Review – Flossen Hoch!

2 to 4 Players, Aged 4+ with a 15 minute playing time

A review copy of Flossen Hoch!, designed by Grein-Bottcher, was kindly provided by the team at Zoch Verlag.
Flossen Hoch - The box artwork
The theme as with many of Zoch’s fames is a little abstract / far fetched but if it aids the artwork and fun then there is little reason to complain. The theme of this memory game is that as part of a festival at the South Pole the penguins are having a race. However in order to move round the track the penguins have to memorise where the longest fish are in the polar sea and only move on the race track based on the length of the fish they pull out of the sea. Presumably the fish don’t move much as they are in fact already dead and frozen, presumably in Iceland!

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game Components, Setting Up The Game, How To Play The Game, What Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

The Game Components
1 Game board with a central area to hide your fish called the Polar Sea and an outer track or Swim Route.

4 sets of player tokens consisting of 1 penguin dressed up in a green, yellow, red or purple woolly cap and scarf plus a set of three fish in the player colour, a short medium and a long fish.
Flossen Hoch - The board and playing pieces
1 small rainbow fish, that shows ALL the colours

3 Fish bones

1 die

Setting Up The Game
Place the game board into the bottom of the box, aligning the slits in the outer track with the relevant compartments in the plastic games container.

Each player chooses one of the penguins and all fish of the associated colour.

Flossen Hoch - Trying to find the right coloured fishThe players then take turns hiding their fish in the polar sea, i.e. inserting their three fish into the available slits in the centre of the board, so that only the heads of the fish are visible.

In a two-player or three-player game take turns hiding the fish of the remaining colours.

Take turns sticking the 3 fish bones and the rainbow fish into the still empty slots in the centre of the board.

Choose a start player and pass then the die.

How To Play The Game
On your turn, you roll the die.

When the die shows a colour then starting with the player who rolled the die, each player in clockwise turn ’goes fishing’ for a matching colour fish (or the rainbow fish) by lifting it out of the board / polar sea.

If the die shows a fish the players, again in turn, have to pull one of their own coloured fish out of the board (or the rainbow fish).
Flossen Hoch - Boys playing the game
If the die shows a shark fin, you immediately shout out “Shark alert!“ and all players simultaneously try to grab the longest fish of any colour.

If you reacted appropriately to the dice throw then players, move their penguin in player order– if you pulled out a fish bone then you do not move.

When moving for the first time, you insert your penguin into the first slot of the swimming route and then measure the length of the fish you pulled out and move your penguin to the slot immediately in front of the fish. If there is already a penguin in that slot you move past it to the next available slot.

When your movement brings you to one of the ice floes in the corner you insert your penguin into the next available space of the swimming route. The distance is not measured it is simply the next available slot around the corner.
Flossen Hoch - The penguins
Once all players who are eligible have moved their penguins then starting with the star player you put your fish back in the sea, in any of the available sea slots!

The die is passed to the players left and the next person starts a new turn.

The winner is the first penguin to reach the end of the track.

What Did We Think?
For no logical reason I love games with penguins (and pirates) so I was really looking forward to this game.

However our initial impression when opening the box was one of ‘whoa that’s a lot of box for not a lot of game’- 1 set of rules, one board, one sheet of cardboard with the various fish and penguins, 1 die and the plastic insert the box!  Looking at the price point, EUR 22, I suspect many may see this as expensive
Flossen Hoch - A large box but not much in it
The artwork is nice and the card of reasonable quality. However given that the age range for this game is 4+ I did wonder if the card and the plastic box insert would hold up to prolonged and not very gentle (clumsy) play you are likely to get with young children.

Readers of my blog and or followers of Zoch will know they have a whole range of memory games and this is another one from that stable. The game play may initially seem pedestrian but as the children realise they can move the fish around the sea then we certainly found the complexity went up and the fun / noise with it.
Flossen Hoch - Artwork from the box
The children we played it with (although at the time of writing none of them were at the minimum age) all thoroughly enjoyed it, but if our experience is anything to go by it may not prove to have the longevity of some of their other games. Da ist dur Wurm drin certainly caught the attention to a far higher degree, with this being the game they wanted to return to most often. That said from a parental point of view Flossen Hoch! and or the other memory games force the brain to work to a greater degree than Da ist dur Wurm drin and so will have greater developmental benefits.

If children are struggling with the memory aspect the game could initially be made simpler by requiring that the fish are replaced in their original slots – although this requires the adult memories to be fully functioning!
Flossen Hoch - Artwork from the box
 It should go without saying that at this very young age playing games helps instil basic social norms, taking turns, accepting that we can’t win all the time, respecting others, complying with a set of rules. Add to these motor control in the sense of replacing the fish in the slots in the central game board. Sadly if the studies are to be believed many parents find playing games with children boring or believe that games need to be digital not analogue.

Who Do We Think Will Like It?
Children will likely love the penguins and delight in discovering fish bones rather than whole fish which added to the race element offers a package that most children under 10 we feel are sure to enjoy.

Parents and professionals working with children will likely find merit in this new game. Not least for the energy and engagement the game will create amongst children vying to overtake their rival penguins.

Social gamers and gamers alike are unlikely to find much to interest them in this game, unlike many of the other Zoch games that are frequently used as fillers for games evenings.
Flossen Hoch - Artwork from the box

If you liked this review then other games I have reviewed can be seen here

No comments:

Post a Comment