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Pengy Pals

In South Pole Games' Pengy Pals, the 2-4 players each represent a penguin superhero with their own unique powers, and they're working together in this cooperative game to combat one of three sets of super-villains. Of course, being a fully cooperative game, you can also play solo. Players control only the heroes; the villain is controlled by the game. Jack Ho's cartoon art portrays all the penguins as cute characters but don't let that fool you into thinking this is a light children's game. It's not. Adam Gaus and Megan Willison have designed a challenging cooperative game that will keep players on the edge of their seats.

The penguin superheroes are Penny, Hikori, Vick and Pengy, each of whom has their own unique action card deck and pair of custom six-sided dice. The dice tho' are pooled: they are all rolled at the start of a round and players can take and use any penguin's die to apply its specific effect in relation to their penguin or to take that die's general effect. However, whichever die is activated triggers a corresponding reaction from the villain that you're playing against... For example, the damage symbol on the dice can be used by either Pengy or Hikori to dish out 4 damage to the villain, but the villain you are attacking will, in reaction, cause damage to one or more of the penguins. Action cards don't trigger reactions in this way. When taking a dice action, players place out one of their five power tokens and it's only when all five of the tokens are in place that your penguin is able to call on their super power. This contributes to each game's arc.

Your super-villain foes are Walter the Walrus, Omega the Killer Whale or the Albatross Alliance. Like the penguin heroes, the villains all have different abilities and your play against each one involves different win conditions. They all have reactions triggered by the heroes' action dice and they each have their own decks of cards. All three foes feel distinctive and they are pretty tough to beat. For example, Walter starts off with 55 hit points as compared to the 11-16 hit points of each of the penguins; if Pengy hits him with an ability die it does him 4 damage but as a reaction he hits all four penguins for 2 damage each, and if a penguin uses an ability die to take a heal action, Walter's reaction will be to heal 3 hit points... To have any chance of success, players need to work together as Pals so that their various powers support each other in combo.

Your penguins' unique individual card decks are crucial to success or failure but cards, whether single use or playable for their ongoing effects, can only be played if you can pay their cost in fish - the currency of the game. Fish are a pooled resource, shared and accessed by all the players, but there's also a feeding requirement each round so you'll want to keep sufficient fish in reserve for that or else your penguin heroes have to take damage for hunger. Cards can always be discarded in exchange for fish, tho' it can be painful to find you have to do this as it means, in effect, sacrificing cards that would otherwise be playable for much greater effect.

If a penguin's health is reduced to zero, they are exhausted and out of the game. That's not necessarily Game Over for the team but unless exhaustion hits mere moments from meeting the collective win condition, the elimination of a penguin hero can be difficult for the rest of the team to recover from.

Pengy Pals is currently partway through its Kickstarter run. Check it out now at

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