Ice Cool from Brain Games Publishing is the 2017 Kinderspiel Des Jahres winner. This is a simple dexterity (flicking) game of little penguins skating around a school. One player is “the catcher” – or hall monitor – while the others are “runners” – or students skating through the school. Every round, the Runners are trying to get through doorways and collect fish (scoring cards) while the Hall Monitor tries to take their hall pass away. A game ends after a number of rounds equal to the number of players and after each player has been the hall monitor once. Ice Cool is an excellent game that is equally fun for kids and adults.
The most innovative feature of Ice Cool is the “box-in-a-box” format. The game box is actually four boxes, each slightly smaller than the other, that are connected to make the game board. This gives the game a 3D effect of halls and walls. The players must flick their penguins which are plastic weighted tokens that fly around or through or even over the rooms, doors, and walls. Very simple and direct; perfect in fact for the 6+ crowd the game is marketed towards.
I bought Ice Cool because Mrs. RockyMountainNavy is teaching young kids English these days and often asks the RMN Boys (or myself) to play a game with the kids at the end of their lesson. She is a strong believer in the teaching power of tabletop games, especially the social aspects (communicate with others, take your turn, follow the rules) that video gaming so often lacks. This weekend, the RMN Boys and myself took the game for a test play. Ice Cool plays fast (20 min or less) and is fun. Flicking the penguins does take some finesse and patience; more than some youngsters may have. The same 3D walls that make the game look good can block bigger hands and make flicking difficult. There are rules allowing one to move the penguin away from the walls which may be enough.
Don’t let those (minor) negative points fool you; Ice Cool is a very fun family game. At first, we set up the game like we normally do on the dining table with all of us sitting around. Almost immediately we pushed back the chairs and found ourselves constantly moving around the table, treating the game box more like a pool table as we constantly jockeyed to get that perfect angle for our shot. There were many laughs and good natured ribbing to be had.
Ice Cool will be a fun family filler game in the RMN Household and will be used with Mrs. RMN’s students with great effect. It is almost impossible not to enjoy this fun flick-em-up game with such a cute theme and simple game play.
Featured image courtesy Brain Games Publishing.