PENGUIN BRAWL: HEROES of PENTARCTICA
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It is so obvious when you think about it, whenever you need a full-on, armed to the teeth, sure-fire, guaranteed win in a battle, you would hope to find the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (tm) but failing them you would turn to the next best alternative, the mightiest of warriors known to man - the Penguin Heroes of Pentarctica.
Components: Two decks of cards, 60 cards in each deck and differentiated by their Blue backs (Penguin cards) and White backs (Action cards) and a fully illustrated colourful rules booklet with two game variations included.
As with most comedic games much of the comedy is in the names on the cards/of the characters etc. The cards in PENGUIN BRAWL are no exception to this practise - your sense of humour could influence your thoughts on this game: by this I mean it may be more of a giggle to play a card for its comic value than for its intrinsic game value.
Amongst the Blue-Backed PENGUIN cards (Red,Yellow, Blue, Grey, Purple) here you will find; Emperor Tesla, Long John Shivers, Joan of Pentarctica, Bobbin Hood, The Mighty Thaw, Penghis Khan and Pengthulhu.
Amongst the White-Backed ACTION cards (Red, Green or Blue) here you will find; Dumpster Diving, Step to the Right (sadly no Jump to the Left), Angelic Revival, Voodoo Hoodoo, Holy Shield and Portal of Doom.
PENGUIN cards are used to Attack and Defend, the numbers in the Left and Right bottom of the cards are the Attack and Defence and can be modified by Weapons and Armour cards, weapon values adding to Attack and Armour values to Defence. When fighting opponent's Penguins you compare the Attacks of both Penguins versus the Defence of Both Penguins, a 7 - 5 versus a 5 - 7 would see both Penguins defeated (their defences have reached/gone below zero 7A vs 7D and 5A vs 5D).
PENGUIN Deck: Grey cards are Armour, Purple cards are Trinkets, Red cards are Curses and Yellow cards are Weapons - Blue cards are Penguins
ACTION deck: Red cards are Curses, Blue cards are Spells and Green cards are Instants.
Trinkets are immune to combat and are played on the player (well they aren't given to the Penguins) and like Weapons and Armour they give a Bonus, though they also have a secondary Bonus if the owner has the associated Penguin in play (ie. The Tesla Cannon doubles its Attack value for Emperor Tesla).
Curses are to be played immediately they are drawn (with exceptions) unless they are in your first dealt hand in which case they become Instants but however they are played they affect every player.
Spell cards are unique (no duplicates) and are very useful if you can form card combinations when casting them.
Instants are similar to Spells but played at any time (not quite true as they can be played Before an Opponent's turn, During Combat, or as you are Defeated.
PENGUIN BRAWL is a crazy fast-play short term game that is either fun or not depending on your sense of humour. It can be played Head to Head or by up to 9 players (aka Penguins Gone Wild), you can even add 2 packs together to make a 240 card wilder game. Although it nis a "brawl" play is in Turns and not all-at-the-same-time like some other games of the brawling genre.
If you have ever played NUCLEAR WAR you know that when you are defeated and your population has all died you get one last push of the button, setting off all the missiles and warheads you possibly can. Losing your total health in PENGUIN BRAWL means that you cannot win the game, but you can continue to play as a ROGUE Penguin and try to take out the Penguins in play - the winner (if anyone is bothered about winning or losing - it's that type of game) is the player who has reduced all other player Penguins health to zero.
There are two expansion packs availabe for PENGUIN BRAWL, one is titled 'Battle of the Gods' 'the second is 'NUCLEAR WINTER
The expansions state on the back that they each contain "15 unique Penguin cards and 15 unique Action cards' however this isn't quite true as the 'Van Helking' card is amongst the 6 duplicated cards found in both the basic card game and the 'NUCLEAR WINTER' expansion. I am not sure why these doubles have been replicated as there are no additional rules in either of the expansion packs to explain. Between the two expansions there are two lots of 15 Action (30) and two lots of 15 Penguin (30) cards which adds 54 new cards to the game.
PENGUIN BRAWL epitomises the value of self-publishing.
The two expansions add 54 new cards to the game (60 including duplicates) but that's not all, they add also 54 different and amusing, cartoon-esque animation-style illustrations. They all (mostly) have names designed to get players to smile, text notes that detail every card's action (even Penguin cards have 'actions') and most (if not all) cards have the 'If X then Y' factor, things that link the card being played with cards already in play, such as 'If BOBBIN HOOD is in play steal all active trinkets'.
The cards in the expansions pertain to cards already in the main decks. If you cannot tell by their titles or illustrations then look at the number in the top left corner. Examples:
#001: Spoils of War, Loot and Pillage, Call the Horde all relate to Penghis Khan.
#011: Visiting Port, Trading Up, For the Captain relate to Long John Shivers; as do #11A Matilda, #11A Little Tucked Away and #11A Edge of the World (from Nuclear Winter) but NOT #C11 RA's Blessing (Battle of the Gods)
#012: Please Go Away, That's Crazy Talk, Hilarious Doppelganger all releate to The Mad Flipper; as do #12A More Knives, #12A Flipperdome and #12A Six Bullets (from Nuclear Winter) but NOT #C12 ODIN'S Blessing (Battle of the Gods)
The reason for this numbering system is that if, for any reason, you lose a 'Name' card or you don't like a 'Name' card then you can/should remove all the cards of the number pertaining to the lost/removed card as although they can still be played in the game they lose half of their game value. By the same thought if you wish to simply add a 'Name/Master' card to your playing deck/s then you are supposed to include all of its pertaining cards.
PENGUIN BRAWL is a good fun game for 2-8 players using just the basic box of 120 cards. Adding the expansions is surprisingly not for adding extra players, in fact both expansion boxes state the game is for 2-8 players, exactly the same as the basic game box says. With both expansions included (180 cards) the game is no less fun but it does mean you don't have to shuffle the discards as often. The more you play, despite it's simple mechanics, the more amusing it is - rather like Pontoon (aka Blackjack or 21) where you are playing the same game and doing the same thing over and over but still find it enjoyable. As the base game can happily contend with 240 cards I am expecting two more 30 card expansions in the near future (well it makes sense to me that there would be more expansions on the way). Overall it may not be the best filler game you will ever play, nor is it the most complex or comedic, but it is lively and entertaining no matter how many players (even with 2 it's not bad) plus it does have a sort of charm, a 'Je ne sais quoi' if you will.
You can play with more than 8 players or even with more than 240 cards but then you should invoke the PENGUINS GONE WILD rules which boosts the play into the chaotic brawl you probably expected when you first saw the game's title.We haven't found any ground breaking or game winning tactics, or any card that is too strong so that it imbalances the game in any way. Some cards link together, as already mentioned, but they can still be played, maybe slightly less effectively, during the game if they are what you hold - you are hanging on trying to collect sets.
If you are very lucky you may be able to obtain the clear cellophane wrapped 6-card deck of Demo cards which is made up of the following: #SB1 SANTA CLAUS, #SB2 KRAMPUS, #B01 PRICE of VICTORY, ~B01 CLASH of TITANS, #B01 FOR JUSTICE and #B01 CAPTAIN BETA
l) ELVIS the KING PENGUIN