Match of the Penguins

Match of the Penguins (no, not MARCH, MATCH, get it, MATCH) is a lot more fun than it sounds like. And, for kids who’ve seen or heard of the movie “March of the Penguins,” the game already sounds like fun.

You get: one deck of penguin cards (64) and three penguin pawns (two black, one white). In the penguin deck are, as you would correctly assume, penguins. On careful deck-scrutiny, you will notice that there are penguins that are exactly alike and penguins that have the same color umbrella or sunglasses or shirt or umbrella (yes, these are the Umbrella-Toting, Lei-Wearing penguins of central Penguinia). And some have the same color umbrella AND sunglasses AND even a lei, too. And don’t forget the fish pails, either. Because, though all penguins carry fish pails, only a very very few have two fish in their pail.

And as the cards are laid out, one at a time, if you happen to be the first person to see a penguin with a double-fished pail, you knock on the table and win all the laid-out cards. And if you’re the first player to notice that there are two penguins that are exactly the same, you don’t knock, you grab the white pawn, and get all the laid-out, face-up cards. And if noone else has noticed anything yet and you are the first to observe that there are two penguins with several matching items, you, of course, grab a black penguin pawn. And since there are two, the next person to notice the black penguin pawn grab as another black penguin pawn to also grab.

And, of course, if you’re the first to notice two penguins with the same attribute, and the first to name that attribute out loud (saying something similar to, for example, “Umbrella!”), you’d get all the face-up laid-out cards, unless someone notices that there are a couple penguins with several matching attributes and makes a black penguin pawn grab, which would win, of course, unless someone else happens to notice in those same cards two identical penguins and has grabbed the white pawn, which would then clearly win, unless the round is brought to its conclusion by the knock of the double-fished pail.

So, you see, it’s not just a matching game. It’s a complex matching game, where you have to look not only for matching attributes, but also weigh their value according to different criteria.

When games are advertised as being fun for kids ages 6 and up, “up” usually means 7. Our kids’ games tasters were 8-12, and this was the first game they wanted to play, and remained one of their very favorite, most Major Fun ones.

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