‘Battle Penguins’ Lets You Recruit an Adorable Army of Penguins

A with ‘Battle Penguins’ from Ultra PRO. Image by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Our sons, A and W, love penguins. It started with a little penguin named Penny featured in The Magic Tree House books and pretty much escalated from there. So when my husband and I saw a copy of Battle Penguins from Ultra PRO at our local gaming store, we knew it needed to come home with us.

What Is Battle Penguins?

Battle Penguins is a card game where you recruit armies of penguins to battle it out that has a similar feel to Smash Up. The game is for 2 to 6 players ages 8 to Adult and only takes 15 minutes to play.

Battle Penguins Components

The game components. Image by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Battle Penguins contains the following:

  • 54 Penguin Cards
  • 9 Battleground Cards
  • 4 Attribute Cards
  • 7 Present Cards
  • 6 Reference Cards
  • 50 1 Fish Counters
  • 15 5 Fish Counters
  • Rulebook

How to Play Battle Penguins

Battle Penguins takes about a round to get a feel for, but was easy enough for our eight-year-old A to pick up on.

The Goal

The goal of Battle Penguins is to recruit the strongest Penguin Squad and claim the most fish from a series of battleground fights.


Setup for the game. Image by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

We found setup takes about the first round to get a feel for, but once you play that first round you have a solid feel for the game. First, you shuffle the four card types and place them face down (Battleground, Attribute, Present, and Penguin). Each player receives a Reference Card that does not need shuffling. With the cards shuffled, place 2 Battleground Cards face up on the table and a center one face down. Then each face up Battleground Card gets an Attribute Card placed face up beside it. A face down Attribute Card then goes beside the face down Battleground Card. Next, each player receives 7 Penguin Cards.

How to Play

The game is made up of three rounds of play. Each round consists of a Draft Phase, a Play Phase, and a Competition Phase.

Draft Phase

A selection of Penguin Cards from the game. Image by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Each player selects 1 Penguin Card from their hand and places it face down in front of them. They then pass the remaining Penguin Cards to the player on their left. This process is repeated until all the Penguins are claimed.

Play Phase

The face down Battleground and Attribute Cards are flipped over. Players now arrange their Penguins into three squads by putting them into face down piles beside the battleground they will fight at. Each squad must have at least one Penguin.

Competition Phase

The first Penguin Squad revealed. Image by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Each Battleground has an Attribute that squads want to have the highest score on. Players now reveal their Penguin Squads for the first battleground. If any Penguins have a Present, Rogue, Traveler, or Intimidator icon, then deal with those abilities. If more than one Squad has Penguins with abilities, the Squad with the Penguin whose name comes first alphabetically goes first. After the first player deals with their Penguin Squad, proceed clockwise until all the Penguins with abilities have been addressed. Determine which three players have the highest number of Attribute points for that Battleground and award fish accordingly. Repeat these steps for the next two Battlegrounds. Shuffle the Penguin, Attribute, and Present Cards, but discard the Battleground Cards.

Rounds 2 & 3

Repeat the Draft, Play, and Competition Phases for two more rounds of play.

Game End

When three rounds of gameplay are over, the player with the highest number of fish wins.

Why You Should Play Battle Penguins

Battle Penguins is a quick, fun game that’s very family friendly. A loved all of the adorable penguin artwork and so did I. It has some great logic skill building and would probably make a good bridge to preparing kids to play Smash Up. It’s very replayable and with an MSRP of only $10.00, it’s very reasonably priced. I could easily see buying it as a gift for other gamers or kids. It’s worth noting there is a companion game, Battle Kittens, which can be played alone or combined with Battle Penguins. If they make any more games with adorable animals, I’m pretty sure we’ll have to buy it.

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