One of the big surprises of Gen Con 2016 was Ice Cool, from Brain Games out of Latvia. My first visit to the press room, I saw a few people sitting around a table and playing this crazy game with little penguins. The game sold out pretty fast at Gen Con. I was happy when Brain Games agreed to send a review copy!
In Ice Cool, you will be flicking your penguin around a school-house trying to collect some tasty fish, or if you are the hall monitor, catch the penguins, that are skipping class. As with most dexterity based games, skill and technique are the name of the game here.
This is what you will see when you first open the box
What will set Ice Cool apart is the unique “Box with in a box” approach they have taken for the game board. You will use all the “box” pieces to build your school house.
Set up is pretty cool (See what I did there) you match the small color dots that are on the doors, then use odd color “fish” to clip then together. Hang your color fish on the walls (Where a fish icon is) set your penguins in and your ready to go.
One player will act as the hall monitor while the other players take on the role of the students. As a student , you goal is to collect your three fish from around the schoolhouse. The hall monitor, in turn, is trying to catch all of the students and collect their ID cards. As players achieve their goals during the game, they’ll draw victory point cards. At the end of the game, the player with the most VPs wins. That’s pretty much it, Where the game shines is the amount of skill it will take to “flick” the penguins around the schoolhouse, You will get 1 flick per turn, so you need to get the best move you can. If your good enough you can get some crazy bounce shots off walls, through 2 doors etc. The penguins reminded me a lot of webbles. If you remember them, they will rock and fall over but pop right back up.
On a players turn, they can flick their penguin one time. If the runner goes through one of the three doors that contains their fish token, they can collect it and take a VP card.
On a catcher turn, they must flick their penguin and try to collide with one of the runners. If they do so, they collect that runner’s ID card.
The Penguins are well made, heavy base on them, and feel nice in your hand. and easy to flick, line up and let it fly!
The components are well made, the box is very heavy stock, and I think will hold up well. The cards are nice stock as well, they don’t feel “cheap” in your hand as your picking them up.
The big draw of it, I think is the “Box within a box” system they have. The artwork is top notch, bright colors and it really pops out at you. the penguins are nice and bright as well.
My only minor nitpick I would have is that I wish there was a way to have different layouts. Right now, there is only one way to setup the game board. I would really love to have different setups for the school-house. Don’t get me wrong the game is crazy fun and has a ton of reply vaule, I just wish you could change the layout, I think Brain Games could give us new boxes in an expansion. Different layouts and walls to jump.
This is one of those games that everyone will enjoy playing, from kids to adults. it’s just so much fun, and you get a great sense of accomplishment and joy when you make a crazy cool trick shot and jump walls or bounce of walls and move through 2 doors.
For more information on Ice Cool, head over to the official website
You can also order a copy of the game direct from Brain Games for 39.95
We would like to give a big thank you to Brain Games for sending us the review copy!