Friday, 16 September 2016

Ice Cool from Brain Games unboxing and Review

Ice Cool is a new game from a Latvian Studio Brain Games, and it comes with a fresh theme, and some very funky tricks in the box.....

The lunch break is almost there and all of the young penguins would finally get the fish they’ve been craving for. However, some rascals think they are quick enough to snatch some of the fish before the lunch break starts, but they have forgotten one thing – the Hall Monitor! Each school day one of the penguins is designated to watch over the school, and this is his moment to shine – for each rascal penguin he catches he would get additional fish!

A fun run takes place – the rascals are running everywhere and trying to snatch some fish on their way, but the Hall Monitor is trying to catch each and one of them to have some order in the school. Who will be more successful?

Ice Cool is a flicking game in which each round one of the players takes the role of the Hall Monitor (also called "the Catcher") – his aim will be to catch each other penguin and get points for that. The others (also known as "Runners") will try to run through several doors, thus gaining fish (that give them points) on their way. When either the Hall Monitor has caught each other penguin once or any of the others has gone through all 3 doors that have fish on them, the round is over. Each player will take the role of the Hall Monitor once and at the end of the game the winner will be the one with the most points on their fish cards.

The penguins can be flicked in a straight line, make curves and even jump over the walls! Each player will have to use the best of their skills in order to get the most points in this fun and exciting game. It's not just cool, it's ICE COOL!
Its pretty simple in concept, its a fun dexterity game, with penguins, and i know Olivia likes penguin games as Hey thats my fish! is one of her favourite games of all times, and she likes dexterity games like Flick 'em up!  It gives ages 6 and up, but i reckon once people see it it wont matter what age they are, they will want to play it, and fun can be had by all ages for it.  Its for 2-4 players, and they say around 30 minutes, though we have had quicker games once we knew what we where doing.......

So lets pop the box open and see whats inside!

 You get a rule book, a bag of wooden compoents, your penguins of course, some cards, and nicely a little bag perfect sized to fit the cards in once they are out.

Then its a box.. of boxes..... yes you actually use the main box as part of the board, its very clever.

It goes together with some plain wooden fish tokens, its all marked on the differnt boxes where they go, and how to put them together, and they are even numbered 1-5 so when you put them away you go in number order so you never have to try and solve the puzzle of packing!! Its the first time i have seen something like this, and i really like it, it makes set up and take down very quick for such a large and detailed board.
 The detail on the walls of the box for the "school" is lovely.
 In fact i spent a good time looking around the rooms before i even played it, its certainly a great design, even if muted in colours, but its ice, so its expected!
 The tiny details that are not needed but really make it feel a "lived in" place like the abandoned ball, and towel on the rails.  Really nice touches.
 Just flicking the penguins around and watching them curl is great fun, you can really do tricks with them, get them to jump or "drift" depending on where you flick them, so its certainly a game that rewards practice and skill.
 We spent just as long just trying trick shots as we did playing the game, not because the game was not fun (it really was!) but because the penguins have a great heft and feel to them and they react really well to where you flick them allowing for some great moves, like wall jumping, or curving them around so you can get into multiple rooms with one flick.
 The Rulebook does an excellent job of guiding you through setup......
 Then it talks you step by step through the game.  In each round one person is the catcher, and the others are runner.  When it begins you start in the classroom space, and flick, heading off wherever you want, then the next player, and so on.  The Catcher starts from the kitchen, then each turn they flick.  If the Runner goes through a door with a fish token of their colour on it they take the token and then draw the top card from the mini card deck.  These are numbered 1-3 which give you points. Then you place the card face down (you do not want to reveal your points to your opponents).  The round ends when either a runner has caught all 3 fish of their colour, or the catcher has hit all the runners (when the catcvher hits a runner he takes away their ID card.
So it sounds like the cather can not score on his roud then? well he still can! he gets one fish card for his ID, and one for each other ID he gets.  If a runner was not caught they also draw an extra fish card.

If you have a pair of 1 ice skate cards, you can spend them to get an extra turn, and you still get the points!

Then you set up the round and go again with a different player taking the catcher role.  There are as many rounds as their are players (though there are special rules for a 2 player game to make it work)  The game is great at 3, but really shines at 4 players.

The winner at the end is the penguin with the most points.

A nice touch again is it also gives you a run down of packing the boxes away.  Its such a clever system, making setup and storage nice and easy, as the box is much smaller then it should be for the amount of content in the game.

So what do I think?? well..... its nicely presented, the rules are clear, and its fun.  It may not have the "depth" of some long heavy games, but it does have entertainment and charm in bucket loads, and it will get people over looking to see what you are doing whatever their ages.  You will just have good old fashioned simple fun and laughter when playing, and playing as the cacther is still good fun, do not worry if you think you are being singled out, we had plenty of chuckles as the catcher hurtled around rooms bouncing off things and skidding past the runners.  Components are good quality, art is great, rules are easy to learn and teach.  Its a great game for all ages.

The Rulebook is littered with great little bits of art that really help pull you into the theme

What did Olivia think of this?

I love the penguins, and i like games like this where i am doing things in my turn.  The penguins are easy to flick and you can do some cool tricks with them.  I learned the game very quickly it was not hard, but it was really good! Sometimes its nice to play something that is just about playing and laughing rather then thinking too much.  I think everyone will like this game!

With an RRP of £29.99 and a "cool" theme and fun game that all ages are sure to love, head over to your Local Game Store and grab yourself a copy, its the perfect game for friends and family to chill out with! ahh my jokes are getting such a frosty reception.. Dont worry i will put the jokes on Ice for now....  I will however certainly be keeping an eye on Brain Games future works to see what else new and innovative they come out!