Talk:Penguin Soccer

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Thank you for playtesting Penguin Soccer! Leave your feedback here and please. . . be gentle!

Thanks, nycavri

Sounds pretty cool.. I'll see If I can't get my kids to help me playtest this one for ya. In return, If you'd take a look at High Ground and tell me what you think of it, I'd sure appreciate it.. Also, A question about the following rule: Standing: Instead of sliding, a penguin that is oriented in one of the 8 directions may stand up. If a penguin starts a slide, can it end the slide early and stand up? (I'm not sure why you would ever want to do this, but...*Shrug*)--GameBrain42 21:11, 20 Apr 2007 (GMT)

Penguins can only stand up *instead* of sliding: they can only do *one* of slide, stand, kick each turn. I guess I need to make this more explicit - thanks. (PS. I have printed out High Ground, and will check it out over the weekend.) Thanks for taking a look. nycavri
I played this game last night with my daughter, and it was pretty darn cool. I'll so some more playtesting with more players and let you know how that turns out... Awesome! (I'm pretty good at this game by the way.. LOL.) GameBrain42 20:33, 21 Apr 2007 (GMT)

Turn Timing & Distance Control?[edit source]

Can a penguin (Papa or Baby) begin to turn in the middle of a slide, or must they do it at the start of the slide? For example, can a Baby slide one square in the direction it's pointing, and THEN begin rotating as it slides to the second square, finishing in the third square but only having rotated 90 degrees? OR must the rotation begin at the start (i.e. a Baby would rotate 135 degrees across its three square movement; a Papa, 90 degrees... EVERY time they want to turn)?

Also, can a penguin shorten up a slide (but not stand up, as asked above)? Basically, MUST a penguin use its full movement? For that matter, MUST a penguin kick the full distance?

I ask these because I tried some solo play during a recent con, and things seemed a bit (too) out of control (for example, a Baby having to "spiral in" to reach a square to get the ball). Thanks! --David Artman 10:10, 24 Apr 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for the feedback, David. A penguin may begin it's rotation on the second or third square of the slide. As written, I had initially ruled that the full slide or kick must be made. However, I am open to exploring options. Perhaps a compromise would be that a penguin can make a move that would take it towards another, and stop in the square before "fouling". I guess we need to playtest these variations, but the lack of control is somewhat intentional - they are supposed to be sliding around on the ice! --Nycavri 11:05, 24 Apr 2007 (EDT)
Or maybe there's only a "foul" (i.e. the move is illegal) if the sliding penguin would enter the opponent square head-on. In other words, if the slider is rotating through a turn--and thus, hits the opponent with a "hip"--it merely comes to a stop in the square before the opponent's square (like if it reaches the "wall" in mid-slide). Basically, that would be like a check, but a head-on hit would be like a boarding or charge (and, thus, not permitted).
OR, maybe you could implement foul as a rule: a penguin can "tackle" an opponent which doesn't have the ball, thereby moving that opponent over one square; but it is "sent off" for a number of turns, after which it can return to the field via the Home square. Of course, this is drifting the game closer to hockey than soccer, but it IS on ice, after all!
Maybe rather than being sent to the "penalty box," it gets a Yellow Card and the tackled opponent gets a free kick from its square; and if it does it again, it's removed from play for the rest of the game (i.e. Red Card). --David Artman 11:57, 24 Apr 2007 (EDT)
Interesting ideas, David, but I don't think that's the game I had in mind. I was looking for something more abstract (simple?) than the above. I guess another variant to try could be removing the "foul" rule, and allowing penguins to shove each other all over/off the board. I'll have some opponents by the weekend and see what people prefer.
Guess we should start working on Penguin Hockey, Penguin Football, Penguin Golf. I'm not even kidding about that last one..... --Nycavri 13:21, 24 Apr 2007 (EDT)

I found during play (Against my oldest son) that the game felt more "strategic", if you will, by using the following restrictions:

