User:JoblessScout/Balloon race

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This thing ain’t on auto-pilot, son!
The Engineer driving the boat manually
User Dark Prelate Mohandar Balloonrace.jpg

Balloon Race is a TF2 map. There are several versions for it, but the latest game of it is balloon_race_v3_t7. The other versions are balloon_race_v1, balloon_race_v2, and balloon_race_v3. Although balloon_race_v3_t7 is the latest map of the development, the other versions are played just as much because of different gameplay styles.


The game is similar to Payload Race, however, you use "boats" with weather balloons attached to the top. You start off in a resupply room station. The supply rooms contain a resupply locker, and two holes which will teleport you to the front or the back or underneath the boat. Outside the room, there is a giant balloon station with two colored balloons depending on your side. You are given 30 seconds to setup and get on the boat. In balloon_race_v1, there is a force field that will disappear after setup time, while balloon_race_v2 and on have a fence and will disappear after a while after the setup ends.


There are two goals in balloon race. The first goal is to capture all the control points. The control points are treasure island, which is an island surrounded by water, a rock on the cliff, which is land stuck out of a side of a mountain high above ground, the bird's nest, which is a marble stairway connected to another mountain, and another rock stuck out of the mountainside except it has a stairway with a control on the top. All the balloon race games have these locations, except with changes. In balloon_race_v1, the landforms are the same, in balloon_race_v2 however, the water is surrounded by two Ichthyosaurs from the Half-Life series, the first rock side has a building with a control point inside, and the fourth control point has a Hoodoo similar to the one in Badlands for the second and fourth control point. In balloon_race_v3, everything is the same except the first control point has minor changes, the third control point has glass walls and a roof on the pathway going down the bird nest on the sides, and the fourth control point is a building, but you still have to get to the top of it to get to the control point. In balloon_race_v3_t7, the water surrounding the island is toxic and will deal 1 damage for every second you are in the water, and an extra control point called the bridge which is towards the end of the race, there is a bridge between a canyon that has a control point in the center. In balloon_race_v1, for a team to win, they have to capture 3 control points. In balloon_race_v2 and v3, a team has to capture all four control points. In balloon_race_v3_t7, if four control points are captures, that team will win. The extra control point does not need to be capped if the four other ones are captured by the same team.

In balloon_race_v2, if the boat is 2 control points behind, there is a path in the mountain that the boat will go through to catch up. If the third control point is captured and the other boat is 2 control points away, it will go behind the bird nest and get to the fourth control point

The second goal is to reach the end of the map. In balloon race 1, if both team get 2 control points, the race will go on and you will have to control your boat to the beginning of the map. The boat will go through a canyon and back into the balloon shed and into the other team's side. In balloon_race_v2 and v3, if 3/4 control points a re captures, the race will go on. In this version, if a control point is capped, the balloons will get a speed boost and will have an increased speed when on the wheel. everything is the same towards the end of the race, except when the losing team doesn't make it, their boat will explode. In balloon_race_v3_t7, everything is the same except if 3/5 points are capped, the race will go on.

Balloon Boats

Each side has their own balloon boats with their color. At the front of the boat, there is a steering wheel which will let you drive the boat. The boat will go faster you stand near it. Its speed will lower if no one is near it. The sped goes up to five speed or maximum speed. The balloons fly in the air to go over lakes and air. You have to drive your boats to the control point areas and reach back to the balloon station. The balloons contains Dispensers to heal you during traveling in the boat. In balloon_race_v1 there is a level 1 Dispenser which is your source of healing health and getting ammo. In balloon_race_v2, the Dispenser in underneath the boat. In balloon race v3 and balloon_race_v3_t7, the Dispenser is still underneath the boat, however it is a level 3 Dispenser. The boats have breakable windows to fire projectiles out of. In the first balloon race, the balloons have 2 windows on the back, in the balloon_race_v2 and v3, the balloons have 7 windows, 3 in the back, and 4 underneath, and in balloon_race_v3_t7, the balloon has 5 windows, 3 in the back, and 2 underneath instead. The boats in version 2 and onward will deal damage Overtime if anyone is near the boat. To get back on your boat, you can either walk onto the boat, use the ladder on the side of the boat, use the holes in the resupply rooms, or use the teleporters to get back into it.

Gameplay Demonstration

Note: This is balloon_race_v2.



