As most of us know flying a kite well is not easy. We have all tried to fly kites at some point in our lives either as a child or with our own children and the light weight string attached creations seem to prefer being on the ground rather than in the air. But when you do manage to get a kite flying there is no better feeling. Keeping it up there, well that is a different story and one that ‘Kites Time To Fly‘ from Floodgate Games tries to represent as a real time cooperative game.
Lets Go Fly A Kite
This is a game all about keeping the sand moving in timers. There are six timers and the game ends immediately with a loss if any of the timers runs out of sand. You keep the timers alive by playing cards which have matching symbols / colours to the timers and this allows you to flip them.
At the start of the game all of the timers are laid down in the middle of the table and the players are dealt a certain number of cards. The starting playing flips the white timer up and then everyone can look at their cards. Taking turns in clockwise order each player will play one card from their hand and flip the timer / s that are represented on the cards and then take a new card from the deck. If ever you want to flip the white timer you must play a card which has any single colour / symbol.
The timers have different levels of sand and some clever maths is at play as the fastest timers have the highest representation on the cards. The red timer takes about 30 seconds to deplete compared to roughly 1 minute 30 seconds for the purple timer, however there are 26 cards with the red symbol compared to only 10 for the purple one.
Everyone will be shouting what colours are looking close to finishing and saying ‘who has a blue?, WHO HAS A BLUE?’. Eventually the deck will run out and at this point you are no longer allowed to flip the white timer. This is where the game steps up the difficulty as you have to finish the game before the white timer runs out. If the players manage to play all of the cards then the game ends with a win for the group.
Up To The Highest Height
You have worked out how to beat the game and can do it on a fairly regular basis so what comes next? The answer to that is three excellent plug in variants. You can play with just one or any combination of them but be warned with each addition the step up in difficulty is significant.
1) Storm Cards – When you draw a storm card you must call out “A Storm Is Coming” then on your next turn you must play the storm card and flip all of the timers on your own.
2) Cross-Lined Cards – When you draw this card you must not tell the other players. Then on your next turn you must play this card and say “Crossed Lines”. Each player must then give one card to the player on their left and their right.
3) Airplane Cards – Once again you must not tell the other players when you draw this card. On your next turn you must say “Airplane” and play the card. After the card is played no players may speak until the Airplane card is covered (this players next turn).
I love this theme but the more I play the game the more I realise other themes could of maybe matched the gameplay better, the most obvious two being juggling or plate spinning. What you are doing in this game is playing a card to keep something moving so lots of different themes could have been used and maybe the gameplay will be repurposed in the future. However, what the theme of Kites Time To Fly gives you is the possibility of beautiful artwork.
Components & Art
Beth Sobel has once again proved that she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to artwork for board / card games. Her drawings of the different kites are beautiful and my only real complaint is there isn’t enough variety. I wish that instead of repeated designs for the kites there was a different kite on each card but that might just be me being greedy.
The components are of a very high quality. The cards feel sturdy and don’t stick together when shuffled and the timers are excellent with very easy to read sand contained within. I love the fact that the sand matches the colour of the timers / kites and that there are also symbols on the tops of the timers also matching the kite cards. This will definitely assist people with colour vision issues.
The Big Finish
It’s difficult to rate Kites Time To Fly as it is only 10 minutes long and although I love the theme I can see several other themes fitting it just as well, however, the game is so charming, fun and easy to teach that the rating is ‘lifted up’. Every game I have played has been exciting and either ended in high fives all around or lots of shouting and laughing as we forgot to check one of the timers before it was too late.
I would put this firmly into the party games genre as it can be played by anyone with any mix of age groups. It is also another cooperative game that doesn’t suffer with Alpha gamer which is great.
Despite not being a big fan of cooperative or real time games this is a real gem and will sit proudly on my shelf ready to be shown off to serious gamers, family and friends.
Now, if only I could fly a kite for real!