ICE COOL is marketed as a dexterity, flicking game for children – where penguins run around a frozen school picking up fish. (Ice school, ice cool… get it? Don’t worry, it took us a moment to realise that one, too!) However, we’d argue that ICE COOL fits into the same bracket as other dexterity games such as Rhino Hero or Animal Upon Animal, where adults enjoy them just as much – if not more so – than the initial intended audience!
The premise in ICE COOL is simple. Players take turns to flick their weighted, plastic penguin around a physical college layout, complete with doorway arches. Up to four players participate in as many rounds as there are players, where one player is a penguin hall monitor, trying to catch (bump into) the other players are playing truant – they’re more interested in hunting the school for fish.
Every time a penguin goes through certain doorways they’ll get a fish (and take a fish card, worth varying points). Every time the hall monitor player bumps into a naughty penguin, they’ll ‘confiscate’ their hall pass, and also earn a fish card for their snitching.
The round ends when either one truant penguin has collected all their fish, or when the hall monitor has confiscated all the hall passes. Then fish are returned to the starting set-up, a different player becomes the hall monitor and everyone plays again. (Everyone will have one round of being the hall monitor.) Whoever’s collected the highest total of fish on their cards wins the game.
Even the box is a work of genius. Brian Gomez and Brain Games have designed a ‘boxes-within-boxes’ creation – the various rooms that help construct the icy arena all sit snug within each other in the main box. Each one is a few millimetres narrower than its predecessor, so they sit like Russian dolls. Rooms are clipped together on your table with wooden fish pegs, which is a neat touch. It quite literally is a big game in a modest-sized box (and it can be combined with ICE COOL 2 to make a humongous layout).
The penguins are adorable plastic models with spherical bases. They’re weighted appropriately so they wobble when off-kilter – much like one might imagine a clichéd penguin might teeter when scooting around the slippery tundra. Not only does this fit thematically, but it also makes for comical high drama because sometimes they act in unpredictable manners.
Once you’ve played a few times, you’ll get cocky and attempt trick shots, flicking your penguin deliberately with a hint of left-hand side, in attempt to curve it around a corner. You can even flick them in ways where they can jump! You’ll either pull amazing moves, or you’ll fail and hilarity ensues… Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Given how competitive some adults are (sibling rivalries, anyone?), the chance to take on the in-laws, or the neighbours?), you can imagine how ICE COOL can – and will – become the smash hit of the evening at your games night.
Player Count: 2-4
Time: 20 Minutes