Ice Cool: A Fun Family Game Where You Get to Flick Penguins
Are you melting? I’m melting. It’s so very hot, and the humidity is just miserable. My kids love to play outside (and I love for them to enjoy the outdoors), but some days it’s too hot for them to stay outside for long periods of time. On those days, we try to find some fun indoor activities to help them chill out and cool off. One of our favorite new ways to do that is a game called Ice Cool, featuring our favorite critters: penguins!
I know that so many of the games we play these days are played on consoles or computers, but this is an actual tabletop board game, which makes me happy from the start. Ice Cool is a flicking game – if you’ve never heard of a flicking game before, it will make sense in a moment, I promise.
A disclaimer from me to you: if you’re anything like me, you best learn how to play a game by observing rather than reading instructions, so bear with me while I attempt to explain the gameplay here.
The main characters are, as I mentioned, penguins (this thrills me), and it takes place at their happy little penguin school. Just like little humans are known to get distracted in class, these penguins are bored and have decided they’re more interested in catching some tasty fish instead of sitting at their desks. They’re ready to go play and steal some snacks, but the hall monitor could be lurking around any corner, just waiting to take away their hall pass and send them scurrying back to their classroom.
The actual construction of the game looks like a school and is created by connecting several low-profile boxes that feature door openings. (The box is the game and the game is the box!) Little fish hang above each door, just waiting to be snatched by a penguin on the run. Each box forms a “room,” and there are 5 rooms in all. If you know there’s a fish to be caught in the gym, for example, you’ll need to move your penguin there.
This is where the flicking comes in. Rather than having a game piece that you move from square to square like many games, these little penguins have wobbly bottoms and can be flicked and spun around. You don’t have to move a certain number of spots to get to your desired location. If you want to hit the gym and you have doors through which you can travel, you can flick your penguin in a way that spins it through the door(s) to get to your destination. Don’t have a door, or you see the hall monitor is in your way? That’s okay, too – you can just jump a wall!
The fun really does come from flicking these little penguins, because they’re shaped in a way that provides a lot of different movement options. Part of the challenge is learning how to flick your game piece in just the right way to get where you want to go. (My husband is determined to master trick shots and attend an Ice Cool tournament in Norway.)
Once a player has passed through a door and entered a room where they can collect one of their fish, they draw a card with a number. The cards get totaled up at the end to determine who the winner is, but they can also be useful during the game. If you happen to get two 1s, then you’ve got a pair of ice skates that can give you an extra turn! As for the hall monitor, they’re obviously more interested in catching runaway penguins than fish, so their goal is to strike the other penguins (basically, you’ll want to bump into them and knock them down). If this happens, the hall monitor can collect that player’s ID card/hall pass. The game closes when a player is first to capture all of his or her own fish, or when the hall monitor has captured the ID cards of all the players.
This game has been so much fun for all of us, and my kids get ridiculously excited about flicking little color penguins around the table. Ice Cool keeps all of us moving and engaged, and our flicking skills are improving with every game. We’ve played it countless times since we got it, and it just doesn’t seem to lose its novelty. We giggle ourselves silly every time!
To learn more about the game, take a few minutes to check out the Ice Cool website and watch some of their videos that show how much fun it is to play the game. You’ll be on board in no time!