  • Try to move around the wheel to avoid projectiles, especially Sniper's bullets. It makes a great shield.
  • Only go to the Dispenser if you really need it. Don't go to it to heal a small amount of damage or ammo. Unless you want to be the (Not so) Lonely are the Brave Heavy and spam your minigun when the balloons are side-by-side.
  • On the first control point, try to hide behind the treasure chest to avoid damage. Be careful about standing there too long, or else the treasure chest will open when captured, crushing you to death.
  • After capturing the second control point, sometimes it is better to stay on the building as you will be able to have a height advantage against the other balloon if they have already left the lake. This is particularly useful when playing as engineer or sniper. There is ammo and health that spawns there.
    • If the other balloon is seriously lagging behind and uses the cave entrance, this tactic is not as effective as the balloon's back is shielding your targets.
  • At the third control point, you can jump onto the lower balloon when its moving. This can be useful to attack enemy players as they will have a hard time hitting or noticing you.
    • The first balloon will always go to the bottom, giving the other team a height advantage.
  • After capturing the third control point, using the same tactic as with the second control point is still effective, only if the balloon has already turned at a steep enough angle towards you. If you capture too early, the balloon will go directly to the fourth control point.
  • Aim for the enemy(s) who are controlling the boat. Seriously wounding them or killing them can cause the boat to slow to a complete stop if the space in front of the wheel is vacant.
    • Taking out Snipers, Heavies, Soldiers, Medics or Pyros especially will hinder the enemy's defensive ability. Usually aim for the Medic and let your teammates finish off the rest of them as they will have to go down to the dispenser to heal.


  • Obviously, they can capture control points twice as fast.
  • With the help of Force-A-Nature or Atomizer, you can jump onto the enemy's boats and distract them as well as damage them. This technique is safer in balloon_race_v1 as you don't take damage from going onto their boats.
  • The pistol is useful in long range although it is not as effective as other bullet weapons
  • Using the sandman to knock out the driver of the balloon is a good strategy however it is tricky as the balloon's shape makes it hard at long range, the balloons move too, making the ball harder to lead.
  • Mad milk is useful beyond imagination while balloons are side-by-side. Especially if there is a war between heavies.
  • They can be used to avoid damage while driving due to their speed.
  • They do not however move the balloon any faster than any other class.


  • Their rockets can cause decent damage (compared to other weapons at far range) to the enemy players on their boats
    • Remember to lead the rockets, don't aim directly because the balloon is usually moving. The Direct Hit is useful in this case as it does more damage than the standard while also having a fast projectile.
  • They can rocket jump onto enemy player's boats and cause serious damage to the enemy. Their high HP can be useful to survive the damage from the enemy's boats on v2 and v3. Using the Liberty Launcher, Battalion's Backup and Equalizer help make a last stand on the enemy balloon.
  • It is recommended to have the Pain Train to capture the control points faster, however watch out for classes like Heavy or Scout as you are more vulnerable to bullets.
  • If you are good at leading your projectiles, try using the Cow Mangler 5000. A charged shot hitting the center of the deck can hit many of the players on the boat, so it is handy for getting rid of large groups of enemies.
  • If you are good at market gardening, try using the market gardener to ram into the driver, killing them or ramming them off the boat.


  • Arguably the most devastating class in the mod, they can get onto the enemy's boat and burn everyone to death if they are quick at the beginning of the round. They can be very difficult to defeat if one were to infest the boat, especially in balloon_race_v1 due to the fact that they don't take damage on the boat and the border diving the boats vanishes instantly when the round starts. The Powerjack allows you to stay longer on later versions of the map.
  • Their Flare Guns and Detonator can be handy to burn people from far range. Due to it having no damage ramp-up, they can be handy to do decent damage as well. The Scorch Shot is especially useful at range for knocking enemies away from the wheel of their boat or even better, knocking them clean off it, either hindering them or plunging them to their death.
  • It is useful on balloon_race_v1, to equip the Backburner and stick at the back of the boat. Enemies spawning at the back will not be facing you, so you can quickly pick them off using the added crits.


