Puffin Rush is a four-player, quick dash through hidden lands

Ah, puffins. There was a period of time, when I was young, when puffins were the loveable goofballs of the animal kingdom, before they were turfed out by meerkats, axolotls and whatever is currently in. Puffins are back, though, with Puffin Rush, where players race their puffins to be the first to find a fish and return to their home. 

Puffin Rush is a simple, speedy game of flipping tiles and being the first to make it to a fish tile and then home. However, in its 36-tile grid there’s a lot of potential for both chaos and tom-foolery. It’s that which makes Puffin Rush really stand out, and makes it great for a quick play, even with four players.

Puffin Rush

Set-up is simple: Four home cards, twenty action cards and some blank cards are shuffled together and laid out in a six-by-six grid. Each player places their puffin on their starting ice-floe card which then goes along one of the sides. Players then take turn moving to a tile and revealing it as they move there. Most of the time it’ll be an action tile, in which case players perform the action on the tile but leave it in place; othertimes it’ll be one of the player’s homes, a fish, or a plain card.

I say most of the time, it’s because the vast majority of the tiles are actions. This makes for a really dynamic, fast-paced experience that quickly peels back (or moves around) the board, and means that players can have wrapped up their entire gameplan within half-a-dozen turns if they’re lucky. That said, there’s plenty that can go wrong. Unveiling another player’s home is really rough, and diving straight off of your ice floe into a snow drift (which puffins are too small to pass through) is really unfortunate and kept happening to one of our players.

Puffin Rush

If you do find yourself in that situation, you can climb back onto your ice floe and move it a tile for your turn, which is also a really interesting alternative traversal technique — although you can’t take a fish on-board.

As you’ve probably gathered, what really brings Puffin Rush alive is the fast-paced and action-tile-filled nature of the game. Being able to move your piece onto an arctic hare, which lets you move again, to then move onto a beluga whale, which lets you teleport to another tile, to then move onto another hare and move a tile across to grab a fish… it’s a complex-sounding play, but it’s exactly the kind of stuff that makes it incredibly fun. Similarly, my personal favourite was to use the reindeer to swap the position of two cards, and have one of those be either a snow drift, a fish, or a winning player’s home.

Puffin Rush

There’s not really enough time to massively manipulate the board, but it’s perfectly sized to frustrate things and, also, the blizzard tile can really change things up if you have a good memory: The blizzard tile simply flips every single card back over. You don’t lost your fish, and you might remember roughly where your home is, but everything else is hidden.

Puffin Rush is a great, quick game for passing a few minutes with family, or some friends; the artwork is lovely and the variety of action tiles keep its short playtime exciting.

You can purchase Puffin Rush on their website.

Looking to get your friends or family into board games? Check out our list of great, accessible games, perfect for just that, here.

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