  • 1. If a penguin is going to spin, it must do so from the beginning of its slide. (Move a space in the direction the penguin is facing, then turn 45 degrees, Move, turn, etc.)
  • 2. A penguin 'must' move its entire distance when sliding, unless a penguin would end up moving into another's square; then the slide simply stops without the penguin standing up.
  • 3. A Penguin with the ball 'must' kick it to its full range with the exception of kicking it into a "wall" or another penguin.
I think that all the fouls rules would make this game unnecessarily complicated and I really liked this game in part because of its simplicity. I have found that (just like in any team sport) Team work is incredibly important in this game, and can make the game feel more controlled.
Hmmmm.. Penguin Football... Interesting.*Getting out pyramids*--GameBrain42 14:44, 24 Apr 2007 (EDT)

"2" is the way I am leaning on this rule. "3" is as the rules intended. I can go either way with "1", but my instinct is to allow a little control here.
As I said, I'll playtest a couple of different ways and make an "official ruling". This is not to say that variants and house rules won't make it onto the Wiki, but I don't want to confuse the issue too much before a concrete version of the rules is decided. --Nycavri 15:16, 24 Apr 2007 (EDT)

"After further review...", I feel 1 works as written, I would like 2 to disallow any move toward a penguin that cannot be completed (encourages standing), and 3 was right to start with. Do I need to make any of this more explicit in the rules? --Nycavri 11:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

We felt that the language "can slide/kick X squares" meant that sliding and kicking distances were not optional, and that sliding/kicking must be done at the full allowable distance. If this is not your intention, the phrase "can slide/kick up to X squares" accomplish such. We interpreted the rules to state that you could not make a slide that would cause you to tackle a non-ball-carrying penguin. Also, I felt I was able to explain spinning better as: "Slide the penguin the proper number of squares in a direction. Then, once you are in your destination square, your penguin may make one 45 degree turn for each square the penguin slid. For example, a baby slides three squares, then makes up to 3 turns in the destination square, meaning it can point in any direction except the one it just traveled from. If the board edge prevents the penguin from moving its full distance, it stands up instead of making turns." This explanation greatly clarified how spinning worked, by separating it from the moving process while achieving the same result. - Cerulean 10:44, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

All of your assumptions of my intent are correct. Also, I will take your explanation into account when I rewrite the rules for clarity. Thanks! --Nycavri 10:48, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Tackling[edit source]

I had a situation where a tackle would, via chain reaction, push a penguin into an opposing Home. How should this be dealt with? Also, do penguins affected by chain reactions (ones other than the recent ball-carrier) get reoriented by being shoved aside, or do they keep their original orientation? - Cerulean 10:44, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

A tackle that would result in a penguin shoved into an opponent's home is not allowed. Tackled penguin chains all end up facing the same direction, that of the tackle. --Nycavri 11:03, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Entering Penguins[edit source]

I need clarification on how to enter penguins from off the board. Do I

  1. use a whole turn to place an upright penguin in the home square
  2. place a penguin in the home square, then make a free slide
  3. start by sliding from off the board into the Home square, counting home as the first square slid through (where a Mama would have to stop). This would take a whole turn.

I preferred interpretation 2, but the rules were too vague to be sure which interpretation was correct. - Cerulean 10:44, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Number 3 is what is intended. All penguin are considered standing off of the board in one of the 3 "potential" squares adjacent to the home square. Their entering move then follows normal rules. --Nycavri 11:03, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Kicking[edit source]

I am seriously considering removing the rule that a penguin with the ball "must kick it on his team's next turn." I don't recall why I put it in to start with, and in playing, my wife and I kept forgetting anyway. We kept wanting to have other penguins "make a run" for the penguin with the ball to pass to on a later turn. Thoughts?

In fact, I'm going to make the change. Feel free to disagree here..... --Nycavri 15:41, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Hmmm.. I don't think I disagree with you on that.. The only real difference (that I can think of) will be when you must move your team-mate penguins to intercept the ball. The current way forces you to pre-plan, but the new way should allow for more spontaneous tactics.. I'll test it out too and see what we think... GameBrain42 17:07, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
David Artman 11:40, 26 April 2007 (EDT) - I think being able to hold the ball is good. Otherwise, there's actually a disincentive to take possession until you've got everyone ready for passing. I found, for instance, that several "kick, run up to ball, kick" series would get started, to try to keep possession and stay out of range of a tackle. This felt a lot like turtling, to me: slows play. Plus, keep in mind that the opponent is going to have more opportunity to tackle, if you hold, so there's a built-in disincentive to hold the ball indefinitely. BUT... what about dribbling? Is that, basically, modeled by "kick, run up to take, kick" series? If so, fine, but it would be kind of neat if a penguin could dribble 1 square per turn with the ball. Hmmm... maybe. Needs testing.
I think the "dribbling" rule is one for Penguin Hockey! I am actively trying to keep the Soccer game very simple and abstract. Holding the ball actually simplifies the game, entirely removing a rule. Works for me..... --Nycavri 11:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

