Erik van der Weide
This variant should bring some extra strategy to this delightful little game by making a few tiles worth a lot more, but at a cost...
Mark 5 of the "3 fish" tiles so that they can still be distinguished when there's a penguin on them. A colored border works nicely. Let's call these marked tiles bonus tiles.
Set up the game in your preferred shape, with the bonus tiles mixed in, making sure they are evenly spread out.
game play and scoring
During the game, when a penguin of your color is positioned on one of these bonus tiles, you can opt to remove that penguin from the game (instead of making a normal move). If you do, you also get to take the bonus tile, which is now worth 10 points. Keep it separate from the other tiles you collected.
Removing a penguin like this can even be done when it has no movement options left (e.g. at the end of the game). This variant assumes that players always collect the tiles their penguins end up anyway.
If a bonus tile is taken in the usual way (by moving your penguin to another tile), it counts as a normal tile of 3 points.
- Getting the bonus tiles will cost you a penguin, which could have collected other tiles and blocked opponents instead.
- Immediately placing a penguin on one of the bonus tiles will either mean you can't move that penguin for the rest of the game, or you lose the 7 point bonus.
- Isolating a part of the ice sheet with one or more of these bonus tiles in it will give you a lot of points. Fighting over such an isolated part will be more intense.
This actually sounds really clever. At first I thought "whoa, 10 points?! That's way too much", but in fact actually taking one of these tiles would be pretty rubbish at the start of the game. As the game goes on, taking the tile would become more attractive and I would be surprised if a bonus tile lasted until the end of the game without someone taking it.
However, if you managed to isolate an area of the board with a bonus tile on it, you would be cashed up... so people would stop you doing that...
I like the sound of that! On a more general note, when I first played 'Hey That's My Fish' I immediately thought that it was a sophisticated adult's game that had been shoe-horned into becoming a kiddie's game. Rules like this that give a bit more richness to the tiles than just '1, 2, 3' are pretty awesome.
I can't really think of a reason to change the game. We love it the way it is.