Our review of Penguinramids, winner of the 2018/2019 Unpublished Game. We tried it during the Lucca Comics and Games and we are ready to talk to you about it and intrigue you with this original challenge between Chief Penguins
Have you ever thought that Penguins could become the protagonists of a game set in ancient Egypt? Well, Guido Albini not only thought about it, but he also put it into practice. Penguinramids are the result of this seemingly unlikely yet truly effective combination. He is the winner of the 2018/2019 edition of the Unpublished Game, the challenge that rewards the most original and relevant Card Game on the theme at the Lucchese event.
We had the pleasure of meeting Guido Albini on the occasion of the fair, and to try his Penguinramids with him. Not only did we enjoy the game tremendously, it has already given us several hours of thrilling gameplay. Ready to find out with us in this new review?
Game Structure | Penguinramids Review
Goal of the game and victory
The main cards in the game are, of course, the Egyptian Penguins. Each of them has a number, which indicates the weight of the Penguin, a color and one or two raised arms (some even none), with bracelets around it. The aim of the game is to build a pyramid of 10 Penguins, balancing the weight of each of them with the strength of the underlying Penguins (represented by the sum of the bracelets of the two Penguins that must bear their weight).
The game always takes place in 10 rounds, one for each Penguin in the pyramid. The player who, at the end of the game, has collected more points than the opponents wins. The points are obtained by adding the highest weight among those of the Penguins of each level of the pyramid, with those obtained by winning special objectives. Objectives are cards common to all players that are drawn randomly at the start of the game.
The basic mechanic: the Auction
The game is based on the purchase of the Penguins at auction. Each round, a number of Penguins equal to the number of players in the game is auctioned (from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 4). Each player buys a Penguin at auction, choosing from those present the one that is most useful to him to accumulate points. All players are obliged to buy a Penguin every turn and, once taken, it must be placed on his Pyramid. If the Penguins below cannot support its weight, it is placed turned on its back, and counts as a Penguin of strength and weight 1.
The players bid for the auction in secret, using cards numbered 1 to 5. When the bets are revealed, the player who has bid the lowest number wins the first choice right over the Penguins. The used card is discarded and the round continues clockwise. In the event of a tie, the Chief Penguin card intervenes, identifying the player with the right to choose.
The auction cards, in addition to representing the order of choice, also have abilities, which can be activated when the card is revealed:
- You get the Chief Penguin token and therefore the right to choose in case of a tie.
- Rotate a Penguin already in your pyramid.
- Exchange a Penguin at auction for one from the Pile.
- Return all Auction Cards in hand.
- Obtain a bracelet, which can be used at any time to enhance a Penguin's strength
Game Impressions | Penguinramids Review
The most interesting feature of Penguinramids is that it has a simple and easy to memorize set of rules. Once you understand the mechanics of the auction and learn the skills of the cards, the game runs smoothly and offers no hitches whatsoever. The matches are quick but engaging, and stimulate continuous reflection. The competitiveness is high, and the game tempts the players to annoy each other, even penalizing their own strategy to heavily disadvantage that of the opponents.
The game is distributed in a very portable format, at a reduced price but with excellent quality both in the illustrations and in the materials. It is perfect for introducing and playing with novice players, as it requires little time in explanations and actual gameplay. Furthermore, the mechanics are solid and never give rise to doubts and perplexities. The only flaw that we feel we can reveal is that such a linear structure risks being repetitive in the long run. The possible actions are in fact limited and there is a risk, playing with a group that is always the same, that one will fall into the cyclical nature of the actions.
In any case, it is a game that we feel we can recommend because it is stimulating and fast. The low price and high portability make it perfect to play in ever-changing companies, as party entertainment or as a family challenge on Sunday mornings.
- Type: Card game
- Author: Guido Albini
- Publisher: Lucca Crea and daVinci Editrice
- Distributed in Spain by: dV Games
- Duration: 3 minutes
- Players: by 2 to 4
- Age: 8-99
- Price in Spain: €10
Points in favor
- Highly Portable
- It risks becoming repetitive