Penguin Mechanics: Player elimination

We're constantly looking for new ways to tweak our game to make it more enjoyable for everyone playing. As we've playtested over and over again we've noticed something that occurs occasionally that makes the game, well, less fun.

You can get eliminated really early if you decide to play risky or if you're just unlucky.

"I just wanted to eat fish."

And it's a drag when it happens. The game is about slapping each other and trying to knock each other "out." Sometimes new players will have a very offensive hand and will simply go all out on their first turn without understanding that their attacks can be turned against them if they aren't careful. They end up starting a slapping back and forth only to run out of cards and get knocked out of the game before they've even had a chance to learn how to play. And that's lame.

Polar bear is not so happy about-

It can be argued that high risk/high reward is just in play here. And since the game is short getting knocked out isn't that bad (since you can just join in the next game). But it's something that makes players unhappy. So to fix this we've changed a rule.

Instead of "once you're out of cards you're out of the game" it's just "the last penguin who's holding fish cards wins." So when only one penguin has fish cards that player wins! But until then as long as you can draw fish cards, you're still in the game.

Granted, starting your turn empty handed isn't going to give you a lot of options on your turn, so, if you run out of fish cards you can draw TWO fish cards on your next turn (and if you have the diver's helmet equipped, you can draw three). Hopefully you'll pull a blue fish that'll help you recover. It'd still be tricky to win the game at this point, but you can get back at the person who knocked you out (and let's be honest, petty revenge is pretty sweet in this game.)

It also means there's slightly less risk when attacking other players early on, since if it backfires and hits you instead you're still not out of the game (so long as you can draw back in).

You mean, I'm not out of the game?

This would also means you can "Ice Cap" out another player (by blocking their fishing holes), but if one of those Ice Caps is removed later in the game, that player can draw back in. (And since players share fishing holes, you might want to remove an Ice Cap if it's in your way too. Alliances anyone?)

We've playested this thoroughly and it's made things more fun and more interesting! Players get knocked out and draw back in, sometimes they make a full recovery, sometimes they don't, but in either case they aren't as sour about getting knocked out anymore since they have the chance to draw back in and they can still influence the outcome of the game. And that's what games are all about! Players doing things and having fun. :)


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