I interpreted kicking distances to be at their maximum, without the option to kick any less. - Cerulean 10:48, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Correct again. --Nycavri 10:53, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

# of Players[edit source]

Okay, I think that 4 players for this game may be a little too much. I've found that a "normal" 2 player game can go from 10-30 minutes. With Four players on the field though, the time is basically doubled (If not more). 3 players seems to work okay though. I was going to try out the following variation to see how it would work.

  • 2 players only
  • Each player has four penguins (1 baby, two papas and one Mama).

What do you guys think? GameBrain42 14:23, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

I haven't tried an actual 4-player game yet, so can't really comment. I must say though, that the 2-player game my wife and I played this week ran to an hour! How does the 3-player version work on a chessboad? Doesn't one player have the advantage of no one opposing them? Could be a useful means of handicapping, I suppose.
Let me know how the variation plays, although it will only be a variation - it can't be played with only one Treehouse set.
As to the goal issue during the 3 player game we played. We made it so that any team of penguins could score in any goal that was not their own home square. That meant that cassie(my daughter) could score in my square, my son's square or the empty square. I was wondering if this might throw the game off a bit, but since the penguins kind of all end up in the middle at the beginning anyway, it didn't seem to effect anything.GameBrain42 15:54, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
I'll keep this in mind as a 3-player variant. Sets up the very real possibility of poaching an opponent's win, if two players can score in the same square. That might make the 3-player interesting, however. --Nycavri 16:16, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Or you could just use chessboard wedges. --ManyHills 13:37, 5 June 2007 (EDT)

Time[edit source]

Is the "20 minute" game duration in the info box reasonable? It was something of a guesstimate. --Nycavri 14:53, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

I think that the 20 minute estimate is okay. Maybe you could make the box read "10-30minutes (dep on # of players)" Or something like that.. GameBrain42 15:54, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Theme[edit source]

How have you found the "theme" (eg. playing with your kids)? Playing with my wife, it was very abstract. Not that this is necessarily a knock on the game, and indeed it might justify the longer game length at 4-player. --Nycavri 14:53, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

I love the theme! It actually made things easier to explain when I was teaching it to my 11 year old daughter! Also, when I told the kids that there may be a whole Penguin Series, they were pretty psyched about it. Especially the golf one... Weird... GameBrain42 16:21, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Thanks![edit source]

If I haven't said it explicitly yet, I appreciate you trying out Penguin Soccer, making suggestions and helping me shape my vision for it.

Thanks for the formatting tweak on the Penguin Series page, Jonathan - I like it!

No sweat! GameBrain42 16:08, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

David, when does the Wiki need to be concrete for Pocket Pyramids?

David Artman 11:35, 30 April 2007 (EDT) - I am still basically waiting for some conversation about sorting into subsections in the book. I will shake the tree again (reply to my last post to the list) and after that, I'll begin to fling games into format. I already have a template for basic book and page layout, so a fairly large chunk of the "work" is done. The editing will be the bigger stage, and art.
Speaking of art, any suggestions for how to produce example pictures for these rules? Do you have someone lined up to create a unified look for the book? What needs an example here? Obviously spinning, but what else? --Nycavri 12:09, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
David Artman 12:54, 30 April 2007 (EDT) - Yeah, me. I will be making several "standard" pyramid and board icons/symbols, which I can readily color and rearrange to make any arbitrary board and piece layout. As for what PS needs, yeah, spinning, but not much else. I won't be including art for art's sake: ONLY if it's very confusing to imagine with word descriptions. The book just doesn't have room (by current constraints) for every game to get art. For PS, the board layout is clear enough, and kicking (and walls) are intuitive. It's only, really, the "spin while continuing in original direction" that's likely to confuse folks (seems to me).
Question: What are you guys talking about? Pocket Pyramids? GameBrain42 14:12, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
Here is Nycavri's response to my ill-informed question: Pocket Pyramids. Thanks Nycavri!