  • Demomen can be very useful to reach far place quickly, especially with the Sticky Jumper. They can use the Sticky Jumper to gain a head-start on capturing control points. You can also use it to jump onto the enemy's balloon and destroy them with your Grenade Launcher without them noticing you
  • Use the Pain Train if you have it, especially if you are using the Sticky Jumper trick.
  • Your Grenade Launcher can be useful to let them roll onto the enemy's boat and explode them, however this only really works when the balloons are in close proximity.
  • Sticky jump to the second control point if things start to tilt in the enemies favour, use the Ullapool Caber and use it to ambush them at the second point. Despite being a suicide tactic, it can be useful to buy your team mates some time.
  • Using a shield and charging while the balloons are in close proximity of each other, especially after the 2nd or 3rd control point can also surprise the balloon's occupants. The Persian Persuader or Ullapool Caber work best as well as the Splendid Screen or Tide Turner. The Persian Persuader can pick up weapons from your dead enemies, delaying the time for you to die from the balloon's auto defense if the map version is later than balloon_race_v1. The Caber is really good for taking out a mob of enemies, be warned as this is almost certain death. The Tide Turner allows you to steer in case you miss an enemy while charging. The Splendid Screen can help decrease the amount of enemies on the balloon.


  • Heavy, like the Pyro, can also be devastating if they get onto the enemy's boat quickly at the beginning of the round due to their Minigun having high damage and high hit points to get through.
  • The heavy's Minigun does very little damage at far range. Thus, it's best to use the Minigun when capturing the control points.
    • However the flinching caused by the Minigun can hinder snipers and other classes, causing them to miss. If the balloons are side-by-side, heavy is a deadly class.
  • Your Sandvich can be useful to heal you quickly without wasting time going to the Dispenser.


  • Engineers are only useful when capping control points. If they are quick, they can build a sentry to the enemy teams boat port or near a control point to make it harder for them to capture it or behind the wheel.
  • It is useful to have the Gunslinger with you as you can survive more damage on the boat and you can build quick mini-Sentry Guns near capture points without wasting time building it.
  • Through a glitch, the Engineer can have a big advantage by building things onto the boat. See bugs.
    • Using the Wrangler is advisable if you are building a sentry.


  • Medics can help teammates driving the boat so they don't have to keep going to the Dispenser and focus on driving.
  • Following the point above, always make the driver an important heal patient, as no driver means the boat will slow down.
  • If you have the Crusader's Crossbow then you have an advantage versus a regular medic with a Syringe Gun as the projectiles do more damage over farther distance.
  • If you have the Medi Gun, you can use its ubercharge to kill the enemy players trying to cap the control point.
  • If you have the Kritzkrieg, you can use it on players to kill enemy players driving the boat. It's recommended to do it on players with weapons that don't have damage ramp-up at far range, such as Flare Guns or Revolvers.
  • If you have the Quick-Fix, you can use it to heal your teammates effectively if they are starting to suffer when driving the boat.
  • You can use the Amputator taunt to heal all your teammates on the boat without constantly switching your heal beam with other people.


  • Snipers are very vital in this map. Due to the map being very huge with a lot of wide open ranges, you can kill many enemy players at extremely far ranges.
  • Be careful with the Machina as the tracer rounds can attract many enemies towards you.
  • The Classic is not a suitable choice as it only headshots when fully charged.
  • Their bullets are the most high damaging things at far range, so they can be useful anywhere.
  • If you are riding the balloon along side with the other balloon, be sure to compensate the lag that the balloons create.
  • At the beginning of the round, try sneaking around the hanger or into the water and ambush the other team while they are pulling out. They usually will have a hard time reaching you as you have put some distance between the balloon and you. Try hiding in the water and dodge the fish (because it is instant death) to avoid being seen even with the freeze-cam. Change hiding spots frequently and also do not use the Machina
  • In balloon_race_v3_t7, there are many dark places in which you can hide and snipe from, as it will cloak you from most enemies or freeze-cams.


  • Spies aren't that useful in this map for couple of reasons. For one thing, the enemy players are usually on the boat. With your low HP and your real advantage of going near the enemy players, you are usually going to die when attempting to backstab people on the boat because of taking constant damage.
    • However, if the map is balloon_race_v1, then spies can be useful holding the boat up, especially after the 1st control point is captured.
  • If you do manage to Cloak yourself on the boat (especially with the Cloak and Dagger), be careful of uncloaking to backstab someone. With little space on the boat, you will be caught and trapped easily.
  • If you are accurate, you can use their Revolver to get people from far ranges. The Ambassador is helpful for sniping them off, and the headshot crits can get rid of low HP classes, such as scout or sniper.
  • Another great strategy is to go invisible at the wheel using the Cloak and Dagger, as even if the boat is moving, the watch's battery will not go down and you can drive invisibly, confusing enemies.