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"More heat! Higher! Higher! Più alto! Ahhh... it is so beautiful from up here, don't you agree? Can you see the children fishing by the river, under the willow? Can you see the glint of the sun on the circus tent-poles? What's this? An old man, alone, passed out in the vineyard? Less heat! Lower! Lower! Vai più in basso!"
"Each night, you learn 1 player of each character type, until there are no more types to learn. [+1 Outsider]"
The Balloonist knows a Townsfolk, an Outsider, a Minion, and a Demon, but gets them confused.
How to Run
When putting character tokens into the bag, remove a Townsfolk and add an Outsider instead. Each night including the first, wake the Balloonist and point to a single player (alive or dead) and place the corresponding “Seen Townsfolk/Outsider/Minion/Demon” reminder token next to them, ensuring not to repeat the same type as has been used before (i.e. don’t move reminder tokens once placed). Do not show them a character token or indicate which specific type this player is, just show them a player.
On each subsequent night, therefore, you will have fewer character types to show as you only have your remaining reminder tokens to place. It is legitimate to show the same player to the Balloonist more than once, if they either have different character types when shown or register as having a different character type. While Travellers are technically another character type, it isn't the intent of the character to show Travellers just to inflate how many nights it takes the Balloonist to get their full info, so don't do so.
If there are no characters of a given type in play and you have shown the Balloonist all other types, stop waking the Balloonist. Note that even if a character of this missing type comes into play on a night after you’ve stopped waking the Balloonist, do not wake the Balloonist again on a later night to show them this player – the Balloonist ability was complete when you stopped waking them.
On the first night, the Balloonist learns Lewis (i.e. the Storyteller points to Lewis). On the second night, the Balloonist learns Doug. On the third night, the Balloonist learns Lachlan. On the fourth night, the Balloonist learns Marianna.
Ben is the Balloonist. On the first night, Ben learns Sarah. On the second night, Ben learns Abdallah. On the third night, Ben dies, so does not learn any more players. Sarah is claiming to be the Monk and Abdallah is claiming to be the Goblin. Ben assumes that he has learnt one Townsfolk player and one Minion player, but he is incorrect - Sarah is the Lunatic and Abdallah is the Leviathan. Ben has actually learnt an Outsider player and a Demon player.
Tips & Tricks
- Keep your identity a secret for as long as possible. If the Balloonist can survive for four nights, including the first, they learn 4 people, 1 of which is the Demon. Even in a 7-player game that cuts out half of the options. In a 15-player game, that narrows the window down to less than a third of the game.
- Come out early if you don’t think you’ll survive the whole game. You added an Outsider to the game, but that isn’t wholly a bad thing. Being able to trust the extra Outsider claim once you find them is very valuable for your team's deductions. You can probably help confirm the increased Outsider count, and this means there is now a small cluster of probably trusted good players. In an 8-player game, there should only be 1 Outsider, but 2 players come out as Outsiders. You can then come out as the Balloonist, and your claim now seems credible, and well as making the Outsiders seem credible. That’s three players who are likely to be good.
- In a small game, it’s highly likely that there won’t even be 4 nights. In this case, your info probably won’t help you learn who the Demon is, but it will likely help you determine maybe two players who are different character types. You learn 2 different players before dying, but you learn that one of them is the Golem therefore, the other one has to be not an Outsider, and 2 out of 3 of those options are evil.
- Half the players you get shown are good, and half are evil. Even if you cannot figure out who the Demon is, your information tells you that two of these players know they’re on the same team and two players don’t know they are. You learn 4 players, and you've been observing 2 of them colluding since the beginning of the game, while 2 of them haven't been interacting at all. It is very likely that you've managed to discover the Demon one of its Minions working together.
- In larger games, your information is extremely powerful, and it gets more powerful the more you get. However, even an incomplete set still has value. For example, if you know that three players are different character types, you know that at least one of them is evil, and at least one of them is good. Therefore, you can deduce that any theories that have your whole set as on your team are suspect, because there has to be a Minion or Demon in there somewhere.
