Introduction: Note – this review is based on the German version published by Phalanx. A pretty simple game for 2-4 players where you have to collect the most fish with your penguins as the game board gets smaller and smaller.
Graphical Presentation: The cover image is a comic style illustration of penguins that suggests a younger audience for the game. The hexagonal tokens that show ice floes with one to three fishes on them are done in an appropriate comic style. The wooden penguins are pretty basic with some painted on details.
Game Components: 60 hexagonal tokens with one to three fishes on them, 16 wooden penguins in four different colored sets of four and a rules booklet.
Victory Conditions: Have your penguins collect the most fish.
Setup: The game board is setup by laying out eight of the hexagonal tiles. Then you place three more rows of 7-8-7 tiles above the first row and four more rows of 7-8-7-8 below it. It is advised to avoid clusters of three fish ice floes. Starting with the youngest player, each player places one of his penguins on a one fish ice floe in a clock-wise order until all penguins are on the board.
Gameplay: On your turn you may move one of your penguins in a straight (not changing directions) line along a row to another tile. You may move any number of tiles with a few exceptions: There may only be one penguin on an ice floe. Movement is stopped by other penguins, your own or another players. Movement is stopped by gaps between ice floes. After you finished movement you collect the ice floe that your penguin started from. This way the game board gets smaller very fast. The game ends when no player can move any of his penguins. Then you collect the ice floes your penguins are standing on and count the total fish. The player with the most fish wins the game.
Playing Time: Depending on number of players and preferred play style between 10 to 15 minutes.
Summary: A rules light and simple tactical game that works well with two or more players.
My 5 cent: This one is a classical euro board game, abstract mechanism with some theme painted on. I personally dislike the graphical presentation as it is misleading and the German title “Packeis am Pol” or polar pack-ice sucks as it has got not much to do with the game. This way it comes about like a children's game which it not necessarily is. I think of it rather as a introductory tactical game. There are certainly better ones out there but it is fast and simple. The only thing that really annoys me is that the setup takes almost as long as playing the game.