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Penguin
 
Store:  Family Games
Theme:  Arctic / Winter
Format:  Boardless Games

Penguin

English language edition of Pingu-Party


List Price: $14.95
Your Price: $11.95
(20% savings!)
(Worth 1,195 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Recommended, 2008

Ages Play Time Players
5+ 10 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Amigo, Fantasy Flight Games

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Product Description

The iceberg is sinking, and the penguins must race to the top!

Penguin is a fast, fun, and very easy to learn game for 2 to 6 players designed by renowned designer, Reiner Knizia. The game features 36 delightfully sculpted plastic penguins in four different families. Players take turns placing the penguins on the stack, creating a pyramid-shaped structure one penguin at a time. The first player to play his last penguin wins the game!

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Recommended, 2008

Product Information

Contents:

  • 36 penguin figures
  • 39 penalty point chips
  • 6 player screens
  • 1 cloth bag
  • instructions

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 0.8 in 2 reviews


 
 
 
 
 
Game's Up Dr Knizia
November 18, 2007

I was going to simply support everything that Tom Vasel wrote about this game but since I need to write a "quality" review in order to get my comments published here goes.

Full marks for some great looking graphics and some colorful, funky looking plastic penguins.

The game mechanics are simple, real simple. Which color penguins you play with is 100% determined by luck so once you have them behind your screen your only option is to try and figure out how best to play them to get them in position. But since everyone else is in the same position you may as well forget applying any logic. Any attempt to think ahead a few moves can be very quickly destroyed by the random placings of your opponents. Believe me, my four year old took me out!!

I wouldn't mind this because my four year old and even my eight year old get a kick out of sitting down with dad and just playing stuff.

What really messes this game up is the atrocious method for interlocking the penguins. The level of concentration and "fiddling about" needed to get the pyramid to build properly made this a very frustrating game.

Shame really because FFG and Knizia printed on a game box usually guarantees a good game.

 
 
 
 
 
Not for anyone, of any age.
November 08, 2007

When looking for games for my children, I know that they aren’t too difficult to please – bright colors and fun concepts are almost always a winner. More than that, I’m looking for a game that is fun, offers a bit of a challenge, and doesn’t drive Mom and Dad crazy when playing it. The best games are games that appeal to the whole family, even if they are heavily slanted toward the younger set. Penguin (Fantasy Flight Games, 2007 – Reiner Knizia) was one game that when I saw the description was sure that I had a winner. With penguins everywhere, including several popular movies, I was sure that my kids at least would enjoy the game tremendously.

I have to say that Penguin is a huge disappointment in almost every way. The game play is very simple and not really that inspired; but I still wasn’t deterred after reading the rules, because I figured that the game featured a dexterity element to keep it interesting. But the penguins, as bright and cheerful as they are, are one of the most frustrating components of a game – being difficult to stack and play. Both of my girls who tried out the game were unhappy with the pieces, and I was ready to hurl them across the room – not a fun, family experience. With a bit of changes to the components, Penguin could have been a simple yet slightly entertaining game. As it is, it’s practically unplayable.

Each player in the game gets a small screen and draws six to twelve (number depends on the amount of players) plastic penguins from a bag, placing them behind the screen. Penguins are yellow, green, red, and blue and are round plastic figures with two slots near the top for other penguins bottom’s to fit into. A pile of “penalty point” tokens are placed on the table. One player is chosen to go first, and then the game begins.

On a player’s turn, they simply take a penguin from behind their screen and add it to the center of the table (the “iceberg”). Each penguin will be placed so that a pyramid of penguins is formed. When placing penguins on the bottom row, a player simply adds them to either side but may NOT add a penguin to the bottom row if there are eight penguins there – the maximum. Players may also stack a penguin on top of two other penguins but may only do so if the stacked penguin matches one of the two colors of the penguins below it.

If a player causes the penguins to fall while stacking, then they take penalty points equal to the amount of the penguins behind their screen, and then the entire game is reset. Also, if a player cannot play one of their penguins or has used up all their penguins, their turn is over. The round will continue until all players have done this, and then players receive penalty points equal to the number of penguins still behind their screens. If a player gets rid of all their penguins, they may subtract two points from any they have already gathered.

The game is then reset for another round. Players play rounds equal to the number of players, and the player with the most points at the end is the winner!

Some comments on the game…

  1. Components: Upon opening the brightly colored, wonderfully illustrated box, players are presented with a pile of large, chunky plastic penguins. A black cloth bag is included to help when randomly drawing the penguins in the beginning, and the player screens, which are a bit flimsy, and penalty point chips have nice designing and look pretty good on the table. The problem lies with those colorful but annoying penguins. The penguins have a round base, which means that when they are being set down, it’s quite easy to twist them to any facing. However, they must all face EXACTLY the same way for the penguins on top of them to be placed properly, since they have two slots that face in one direction. If a penguin is only a little tilted in one direction, the above penguin cannot be placed well. The penguins themselves do not slide into these slots very well, and it is a VERY difficult task for younger children to stack them properly. I myself had a difficult time, and would struggle to get a penguin in, only to find that I had aligned it wrong for those penguins that would be placed on top of it!

  2. Dexterity: Once the penguins are wedged into place, it’s unlikely that they will fall at all, making the dexterity part of the game suspect at best. The game doesn’t have any real rules that dictate how a player places the penguins, so we were using two hands and exerting some real effort as we attempted to get the penguins into place. This was annoying enough that it was soon decided in both games I played that stacking penalty wouldn’t happen. With wooden blocks or something else that was easier to stack, this might have been a nifty dexterity game. As is, it’s pretty bad.

  3. Game: But really, without the dexterity element – there’s nothing left. With all respect to the good doctor, I think this is one of the times that Reiner Knizia’s name got a mediocre (or worse) game published. Since a player has no control over the penguins they draw, the game becomes a simple one of simply placing penguins in such a way to allow a player to get them all on the table. But with a few moves by other players (often inadvertently), a player will find themselves out of luck. The game is fairly random and too simple for most adults.

  4. Kids: I don’t mind the game being too simple for adults, if it’s challenging and fun for children. But while Penguins may offer some nice choices for young ones (and I think these choices are obscured by the annoying components), the fact that all points scored are negative is really not a kid-friendly idea. Kids want to get points – to work towards a goal. Getting negative points simply because they didn’t get all their penguins on the pile isn’t a positive aspect and something that’s difficult to explain to younger elementary.

  5. Fun Factor: As I look this review over, I see that I haven’t said many positive things about the game. So I will state that I enjoy the cartooney artwork and bright pieces. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to make a game fun; and both kids and adults unilaterally rejected it.

Fantasy Flight makes great games from Through the Desert to War of the Ring and has wonderful games in many genres. This game, however, is one that I cannot recommend to anyone. With some component fixing, perhaps the game would be of interest to younger children, having a dexterity flair; but right now everyone that I have tried it with has found it lacking. Penguin is simply not fun.

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games”
www.thedicetower.com

Other Resources for Penguin:

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