- If you’re ever poisoned on any of those four nights, it undermines the whole 4 nights of information. Remember this as you are a high priority target for being poisoned. If there is a Widow or a Poisoner in play, they’re likely to want to poison you. You get good information on 3 different nights, but on the night you would have learned who the Demon is, you get poisoned, and learn a second Townsfolk instead.
- If you can confirm the role of one of the players you are shown, you’ll learn that all other players seen cannot be that role. If one of the players you see can be proven to be a Townsfolk because of the Virgin, you know all other players you see are not Townsfolk.
- If you are in a game that should have no Outsiders by default, try to find an Outsider as this will give you credibility. More importantly, since they will have to be the Outsider you get shown, you will know that all other targets you are shown cannot be Outsiders.
- Be careful of characters with abilities that register as something else. A Recluse might falsely register as the Minion to you, and the Spy might falsely register as the Outsider to you.
- If you ever learn yourself from the storyteller, that is fantastic information. It means the rest of your set aren’t Townsfolk, and so if any of them do claim to be Townsfolk, you have good reason to be suspicious. Additionally, most of the remaining players you will learn will be evil, one being the Minion and the other the demon, leaving only the Outsider as on your team. Learning yourself as the Townsfolk is very rare though, and the Storyteller will only do it in a Teensyville game, or when the good team has very little other information, or both.
- If the town has no idea who to execute, but still wants someone to die, someone that you have learnt isn’t the worst option - even if you think that they are good. You have a 25% chance of getting the Demon randomly. Those odds of instant victory aren’t anything to sneeze at.
Bluffing as the Balloonist
When bluffing as the Balloonist, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Remember that the Balloonist player isn't shown an an alignment, character, or character type, and doesn't know in what order the players are being shown. The Balloonist player is woken each night, the Storyteller points to a player, then the Balloonist goes back to sleep.
- Remember that if you're bluffing as the Balloonist, there should be an additional Outsider in play. You should have a chat with another evil player who comes out as an Outsider to help bolster your claim. You claim you’re the Balloonist, and another player says they’re the Butler and the group waits for another Outsider claim. The Demon, wanting to play into your bluff comes out as the Sweetheart pretends to gets angry at you for forcing their hand and revealing themselves.
- The Balloonist’s information is about trying to point out that two or more players cannot be the same type. You can pretend to use this information to make good players seem evil. Two players come out as Townsfolk, but then you reveal that you are the Balloonist, meaning that if you were telling the truth, one of those Townsfolk claims is false (of course, you’re lying, but they don’t know that yet). One player claims to be the Mayor and another player claims to be a Bounty Hunter, you can suggest that one of them is lying about their character type by suggesting that your information includes both of them.
- Be very careful in what players you choose. Clumsily claiming players as part of your set can accidentally implicate yourself and/or your demon, leaving you in a real pickle if you need to change your story.
- The Balloonist is a really good claim to fall back on if you don’t have a claim straight away. The Balloonist has good reason to try and hide even right up till the final night. They are trying to fly under the radar for a total of four nights.
- Because the Balloonist eventually learns who the Demon is, if you’re able to survive four nights, you can reveal four players, none of which are the Demon. However, when you do this, you’re about to indirectly accuse two players of being evil. If there is another Minion in play, maybe throw them under the bus to make your information seem more credible, because it doesn’t matter as long as you mislead the group on who the Demon is.
- When pointing the finger at four players, make sure that you are pointing at an Outsider in that group. If you forget to do so, you might be left contradicting yourself, saying you added an Outsider but not having a set that excludes an/the Outsider claim.
- When pointing the finger at four players, make sure that at least one of them stays alive, if you want to stay alive too. After all four players die, the good team will know that you are lying, because the Demon was supposed to be one of those four dead players.
- If people believe that you are the Balloonist, you can get eight good players killed - a character that you implicate each day, and the character that the Demon kills at night. This is basically a sure victory for the evil team. Getting eight good players a one-way ticket to dead-town is incredibly helpful, and this is much more devastating than other characters can do. The real Balloonist can get 4 players executed, 2 of which you really do want executed. But a fake Balloonist gets 4 players that you really do want executed.