Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review / Session Report - Hey, That's My Fish

I got "Hey, That's My Fish" for my kids for Christmas this past year without having ever played it but having heard lots of great reviews.

Tonight, we finally tried it out.

While I read the rules, each of my three kids had fun punching out the ice floes. The rules seemed fairly straightforward while also having a lot of depth to them, so I was excited to get going.

The basic gist of the game is that the players are a bunch of penguins on a large sheet of ice covered with fish. The ice floe is breaking up as the penguins wander around eating the fish. Whichever player eats the most fish by the time the entire ice floe is gone, is the winner. The movement and strategy involved in capturing fish is simple enough...the strategy comes in the fact that every move a player makes removes a piece of ice from play, limiting moves and potentially breaking the ice apart and stranding a penguin or sending a lot of valuable fish off into the ocean without being scored.

I guessed that my oldest (Jason, 9) would get the general idea of the game and possibly start seeing some strategy in this first play through. I figured my middle (Andrew, 7) would understand the moves but not likely have any set strategy. And I deduced that my youngest (Julia, 4) would need coaching from me just to get her penguins moving but that she'd have fun with the theme and being involved with the older kids.

With the rules in mind and the tiles punched, I set to laying out our giant ice floe. It took a minute, during which the kids had fun making their penguins do various acrobatics or carry on strange conversations about the fish they were about to eat.

Once our sheet of ice was ready, we placed our fish. Within two turns, Julia had essentially moved one of her penguins into a corner that was about to break off from the main floe, Andrew and Jason were bouncing back and forth on long sweeping paths of the glacier, and I was just trying to remember which color penguin was mine and which was that of the kids I was helping.

A few turns in, a minor catastrophe struck as Andrew accidentally swept his hand across the tiles while reaching for his penguin. One entire side of the ice floe turned into a cardboard snow-cone, with chunks of ice strewn all over the place. We recovered well enough and he was much more careful the rest of the game (although he did almost break it up once more).

After a few more turns, one of Julia's penguins was totally cornered with no more moves and the other was hugging the far side of the ice chunk. The boys were rapidly whittling things down and I was just trying to keep my penguins alive by constantly moving towards the largest side of the floe.

After rules and setup, the game itself only lasted about 20 minutes.

Final scoring was actually very close:
Andrew - 20
Julia - 21
Jason - 22
Dad - 22

All the kids had a lot of fun and I'm sure we'll play it again. I definitely plan to try it with [i][b]only[/b][/i] an older crowd so I can try to see more planning and strategy, but it's still a lot of fun with a bunch of kids just having fun...the way games with kids are supposed to be. :)

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