Don’t Rock the Boat: Toy-etic plastic action games return!

Years ago when I started in the toy and game invention biz I was told that plastic action (sometimes called “skill and actionâ€) games were dead.  Why?  Because oil prices were rising so selling giant heaps of plastic in a game box wasn’t very viable.  While this turned out not to be the case, there was some truth to it.  I mean look at what happened to Toss Across; the larger one is an original from Ideal Toy (~1969) and the other is a much newer version from Mattel (~2009).  It definitely shrunk!  (You can read more about the differences in an interesting article on  So the plastic action games weren’t quite dead, they were smaller and actually for a while it felt like we were seeing far fewer new titles entering the marketplace.  For much of the mid-2000s Fundex was one of the only companies regularly releasing a larger plastic action game with titles like Monster Under My Bed (2003) and Gassy Gus (2006).  So this year I was surprised to see so many new plastic action games coming from a variety of companies, but the ones I’m going to talk about in this article is from Patch Products.

Don't Rock the Boat instructions with view of shipDon’t Rock the Boat is 100% a plastic action game, because it’s all plastic and the game play is all action. The game is simple, place penguin pirates on the boat and don’t rock it so the penguin pirates fall off.  Seriously, that’s it – the directions were so short they were on a slightly-larger-than-Post-It-note sized piece of paper.  And set up was a cinch, place boat on top of plastic funnel-looking wave and give each player an equal number of penguins.

The game is pretty simple to get but it did take some of my testers a little time to get that the boat really wobbles so they shouldn’t be to aggressive in their moves.  But this also ensured that we didn’t blow through all the penguins without finding a winner.  And after the novelty of the penguins wore off it turned in to a very interesting game of finding stuff in my office that could be used in place of the penguins, including Stan the magnetic monkey.  So while it seems like this game has very limited play, it ended up being far more amusing than I had anticipated and occupied my testers for quite a long time.  So round up your LEGO men, mini-eraser critters, army men, Squinkies other random mini-figures and have them join the penguin pirates in a game of Don’t Rock the Boat!

Top view of Don't Rock the Boat ship with lots of random toys

Don’t Rock the Boat Stats

~$16 Don’t Rock the Boat on Amazon
2-4 players (although it could be a fun challenge for 1 player)
~5 minutes per round
Ages 5 and up