Monday, April 22, 2013

Hey, That's My Fish!

Hey, That's My Fish! did not have a good start at my household. It was originally given to my son by an over-enthusiastically game-obsessed Easter Bunny…last year (April 9th 2012). Not this year.

The first words out of my son's mouth were "Why would the Easter Bunny give me THIS?". And he said it about halfway through the setup process.

Setup is LONG! Setup time is serious business, even after a few plays. There are many, many hexes and they must be carefully laid in an alternating pattern of 7 and 8 hexes until they are all used up. You can get a little bit of the feel for setting it up by reading the Playmobil review found here. Those poor legionaries!

The table state of the game is further complicated by indelicate treatment of the hexes from children (who the game is kinda designed for, I think) and participating adults with fat, twitchy fingers. Knock a hex out of alignment and you are bound to find yourself facing an entire ROW or COLUMN or BOTH which must now be corrected before the game can continue.

Imagine Carcassonne, played with hex tiles instead of square, played BACKWARDS. Imagine removing pieces out of the middle trying not to move anything else.

The hexes are getting knocked all around! Especially at such an artsy angle. Straighten that camera!

So, almost exactly one year later, my son looks at the Wall o' Games trying to decide what he wants me to play. And he chooses of all things Hey, That's My Fish!

Second impressions are better. Hexes are still annoying, but the game play itself is pretty fun. Each team of penguins must work to both collect fish hexes, and block opposing penguins from being able to move freely. So there is both constant points scoring and "take-that" player interaction to keep the game interesting.

The game components are really high quality. This is a $10 game, in a super tiny box, and Fantasy Fight Games really worked hard to get the most out of it. The hexes are really strong and resist bending from little hands. And the comical penguin figures each have their own character…enough to get stories started and favorites developed.

This game has been around for a very long time, and put out by a variety of publishers. So you can find it online at a few places. The only version I've played is the Yucata async game which is plays far worse that the physical copy.

Hey! That's My Fish, Yucata Edition

You would think an instantaneous setup would make this game better, but that is followed by a mind-numbing async turn-taking game that can stretch several months. Turns are supposed to be short…they consist of moving a single penguin. And unless your opponent is on top of his or her game you will probably forget what you where thinking by the time your turn moves around again.

On the table, the game only takes about 15-20 minutes which is really nice length for keeping everyone interested until the end. But after our second and third games of this, the kid favorites in my collection still seem to be Galaxy Trucker, Tsuro and Snap.