Lady Luck was not on my side this game when I was forced to sacrifice birds with valuable actions (normally my favorite) for birds with one-time actions and lower point values. Everyone thought I would be blown out of the water based on what they could see on my board, but I had managed to collect and complete four secret bonus cards for a huge amount of points. The player adding up the scores laughed several times as she calculated scores before announcing me as the winner…by one point!
We were nearing the end of the game, and my young daughter had collected the four apples she needed for her last trophy. She was frantically lugging them back to the castle portal to return them for the victory while her big brother raced to collect enough pies for his last trophy. She finally made it first with a loud, “Woohoo!” double fist pump followed by a not-so-sportsmanlike, “Hahahaha!” pointing her finger right at her brother. Mom and dad couldn’t help but chuckle while trying to teach good sportsmanship. =-)
Preface: you’ll want to read the original Ice Cool review as a precursor to this review.
As fun as the original Ice Cool game is, we’ll never go back to playing it without combining with Ice Cool 2. The following expansion features really ramp up the gameplay, excitement, and replay value and are too fun to pass up.
Massive Playing Space
I was immediately impressed with how big of a playing space there is with the original Ice Cool. The space doubles in size with Ice Cool 2! Every board has new, incredibly detailed artwork which is so fun to comb over. The combo rulebook comes with awesome layout options like Kindergarten Court, After-school Special, and my favorite, Iceberg Alley which has a sliding box!
Up to 8 Players
Combining the two games scales perfectly. It is delightful chaos having 8 penguins sliding across the map with two catchers chasing them down. You’ll need to be disciplined and keep track of whose turn it is with so many players (I recommend a simple age-based turn order as this doesn’t change based on where a player sits).
The ginormous layout of the combo game allows for an incredibly fun race mode. Removing catchers from the game, players team up to get two penguins through each of their respective doors to collect their fish. The first team to collect all fish and get both penguins to the finish line first wins! This mode is played like an entirely different game with the same core mechanics. It’s a faster-paced gameplay and is just as fun (if not more!) as the original mode!
In addition to the original benefit of collecting two #1 cards (getting to take an extra turn), Ice Cool 2 introduces task cards and the ability to move a fish to a different door (hugely valuable) if you get two #2 cards! The tasks include successfully jumping over a wall (I still don’t have this down!), flicking a penguin through two doors on one flick (difficult but doable), and ricocheting off a wall and through a door (also hard but doable).
Scoring & Wrap-up
Overall, as an expansion, I give Ice Cool 2 a solid 8 out of 10 (“Very good – enjoy playing and would suggest it” on BGG’s scale) for the following reasons:
Seamless expansion from 4 to 8 players
Awesome race mode
Intricate and engaging artwork
Immense and varying game layouts
If you’re playing with 7 or all 8 players, it can sometimes take a bit for younger kids to wait in between turns. I recommend keeping games with young kids down to 4-6 players.
If you like the original Ice Cool, you will love Ice Cool 2. If you’ve never played Ice Cool, I’d recommend getting both games in one fell swoop.
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.
You’ve heard of mice coming out to play when the cat’s away? Doxie Dash is a game of the dog coming out to wreak the most havoc while the owner is away. It’s a hilariously clever game of tearing up skivvies, pooing on rugs, and chasing away strangers. Kids of all ages will love competing as different hero canines seeking to cause the most trouble!
I was surprised at how quickly I dove into this game from the very first time we played. It’s so simple on the surface, but there is a good amount of spacial strategy at play. Throw in the special action tiles, and you’ll soon find you can’t get enough! The Bears and the Bees is perfect for families with young kids, grandparents to play with their grandchildren, or as a fun warm-up or filler game for your heavier game nights.
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. =-)
Nuts About Mutts is a fun one to pull out with your kids before dinner, at a family party, or, as we did recently, on the hotel coffee table after a long drive when mom and dad were too tired to take the kids swimming! It’s super simple, the canine artwork is adorable (has induced many high-pitched “Awwwwww”s from our kids!), and the replay value is quite high, for kids especially. We’ve played it frequently lately as it is our 4-year-old’s favorite game right now. =-)
Barenpark is a light puzzle strategy game that is perfect for adults, kids, families, gamers, and even non-gamers (I prefer to call them soon-to-be-gamers!). We’ve had a blast with every one of these groups. Call it an expanded filler game perfect to play a couple of standalone games or slip in between some heavy strategy games.