Hey! That's My Fish!
A game by GŁnter Cornett and Alvydas Jakeliunas
Published by Phalanx Games and distributed in the US by Mayfair Games, Inc.
Players: 2-4
Time: 20 minutes
Reviewed by Susan Rozmiarek
Hey That's My Fish

Picture courtesy of Mayfair Games
Hey! That's My Fish! has an interesting background. A Lithuanian physicist named Alvydas Jakeliunas came up with the idea for the game while thinking about artificial intelligence. He got in touch with GŁnter Cornett through the internet and it was published in a very limited print run by Bambus Spieleverlag. The game was rather expensive and quickly sold out. Fortunately, Phalanx and Mayfair Games have republished the game in a very attractive and reasonably priced edition. Hopefully it will now have a chance to be appreciated by a wider audience.

What comes in the box

The original edition was called Pingvinas, which is Lithuanian for penguin. Players control penguins which jump from ice floe to ice floe catching fish. The player whose penguins are able to catch the most fish wins the game.

60 hexagonal tiles that represent ice floes, showing either one, two or three fish. The tiles are fairly thick and the art work is very nice.

16 wooden penguins - four each in four different player colors. These are very bright and cute.

Rules - there are only three pages of rules, in color and with nice examples and illustrations. The rules are very simple and clear.

Game play:
The sixty ice floe tiles are randomly placed on the table in roughly the shape of a square consisting of alternating rows of 7 and 8 tiles to form the board. It is suggested that the two and three fish tiles then be evenly distributed. After several plays, we found it interesting to leave them as they were in the random setup for more variety. It might also be fun to try varying the shape in which they are set up as well.

March of the Penguins

Players now take a number of penguins in their color depending on the number of players - 4 penguins in a two-player game, 3 for three players, and just two in a four-player game. In clockwise order starting with the youngest player, each player places one of his penguins on a vacant tile that contains one fish. This continues until all players have placed their penguins. The game is now ready to begin and continues with players taking turns in clockwise order.

On a player's turn, he chooses one of penguins and moves it to an empty tile, picking up the ice floe tile on which the penguin was originally standing and keeping it as part of his "catch." Penguins can move as far as they want in a single direction, but they cannot change direction, pass through another penguin, or jump over an empty space created by a previously removed tile. Once a player cannot move one of his penguins at the start of his turn, he is finished and removes his penguins, collecting the tiles on which they stand. The game ends when all players have finished. Each player now counts the total number of fish on the tiles he has collected and the player with the most is the winner.

This game is extremely simple and even a young child can learn the rules and enjoy playing it. Yet, there are some tricky strategies to play it well. As the game progresses, islands will quickly start forming from the gaps left by the removal of tiles. While grabbing the most valuable tiles first seems to be the obvious thing to do, it is really more important to cut off your opponents, causing their penguins to be isolated on smaller islands while you carve out larger ones for yourself. Due to the rapidly changing board, with more players the game becomes more tactical in nature. However, with just two, it becomes a more analytical affair and allows more planning. This is the way I prefer to play, but it is also great fun with more players.

Elasund board
Hey! That's My Fish mid game

One of the really nice things about this game is that it is very quick to play and so makes a very nice filler between longer games. We joke that it almost takes longer to set up than to actually play. While the decisions you make are important, the game is light enough that analysis paralysis is not a problem. The game can be rather addicting and we often play several games in a row.

Hey! That's my Fish! is a very nice, light abstract design with a cute theme that is tailored to fit very well. It has been a hit with nearly everyone I've played it with, both young and old. The components are cute and eye-catching and the play is simple and interesting. It is very accessible to casual gamers and though not as deep as some abstract games, more serious gamers seem to enjoy it as a filler as well. I highly recommend it.

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