Reach And Teach says:
Kids sometimes come into our shop with their hands holding and eyes glued to their tablets / video games. Usually, within a few moments, they abandon their gadgets and start playing with many of the games and puzzles in the store. Parents are amazed, pleased, and surprised. One of the games that attracts the most kids, AND holds their attention the longest, is Penguins on Ice. While at first glance it may appear simple, once you get started the task isn't quite as easy as it might have looked. Surprisingly and wonderfully, kids that start one of the challenges keep going until they get it done. Patience, persistence, being in the moment, all things that can be quite unusual to see in today's 30-second attention-span kids.
We love this single-player game, especially when we see a parent and child working on it together (not so single-player when you have someone you love standing by your side).
And, who doesn't love penguins?
About the Game:
Five penguins are on a slippery slope! Ice floes are creaking and gliding and the penguins are slipping and sliding in all directions. Can you pack the ice so that every puzzle tile can fit on the game board? Can you also make sure that all the penguins are in the right spot?
Penguins on Ice is a unique game of logic with 5 ‘pentomino' playing pieces that must be shape-shifted. This challenging game presents players with a double challenge:=figure out the right position of every piece, and also its correct shape!
The Designer Says:
What's so interesting about pentominoes?
It always interests me to look into things that are fascinating for other people, although I don’t necessarily share the same fascination. Pentominoes are such a thing. Already for more than 10 years Odette De Meulenmeester, a math teacher in a Belgian school works around pentominoes in her class room. In case you don’t know, a pentomino is a shape that is formed by putting 5 equal squares together edge to edge.
Like in most of my other puzzles, I always try to keep the number of puzzle pieces to a minimum. So in order to have also enough possibilities with a small set of pieces, I needed something special. The solution was to make each puzzle piece in such a way that it can be shape-shifted. This way each puzzle piece can have 3 or 4 possible shapes, but of course you don’t know which shape you need for the solution. Although you only have 5 puzzle pieces in Penguins on Ice, you can create 13 different pentomino shapes with them (of 18 one-sided pentomino shapes that exist). Some shapes can be formed by different puzzle pieces.
Initially, Odette helped me finding the right combination of pentomino -shapes that had enough possible combinations. After that, Saskia wrote a computer program to look for challenges with unique solutions. So who said again that my games are more for boys/men?
After I found a technical solution, I started looking for a theme. I always want the theme to form a coherent story with the game concept and that it is not used to make the puzzle just “look” interesting. But what in real life is based on squares and can transform? Ice floating on the sea is sliding and gliding all the time. And so do the penguins who live on it. And by dividing these ice floes into squares, they look like ice cubes, which is a perfect base for pentominoes.
Penguins on the rocks
The object of the game is to pack the ice so that every puzzle tile can fit on the game board AND to make sure that all the penguins are in the right spot. At STARTER level you are given the form and the position of one or more puzzle pieces to show you how the game works. The more difficult challenges only show the position of the penguins. When the challenge shows fewer then 5 penguins, you can choose where to put the other ones. The game looks complex at first sight, but once you get to know the different possibilities, it’s not that difficult.