Our step-by-step guide to the rules of how to play Cloud City Board Game. This is an abstract strategy tableau building game that has you building 3D skyscrapers with intention of building very long, impressive and horrifying walkways in the clouds. There are several board games in this space, but none that combine all the different gameplay elements just like this. Learning how to play Cloud City is fairly easy it is just solving the puzzle in the best way that brings the challenge.

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The city is kickstarting one of its most exciting projects with buildings so high that they rise above the clouds. As an architect, you will get to work at the same time as your competitors and try to put together the most ambitious project. Now get to your models and see what your project will look like from above the clouds.

The object of the game is to develop your city model, positioning buildings strategically to build the most and longest walkways between them. Each walkway will help you earn City Council votes (victory points). The player with the most votes wins the game.


Time Needed: Approximately 30 – 60 minutes.

This is a step by step guide for how to play Cloud City the intriguing tower building abstract strategy board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.

1. SETUP | Give Out Starting Tiles
To Kick off how to play Cloud City setup, give each player a starting tile. There are lots of colored square tiles that will be placed throughout the game, but to start, find the four tiles that have bird symbols on them. Whoever has the tile with 1 bird goes first, 2 birds 2nd and so on. If playing with 2 or 3 people, remove any not being used.

2. SETUP | Set Out Building Tiles
Take all the remaining tiles (square things with different combinations of 2 colored boxes shown), shuffle them up and form a face-down stack that is accessible to everyone.

3. SETUP | Flip Up Initial Tile Choices
Flip over the top 3 building tiles from the stack and fan them out. These are the tiles players can choose from and that will get replaced with new ones if taken.

4. SETUP | Deal Out Opening Hand Tiles
In addition to the 3 building tiles flipped up in the center, deal each player 3 tiles. This is their opening hand and should remain secret from the other players.

5. SETUP | Set Out Building Components
There are three different sized buildings that each have corresponding “sky bridge” connectors. The tray is built to help keep these sorted. Load it up and put that tray in an accessible place.

6. SETUP | Initial Builds
The final step of how to play Cloud City setup before getting into gameplay is to get your skyline started. Each play looks at their starting tile and adds the buildings to the square spaces that correspond with that color. Once you start building out your grid, you will connect these walkways and that is how you get points to win.

7. GAMEPLAY | Players Take Turns
The game takes place over 8 rounds (enough to get to a 3×3 grid) with players taking turns one at a time, and completing four different phases within one of those turns.

8. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 | Expand City Base
Take any one tile from your hand and place is directly next to one of the tiles already down in your personal grid. If you are just starting, it is your starting tile with the birds on it you got at the beginning. Rotate however you like before placing. You are restricted to a 3×3 grid and never place wider or talller than that. This is mandatory.

9. GAMEPLAY | Phase 2 | Place Buildings
After you have decided your tile placement, you need to add all the necessary pieces that correspond. Place a building of matching colors on any shown squares. The three colors correspond to the different heights. This is mandatory.

10. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 | Building Walkways
This is the major junction of strategy in how to play Cloud City. This, unlike other steps so far, is not mandatory. Here you may choose to connect any two buildings on your tableau with a corresponding sky bridge walkway. They have to be the same color and not blocked by another building. Higher buildings are able to build OVER the shorter ones but it obviously does not work in the reverse. Based on the color and width of the gap, there is only going to be one possible walkway piece to use, find it and drop it over the two towers. Each shows the points each is worth.

11. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 | Draw New Tile
As the final phase to your turn, you draw back up to three tiles. You can either take one of the three flipped up tiles in the center, or grab a new one from the stack. If you take one of the communal up tiles, replace it with a new one from the stack.

12. GAMEPLAY | Pass & Repeat
After a player has completed the four phases, the turn moves clockwise to the next player and it is done all over again. This process continues until everyone has a finished 3×3 grid (9 tiles) in front of them. It equates to 8 rounds (starting tile + 1 tile each round).

13. SCORING | Walkways
The scoring is based entirely on the walkways you were able to complete. The numbers listed on each path is what it is worth, this represents “council votes” because the commission behind these are happy with their impressive size. Add all your path totals together to get your final score. In more advanced games, you are also able to introduce objective cards which would add additional complexity to scoring.

14. WINNING | High Score Wins
After everyone has added up their totals, high score wins. In a tie, whoever has the most blue points, wins. As you can see, learning how to play Cloud City is easy, it is navigating this interweaving grid that gets difficult.



As you take in how to play Cloud City, the main thing that gets tricky is how you place your walkways. Not only does it get a little difficult laying in all the pieces, but there are some key restrictions as well:

  • Taller buildings block the construction of walkways but not shorter buildings.
  • A building can only ever have two walkways attached to it even if you have the option to build additional paths.
  • A building of the same height will block a path, you cannot build a long walkway over buildings of the same height, you will instead need to put two smaller paths.
  • You cannot add a path between buildings if it would ever pass over a space on your board that doesn’t have a building tile laid into your board.
  • Just because you can build a walkway doesn’t mean you have to. You can always come back on later turns to add a walkway somewhere.
  • If the supply runs out of a specific color and size walkway, those are no longer available to you. That is why it benefits you to play paths as quickly as you can.


Once you have played the base game a few times, you are now ready to bring in the more advanced objective cards. This is an aspect that is present in many games. It is a mission that if completed, will score you extra victory points.

At the beginning of the game, shuffle these cards and randomly flip up one to place next to the face-down stack of building tiles. This is the objective that everyone is competing over.


  • 96x Buildings (3x heights with 32 each)
  • 93x Walkways (31x river, 31x forest, 31x sand)
  • 48x Building Tiles (including 4x starting tiles with bird symbols)
  • 10x Special Objective Cards
  • 2x Rulebooks (French & English)


We hope you can now say you know how to play Cloud City. This abstract strategy tableau building game is pretty easy to learn and get going on. There are several games out there that are like this, but none have quite the intricate puzzle of this and the fun of building 3D buildings into the sky. The game has a solid core and with the modularity and few bells and whistles, it is something you can easily play over and over again.