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Subject: First Game: "It's like that peg game at Cracker Barrel" rss

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Joe Childers
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Alethea and I played this for the first time last night. We used my 4-5-6-7-8-9-8-7-6 hexagonal layout. She is not very good at spatial games, so I was afraid she wouldn't like it. As it turned out, she enjoyed it quite a bit! I ended up winning 54-43, which was a lot closer than either of us expected. I had carved out a large ice floe but it had mostly 1 and 2 fish on it, while her tiny area was chock full of fish, and she had been intentional about hopping onto threes earlier in the game. It also became apparent that I had not made it clear that a penguin can hop farther than the adjacent hex until halfway through the game. She had the bad habit of stranding her penguins by stepping onto the end of a peninsula and wants to do better on this next time.

Her observation in the title about what the game is like is actually pretty close: there is a skill set of maneuvering penguins to avoid traps like Alethea found herself in that does need to be mastered before you can apply strategies of carving out floes for yourself and horning in on others' floes. As such, players not too familiar with abstracts might not find this the best gateway to eurogames, although it is undeniably a great gateway to abstracts. I think that in our next game, we'll play that whoever has a mobile penguin last wins, and forget about fish counts. This should be a good way to focus on movement skills.

With a toddler and two-month-old, we don't get much gaming time anymore. Setting up the hexes together makes this a quick way to get a game fix--and Alethea gains some spatial skill too! This looks to be hitting our table a lot in the near future.
 
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Stven Carlberg
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What peg game at Cracker Barrel?
 
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Scott Alden
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Probably the wooden triangle with the golf tees in the drilled holes (minus 1 so you can make jumps).
 
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Joe Childers
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Yeah, that one.
 
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Stven Carlberg
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Never heard of it.
 
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Joe Childers
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Here it is:



Each turn you jump one peg with another. Keep going until you have no more turns. The number of pegs remaining is your score. There's one on every table at Cracker Barrel restaurants.
 
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