IceCOOL 2: Frozen Boogaloo
New penguins. More ways to play.
More cute penguins race around their school in this sequel and/or expansion to IceCOOL. A flicking dexterity game from Brain Games, IceCOOL 2 was designed by Brian Gomez, illustrated by Reinis Pētersons, and supports 2-4 players ages 6 and up.
How to Play
When the teacher’s away, the penguins will play! Each player will take a turn being the hall monitor (or Catcher) while the other penguins (Runners) try to collect fish hanging over the doors.
Open up the box and set up the school by matching the colored dots under the doorframes and pinning the boxes together with the white fish.
Each player chooses a color (purple, teal, orange, or brown). They take the penguin, reminder card, ID card, and plastic fish of that color. Determine who will be the first Catcher; all other players clip their fish tokens over the 3 indicated doorways.
Each Runner flicks their penguin once, aiming to go through the doorways and make it to their fish. If they go through a doorway with one of their fish on top, they collect a fish card.
When each Runner has gone once, the Catcher flicks their penguin in the hopes of bumping into one or more of the Runner penguins. If they catch one, they take that penguin’s ID card.
The round ends when either a Runner has collected all 3 of their own fish, or when the Catcher has everyone’s ID cards. The Catcher gets a fish card for each ID they hold, and the round ends.
IceCOOL 2 adds new special abilities that can be activated based on the cards you have collected. As in IceCOOL, you may redeem (turn face up) 2 fish cards with value 1 to “ice skate” (immediately take another turn). This is especially helpful for the Catcher, who can use them to end a round more quickly.
However, the value 1 cards now also suggest trick shots that you may attempt to gain more fish: jumping over a wall, pass through 2 doorways in a single flick, or bounce off a wall and then pass through a doorway. Announce the type of trick shot before taking your turn; if you are successful, turn over the card (you can’t use it again) and draw a new fish card from the draw pile.
The most interesting new ability is “two fish, move fish”. Redeem 2 fish cards with value 2 to move ANY fish token to a different doorway (even one that normally wouldn’t hold fish) – as long as the penguin of that color is not in the room with that new door. Make fish collection harder for your opponents – or easier for yourself!
The game ends when there have been as many rounds as there are players; each player should have been the Catcher for 1 round. Players count up all the fish on their cards (both face up and face down), and the highest score wins!
IceCOOL 2 as an Expansion to IceCOOL
But that’s not all! You don’t have to play IceCOOL 2 by itself. It can also act as an expansion! Join both games together to create larger layouts and play with up to 8 players. Our kids love to try the layouts with sliding boxes that can be moved on every turn. With 6 or more players, double up on the catchers and halve the number of rounds to keep things moving.
IceCOOL 2 also introduces “race mode”. Make teams of 2 penguins (operated by 1 or 2 players). Collect all the fish tokens in your team’s colors (it doesn’t matter which penguin gets which fish) and get both penguins to the “finish” box to win the game. No fish cards are used in this variation.
The rules booklet suggests 5 new layouts, but the creators hope players will come up with their own unique layouts to play, too.
We approached IceCOOL 2 with a little bit of incredulity. It certainly didn’t look like there was much new in the box, other than slightly different configurations of rooms.
In truth, that’s true. In order to maintain compatibility with the original box, IceCOOL 2 didn’t mess with the formula too much. But much like any kind of construction tool, from blocks to LEGO to BRIO trains, blending the two boxes offers many opportunities for creativity to shine. We really appreciated that the IceCOOL 2 box actually included a separate manual for mixing the two games together.
If you’re dipping your toe into the frozen waters, we would definitely recommend IceCOOL 2 over the original for two reasons: the plastic fish have much better gripping power than the wooden fish in the original, and we like the new abilities. We wouldn’t recommend an IceCOOL novice family go out and pick both games up unless they already know they love them. There’s a lot of game in just one box; make sure it’s hitting your table a lot before you spend the extra cash for both.
And speaking of “hitting the table”, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that combining IceCOOL1+2 takes up quite a bit of real estate. Unless you’ve got an oversized dining room table, you may be playing this on the floor.
We have a lot of fun with IceCOOL 2. While we don’t necessarily think it’s a universal must-own, it does offer a few small twists on the original formula. If your IceCOOL experience is starting to grow stale but your kids still love getting it to the table, IceCOOL 2 might just be the flavor spritz you need to rekindle your lost affections.
IceCOOL 2 is available now on Amazon and in some big box stores for under $30. Grab your copy today and have a flicking great time!
The Family Gamers received a promotional copy of IceCOOL 2 from Brain Games for this review.
Number of Players: 2-4 (2-8 with IceCOOL)
Age Range: 6+ (younger with some patience)
Playtime: around 30 minutes