We were not sure what to think of Ice Cool when we first set it up! It completely revolutionizes traditional board game play, and it was unfamiliar to us. We quickly discovered what all the hype is about as we laughed our way through the first game…and the second…and the third…and many more. =-)
Play as a funny little penguin sliding around a school trying to eat as many fish as you can while simultaneously escaping the other penguins who want the fish to themselves! Each round has a catching player who chases the other penguins (runners) before they can collect too many fish. The runners must eat as many fish as they can before being captured. How does this all happen? By flicking! Flick your penguin through doorways, over walls, and around penguins.
This game is such a blast! The penguins are weighted on the bottom (think of a stand-alone punching bag) so they always make their way upright after bobbing around like crazy. When you flick them, they’ll roll all over the place until settling in. Our kids think this is hilarious and almost enjoy the post-game flicking around more than the game itself! I love this dynamic as compared to normal “straight” flicking games.
When I initially saw a picture of Ice Cool, I was picturing a minuscule board with teeny, tiny penguins. My jaw literally dropped when I saw how the boxes unstack and piece together to form a giant, 5-room, 8-doorway school setting. =-) It’s an impressive layout with meticulous detail in the artwork.
It is SO adorable watching tiny hands trying to flick. Watch your young kids’ faces when they do! Something about it just kills me. =-) They scrunch up their face, purse their lips, and really concentrate on getting the flicking motion correct. It’s so dang cute.
Tips & Tricks
- Play this on a table without chairs if you have young kids! We made the mistake of playing on the floor the first game and were constantly worried about our kids stepping or falling on the game.
- Learn to flick a penguin over walls! I still don’t have this down, but it would be hugely valuable.
- Get the sideways curve roll down well. This will help you bypass the catcher and slide through a door while capturing a fish all on the same flick.
Scoring & Recommendation
Overall, I give Ice Cool a very high 8 out of 10 for the following reasons:
- Unique Storyline: Bobbing penguins sliding around in a school trying to catch fish and evade the catcher? How cool is that?
- Artwork: The whole scene has a beautiful, icy blue hue, and the detail is incredible. The kids were enraptured the first time we played and still point out little things they hadn’t noticed before.
- Unique Set-up: It’s hard to explain, but the box itself is multi-layered, like stacked boxes, and fits together to become the entire board/scene. It’s really cool!
- Flicking Techniques: The rules teach you actual flicking techniques to get your penguin to do different things!
- It can be difficult keeping track of turns when players move around so much for ideal positioning. Having a starting player dial included would help keep track of whose turn it is. Sequential, proximity-based turn rotation doesn’t really work with Ice Cool.
- The boxes could be slightly thicker or denser or both. While kids ruining board game boxes is incredibly frustrating, it doesn’t typically impact the gameplay. If a slip or misstep were to crush a side of an Ice Cool box, it could ruin the gameplay (especially the doors through which penguins must pass to eat fish).
I very much recommend Ice Cool, especially to play with younger kids (maybe 4-8). I’d say it’s an immediate buy for that age group. Otherwise, I’d recommend playing it first before purchasing to see if it’s your cup of tea.
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.