So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Pocket Fishermen – Hey! That’s My Fish

My version - Mayfair standard edition (Photo by Neven Rihtar)
Okay, this game won’t actually fit in your pocket.  My version probably could if you repackaged it and, well, had somewhat larger pockets.  (The box was sized to be visible on the shelf, which makes it larger than really needed.)  That’s not the point though.  The fact is that this is one of those games that every family should own.  I will review why I believe in this game, the one big downfall it has, and the three different versions (as of today’s announcement).

Hey! That’s My Fish (H!TMF) is a very simple game to learn.  In reality, it is an abstract game, with perfect information.  As such, it would provide a great stepping stone for games such as chess.  Chess has three primary strategic elements: time (who has the initiative), space (including freedom to move) and material (who has the most valuable set of pieces on the board).  H!TMF has two of those three elements, time and space.  Since everyone has the same number of pieces that all behave the same way, material is not an issue.  The theme really isn’t present, but does make for a cute presentation.

Photo by Chris Norwood
How does it play?  Sixty hexagonal tiles are laid out in rows, making the “board”. Each player takes a turn initially placing his or her penguins on tiles.  After penguins are placed, players take turns moving their penguins in one of the six directions through the sides.  After a penguin has moved, the owning player collects the penguin’s start tile from the board, leaving a hole.  Penguins can move as far as they want until they either run into another penguin or a hole, at which point they stop.  The game is over when no one has a legal move left.  Each tile has one to three fish on it, and each player counts the fish on the tiles they collected.  The player with the most fish wins.

H!TMF  is simple enough for your average 5 year-old to play.  However, it's a GREAT game for any age! Your little one will understand what they are doing, but the strategy is a bit deeper.  When I really love it is when the kids leave the table and the gloves can come off.  About halfway through the first adult game, most people have The Great Light come on, and they realize this is pretty vicious as everyone tries to cut their opponents off and strand them in a corner.  A vicious little abstract that plays up to four people in 20 minutes – I’m all over that!

It is this simple game play and cute figures that leads to the one real issue H!TMF  has.  My 13 year-old sees this and thinks of it as just a “kid’s game”.  Most people do not see it that way, but I can see how a young adult might want to separate themselves from it.  So, while it is a great family game, and I can’t say that enough, not everyone in the family will rave over it.  Though that’s probably true for any game.

The game publishing house Fantasy Flight Games just announced that they have obtained the rights to H!TMF, and will publish their version later this year.  It has previously been published by Mayfair games in two different versions: the standard version and a “deluxe” version with cute plastic figurines.  All of the versions play the same way, but the artwork is a little different.  Fantasy Flight puts a lot of effort into game components, so this will undoubtedly be a great edition to own.

H!TMF Deluxe (Promotional image from Mayfair Games)

2011 Version from Fantasy Flight (Promotional image by Fantasy Flight)
Fantasy Flight also announced that H!TMF apps will be available for both iPhones and Android phones.  The Android app will be $4.99, and it would be natural to guess the iPhone app will be priced similarly.  That’s an app I probably will skip, primarily because I am cheap, and chess and Words for Friends is the limit of my mobile gaming.

The board version though, is a must own for me.  Here are the vital statistics:

Hey! That’s My Fish
                Ages:                     8 and up (perhaps as low as 5)
                Time:                     20 minutes
                Players:                 2-4  

 It’s your Move!

1 comment:

  1. I did, but as I said, chess and Words with Friends is about my limit!