest ones, but we’ve played enough that this shouldn’t happen every time at this point.
I was also surprised, and maybe this is related to the difficulty, at the runaway nature of the game. Claire just pastes us in this game every time, and it’s not even close. If you’ve got one player who can put abstract pictures together well, it’s just impossible to catch them. There’s nothing in this game to mitigate that level of skill, unfortunately. It’s not a surprise that our artistic child is the best at this, but just how dramatic it was caught us off guard.
We really did enjoy the challenge of creating meaningful shapes with fixed cards, though. Cloud Control forces you to think creatively, whether crafting a quick pictogram or a cleverly animated character. Sometimes my lack of artistic skill left us all in stitches at the ridiculousness.
If you like pictionary style games but you’re looking for something a little different, consider Cloud Control. We rate it 3 drifting butterfly clouds out of 5. You can find it at Amazon or at 25thCenturyGames.com for 25 bucks.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Cloud Control from 25th Century Games for this review.
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Number of Players: 3-10
Age Range: 8+
Playtime: 20-45 minutes