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Crazy Adam
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Hopefully these reviews will offer very short, though hopefully helpful pro/con reviews for those trying to make their mind up about this game.


GAME: HEY! THAT'S MY FISH (2003)
PUBLISHER: MAYFAIR

PROS

- Great abstract strategy. Extremely easy to learn and yet offers a fun and challenging game to kids and adults alike.
- Wonderfully realized, integrated theme. Penguins grabbing fish and sinking ice floes. The more ice floes they sink, the harder it is to move around the board (for everybody).
- Smart mechanics. Strategy comes into play as you must make sure to not cut yourself off from larger playing areas, or allow another player the opportunity to do so.
- Unique "board". As pieces keep being removed, the board becomes scattered into islands. Cutting opponents off might be good, or it might leave them with buckets of fish to capture.
- Portability. No board means 60 tiles and 16 penguins that can fit a cloth bag for the road, lunch time, libraries - any time. And because it's easy to learn, you can (and will) have curious strangers sit down to play a round.
- Replayability. As it is a short game (10-15min) with a somewhat short setup, players might want to go through a few rounds for a best 2 out of 3. Enough strategy in it will make you want to try. Plus a modular board means a relatively different play every time.
- Quality parts. As expected from Mayfair.

CONS

- Box. Could have been smaller, and maybe more durable for travel, as this makes a great travel game. Plus, I don't know how I feel about the cover art (a little too kiddy; this game is for adults too!)
- Board randomization. While it's great that the board keeps changing, a downfall is that certain prize pieces might (and often) get grouped together, meaning that the original setup has to be altered afterwards to allow for a more even game space.

Final comment:



Hey! That's My Fish is one of those perfect simple strategy games I've been waiting for. You can explain the rules in a minute, challenge young and old, and have a playful, or competitive round that is enjoyable either way. This game could easily have been made in a black/white simple style, but the hungry penguin theme works beautifully within the object of the game. I'd recommend any fan of simple, well designed abstracts, or anybody with kids, picks this one up if they ever find it (which shouldn't be too difficult).
 
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Russ Williams
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I agree the box is unnecessarily large. I really wish more game makers would make nice compact boxes that are easier to carry and take up less shelf space. (Kudos to games like King of Siam, Clans, Terra Nova, Travel Blokus, Trax, Tantrix, etc.)

Quote:
a downfall is that certain prize pieces might (and often) get grouped together, meaning that the original setup has to be altered afterwards to allow for a more even game space.

I don't see that as a downfall at all, and I see no reason to alter the original setup to make it "more even". There's no reason the fish need to be evenly distributed across the board, and an uneven setup also makes for a good interesting game. There's nothing "unfair" about it since players decide where to place their pieces after seeing the board setup. E.g. if one corner of the board has most of the valuable fish and another corner is mostly one-point fish, that leads to interesting real strategic choices (do I compete with other players to split up the valuable corner, or do I go for the larger area that has less value per hex but is less contested so I can get more hexes?)

More and more I am becoming a fan of pure strategy games with random setups! (Hey That's My Fish, Gipsy King, King of Siam, Tzaar, etc) and variable player-built setups (Dvonn, Terra Nova, etc).
 
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Crazy Adam
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I haven't tried playing with just going with however the chips fall (or hexagonal tiles, for that matter). The official rules of play suggest evenly distributing the 2- and 3-fish tiles. I'd imagine a cluster of multiple fish tiles would lead to some pretty cut-throat gaming. Next few games I'll try without evening the board out, and see what happens!
 
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