Kudos on the design. The theme meshes well with the rules, and our learning game took us almost 30 minutes. Gameplay felt like it easily got into "tackle, stand up, kick, slide, slide and get ball, tackle" cycles, but the endgame was exciting! Good luck with further development! - Cerulean 10:44, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

David Artman - RE: Infinite Game[edit source]

OK, not "infinite," but I have to mention that, at Dragon*Con, we tried a four-player game and, frankly, everyone quit after about forty minutes or so. There was just too much cycling of "threaten, stand, wait, tackle-tackle-tackle-tackle... stand, wait, wait". At one point, the ball didn't leave its square for something like sixteen moves, as a chain of standing and tackling worked itself out... only to be reversed before it ALL worked out and, thereby, ran through the inverse of the cycle again... repeat.

I am not sure why this happened nor am I sure how to fix it. But the game just stagnated because it was impossible to (a) get the ball cleanly and then (b) actually deliver it to another one of your pieces; i.e. promote your position. I even tried "out of the box" tactics like kicking to an opponent to setup a tackle... but that just shifts the "tackle chain" one (or two) player(s) back; it never broke me clear to make a pass to another piece--more often, my Baby and Papa were "permanently" committed to tackle chains; and you know how useless a Mama is on offense (she can't self-pass in two moves, like a Baby or Papa).

Do you intend for four-player games to actually be 2-on-2? That might have broken us out of deadlock, as one player could work on getting open while the other sets up tackle chains. But 1-on-1-on-1-on-1 is unplayable, as far as I can tell from the one game we played and never finished. Sorry to be the bearer to bad tidings.

Our players did have an idea to solve the lock, though: allow a penguin who has the ball to move with the ball (i.e. actually "dribble") half it's full movement, rounded up: so, a Mama or Papa can dribble one square at a time; a Baby can dribble two. This change would allow a ball holder to move out of a tackle-threat chain, rather than stand there like a deer in headlights while its other teammates line up in the chain, to steal back the ball once the pile-on begins. (Funny anecdote: one guy thought the game should be called "Penguin Rugby" becasue of this tendency for a "scrum" to form around the ball and then WHAM! cascade into, like, six or seven tackles in a row, with penguins eventually laying in a radial pattern away from the ball like a bomb went off.)

I'll play it some more before judging, so maybe I'll see where we went wrong or where the game could be tuned to avoid this infinite loop tendency. --David Artman 15:55, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

  • No, you are right as to the 4-player being stagnant when played by people who know what they are doing. The problem was discovered too late to correct for the Contest. My playtesting of the 4-player was with kids (who, by the way, thouroughly enjoyed it!). After the Contest I expect to roll back the 4-player to a variant intended as a kids game, with a warning against "serious" play. The 2-player will stand alone as the "pure" game, and I hope plays well enough to still give a decent showing in the Contest. Thanks for the feedback, David.

Any thoughts on my "Designers' Ballot" comments on the Talk:Ice Game Design Competition page? --Nycavri 10:04, 7 September 2007 (EDT)

French translation[edit source]

Hi Nycavri, translation in French is in progress: Penguin Soccer (French). --Didier69 10:45, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Merci beaucoup, Didier - je suis très flatté! [Je m'excuse - mon Français n'est pas fort . . . thank you for your corrections!]
Did you know that the opening phrase ("It is a truth universally acknowledged . . .") is the opening line of Jane Austin's Pride and Pedjudice? Is the quote also well known "en Francais"?
Let me know if you have questions or need clarifications. --Nycavri 15:22, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
I didn't know the opening phrase come from a book. I will need to find the french translation :). --Didier69 15:37, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
Once the page is unlocked, be sure to put a comment and link to the French rules on your Article page. Other foreign-language games do so (rather than, say, listing the translation as a separate game). Note, also, that there's now a Category:French so you can tag French translations and they appear on that page (linked from What Can I Play?#Foreign Language). Finally, I wouldn't adjust the Template:Count_of_games or Template_talk:Count_of_games, as that might be misleading or artificially inflating--it's still just one game, even if it's now in two languages. Thanks! --David Artman 14:57, 13 September 2007 (EDT)