Ice Cool is the newest game from Brain Games Publishing who are based in the Baltics and are very keen to encourage board gaming in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. A company after our own heart they believe that “board games are a perfect tool to bring people together in this era of screens and social networks.”
We spoke to Līga on the Saturday of UKGE 2016, who gave us a quick demonstration and run through of Ice Cool and graced us with our very own copy to review. As our first ever official press meeting and our first review copy of a game Ice Cool will remain in our hearts for a long time. Don’t let our sentimentality fool you though, Ice Cool is a great game all by itself and below we’ll talk about why.
It is a ‘Box in a Box’ dexterity game, 2-4 players, for ages 8 and up in which you play penguins running amok around their school. Let’s take a 4 player example; 3 of you are bored little penguins who don’t want to sit in class and the other is, essentially, the hall monitor. Our naughty penguins are called “runners” and our hall monitor is the “catcher”: the runners aim is to scoot through doorways, avoiding the catcher, and collect 3 fish of their colour; the catcher has to catch the runners and confiscate their ID cards. You gain points for each ID card you hold and you gain point each time you pick up a fish. With 4 players, you’d play 4 rounds and rotate each round who is the catcher, so everyone gets a go.
The little penguin figures are weighted at the bottom so they can be flicked to go in straight lines or, if you’ve practised a lot, you can get them to curve or even jump over walls (a legit strategy in the game). Some of the people we’ve played it with said the weighted pieces reminded them of Subbuteo models and, while that’s an accurate observation, we think these penguins are much cuter and better dressed!
The components are good quality and solid and as for the ‘Box in a Box’ design this is something we really liked and would like to see more of (after all, Rai did back Dragon Keeper – The Dungeon earlier this year). If you’ve not heard of this before; put simply, the board that you play on is comprised of one or more boxes that fit into the overall game box and the inside of the game box itself is most likely one of those play areas. In Ice Cool there are 5 total boxes that you clip together with neutral fish pieces to form the rooms of the school, i.e. the game box is used for the biggest room and then there 4 more smaller rooms that stack inside the game box when you aren’t playing. It’s a great way to fit a game that needs the whole table into a smaller package and onto your shelves.
We’ve played the game with both kids and adults and every one on the spectrum as loved it. It’s simple and easy to set up; easy to explain and great fun to play and it won’t be long before you start trying to hit those trick shots. The game is currently on sale in the UK via Amazon for just under £30 and all of Brain Games’ offerings are available internationally.
With its ‘Box in a Box’ concept, and gameplay which is fun for children and adults alike, Ice Cool is thoroughly recommended.