Game Review – Ice Cool



Imagine yourself as a young penguin chick sitting in class and you start to feel it – that tiny little rumble in your stomach as you realize it’s almost lunch time. You know that rumbling will only get louder and stronger the longer you have to wait, so you have a brilliant idea: sneak out of class a little early to get a head start on all those other hungry penguin chicks.

You excuse yourself from class and get out into the hallway to head toward the cafeteria with a grin on your face. Until you hear a voice say “Hey you! Stop!” You turn around to see the hall monitor barreling towards you. The hunger is too strong and you’ll worry about the consequences later as you turn and run for the cafeteria. Are you quick enough to fill up on fish before the hall monitor catches you?

Designer: Brian Gomez
Artist: Reinis Petersons
Brain Games
Genre: Dexterity
Players: 2-4
Play Time: 20 minutes
Number of Logged Plays: 8

Buy it on Amazon (via He Said, She Said Games)

Skip ahead to find out:
Game Overview
Game Play
What He Said
What She Said
Our Pros and Cons
The Verdict

Game Overview

img_2717In Ice Cool, up to three players will take on the role of rascally penguin students making a dash for the lunch room to eat some fish. As they dash down the halls, they catch the attention of the dreaded hall monitor who leaps into action to catch these students trying to snatch some fish. One player will take on the role of the hall monitor to get these delinquent penguin’s ID cards to bring to the Principal’s office. Will the students be successful in their fish snatching scheme or will the hall monitor confiscate all of their ID cards first?

Game Play

img_2721In Ice Cool, players will compete to be the first student to eat all three of their fishes while the hall monitor will try to collect each student’s ID card. A student can collect their fish tokens by sliding under certain doors. Each token a student removes from the board rewards them with a fish card (card with a point value of 1-3).

The player taking on the role of the hall monitor has the tough job of grabbing the student’s ID cards. If the hall monitor collides with any student, they will automatically get that student’s ID card. It’s important that the hall monitor gets their ID cards because that is the only way they can gain fish cards for the round. At the end of the round, each player (students & hall monitor) gets to draw additional cards for each ID card they have.

img_2722During the game, players can “Ice Skate” by revealing two “1” point cards from their score pile to immediately take another turn. They still get to keep the cards, but they’ll have to remain face up so they cannot use them again for this benefit.

A round is over when any of the students get all three of their fish tokens or the hall monitor has gotten everyone’s ID card. Once each player has played as the hall monitor, the game will end and players will add up the values on all their fish cards. The player with the highest score is the winner! If players tie, the player with the greatest number of fish cards will win. If this also results in a tie, all tied players win!

He Said

img_2718I remember back in high school when my friends and I would fold up a sheet of paper into a little football to battle in a game of skill. Not only did you have to come up with a strategy, but you also had to execute the strategy correctly with your flicking abilities. I’ve always enjoyed dexterity games because you can work to get better and it’s always exciting when you pull off an amazing shot. In Ice Cool, you’ll get a chance to put your penguin flicking skills to the test, and might even be surprised at how many different ways you can flick/slap a penguin through a door.

Like most dexterity games, the rules are simple, but the game itself is difficult to master. This makes it a game that you can play with anyone and it will result in a good time. I would definitely recommend that all players do a little practice before starting a game so they get a good feel for how the penguins react to shots at different angles. It’s also nice that the game gives players a mulligan on the first shot of the game if they fail to leave the starting red circle.img_2578

Since it is a game centered around flicking abilities, the game could become lopsided if there is one player that is better than everyone else. This could be a negative for competitive players that aren’t that good at dexterity games because it can easily become unbalanced. But this is solved by the cards players get for eating fish/getting IDs. With a range of 1-3 points per card, a player could still possibly lose to someone that has half as many fish cards. Since the scoring is basically random, it could feel a little disappointing to lose when you have a big lead in quantity of fish cards. At the end of the day, I enjoyed the game more for the experience and making cool trick shots. I wasn’t too concerned about scoring the most points.

img_2723The game creates a lot of memorable moments as players can pull off some unbelievable shots to end a game. One of my favorite moments was when I was playing as the hall monitor, and I only had one more student to catch. I had one chance to catch this student because they were in a prime spot to get their last fish token. Unfortunately, I was two rooms away and the only possible way for me to get them was with a jump shot. I lined up my shot and flicked my penguin’s head hoping for a miracle. He soared over one room and bounced off the wall next to the student. Wobble…wobble..wobble… On that last wobble my penguin just barely nudged the student for me to get my last ID card. Moments like these are the reason why I enjoyed Ice Cool.

Overall, I think that Ice Cool is probably the best dexterity game I’ve played. It has a fun theme that anyone can enjoy and it’s a super simple to pick up and play. Scoring may be extremely random, but the game is still extremely fun and quick enough that you’ll want to play over and over again. So if you’re looking for a game that you can play with family, friends, grandparents, co-workers, or basically anyone then I’d strongly recommend Ice Cool.

She Said

What could be better than a game that combines delinquent penguins sliding across icy school hallways? Typically, dexterity games are not really my thing, but Ice Cool is the exception. It may be one of the best dexterity games I’ve ever played.

The game is incredibly simple: you either flick your penguin to catch fish or to catch other penguins wandering the halls of a school. And it’s super fun. Everyone we have played with has enjoyed this game because it doesn’t ask much of you. You do need to figure out which direction would be best to avoid the hall monitor, but, in general, this game doesn’t require much thought, and that’s perfectly okay.

img_2716Despite the fact that I am terrible at these types of games, I always enjoy playing this. I truly am terrible at getting the penguin to move where I want it to. I also have never once been able to figure out how to jump rooms. Calvin has mastered this skill, and has even caught me as the hall monitor a few times using this method. I have had more than one frustrating moment where I’m one fish away from ending the round and I just can’t hit the penguin right. I crumble under pressure.

The winner is determined by a random score at the end of the game from cards drawn. This isn’t an ideal way to score the game, but there isn’t really a better method. However, what makes this game even better is that you can use two “1” cards to take another turn immediately after your previous turn. This can be effective to end the game or quickly escape the hall monitor when you’re in a bad position.

img_2712But probably the best thing about this game is the components. The board is actually the box of the game, which is just super cool and creative. And the artwork on the board is great. Then there’s the adorable wobbly penguins. There are just so many things about this game that make it great, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a great family game.

Pros and Cons


  • Great components
  • Fun and simple dexterity game
  • Quick and easy to learn
  • Great for all ages
  • Strong theme


  • Scoring is very random
  • Game can be unbalanced if others are better

The Verdict

He gives this game 8.5 Jump Shots out of 10.

She gives this game 8 Gliding Penguins out of 10.

Buy it from Amazon

Board Game Geek Page

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