Game University: Pengoloo
Challenging the limits of short-term memory, for children and adults alike, is one of the healthiest things you can do for your brain. Just like a muscle in your body, the more you exercise your memory, the stronger and more reliable it becomes. Pengoloo by Blue Orange Games is one of my favorite memory games that's just as challenging as it is adorable.
Pengoloo has incredibly dynamic game play — you can make it as simple or as difficult as you’d like. A few variations in how the game is set up, how many dice are rolled and the implementation of stealing penguins from other players increases both the strategy and challenge of the game.
The overall concept is very basic. Each player has an iceberg numbered from one to six. The first player to earn six daddy penguins to fill their iceberg wins the game. Players earn their penguins by rolling the colored die/dice to find the matching colored egg on which each daddy penguin sits.
When setting up the game for younger players, put the eggs out first without the penguins on top. After each player has a minute or so to form a mental image of the eggs, cover them. This brief visual foundation of where the colors sit in relation to one another acts as a mental roadmap on how to navigate the game.
For more advanced players, set the penguins out with the eggs hidden underneath. By beginning the game without a mental image, one must form it as the game unfolds.
To start, one player rolls the die/dice. Use one die to keep it simple, or two to make it more advanced. The player must choose a penguin with the corresponding colored egg of the color they rolled. When playing with two dice, if the player guesses correctly twice, they earn another turn. This variation makes it possible for one player to score up to four points during one turn, which increases pressure on the other players to score big.
For younger players, once the penguin is earned, they stay safely on their iceberg. If, however, you want to increase the challenge and incorporate a little alliance forming, you can encourage stealing between icebergs. This makes it so that all penguins are always in play. The ability for players to lose points as their pieces are stolen keeps the game active. It also encourages social development and good sportsmanship as well as makes the game more interesting for mature players.
As always, we love Blue Orange Games not simply because they’re fun and educational, but also because they’re eco-friendly, durable and have play value as well as relevance for a wide range of ages. For every one tree Blue Orange uses to create their games, they plant two new ones. And, if you lose a game piece or two, don’t worry! You can easily order replacement pieces to any of their games via their website.
Here is a video demonstration of how to play Pengoloo from Blue Orange Games' Youtube channel.