Mini Penguin Pile-Up
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Roll the die and move the penguin around the icebergs to find fish. Be careful of icebergs tipping over! Get to the iceberg with the fish on it often to win the most fish, but beware of negative points in the fishbone round!
Shopping for Christmas gifts I came across this little gem. When I bought it I did not know it was a "mini" version of a larger game of the same name. No matter this game is exactly what I was looking for.
The game is aimed at the 5+ age group but my 4 year old joins in the fun with no problem.
The contents include a cute plastic penguin that needs to be clipped together before you play the first time, some wooden blocks, a special die, some cardboard iceberg floats that sit on top of the blocks and some counters with various denominations.
There are two sets of blocks of different diameters. You start out with the wider ones and create the game "board" by placing these blocks in a circle with the iceberg floats on top of them.
One of the floats has a fish printed on it. This is home base and is where the penguin starts its journey. Before you start you stack the tokens next to home base. Each token will have 1,2,3,4 or 5 fish on it. There are a couple of tokens with fishbones on them. The fish represent the points you are going to try and collect. The fishbones represent negative points you are going to try and avoid.
So how to collect points. The person whose turn it is rolls the die. Assuming that the special penguin logo is not rolled the roll will result in a number between 1 and 5. The player must now move the penguin across that many iceberg floats.
Sounds easy right? Wrong. To move you must pick up the penguin place it down on the next float and then let go of it. Repeat this process as many times as the number on the dice. If you are successful in making your moves without dislodging a float you can roll again. If you are really good and get all the way back to home base you can take the top token off the token stack and score those fish. Thats the end of your turn and play now passes to the next person.
So where does the fun come in? Firstly that dice roll has to result in a number. If you roll the "penguin head" logo you miss your turn. Secondly those floats are not as steady as they first look. Its easy to knock them off their blocks and that results in the end of your turn. You then reset the float and carefully place the penguin on it. The next player then trys their luck. Each time someone gets back to home base they score the top token from the token pile.
The fishbone tokens are special. You do not want to collect these because they subtract from your final score. Once a fishbone token is uncovered on the top of the token pile the first person to subsequently dislodge a float gets the fishbone token.
There are a total of 16 tokens in the pile so once the penguin has been round 16 times the game is over. This takes no more than 10 minutes. The person who has collected the most fish points wins the game.
Although I have not got there yet once your players start to develop the dexterity to get around relatively easily you can introduce the narrower blocks to increase the level of difficulty.
Bottom line here is this game sets up quick, it looks good and you can play a couple of games in less then half an hour. Be prepared for lots of laughs when the penguin slides off the iceberg .... especially if its Dads turn!