Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Saturday 15 December 2018

The Game Shelf Reviews:- ICECOOL2


Publisher: Brain Games

Designer: Brian Gomez

Year: 2018

ICECOOL2 is the sequel to the huge hit game ICECOOL which won the Kinderspiel des Jahres in 2017. Don't let that children's game title fool you though, ICECOOL has been a huge hit with friends, family and work colleagues and is one of our favourite dexterity games. The sequel promises new game modes, as well as the opportunity to play with 8 players if you combine both ICECOOL and ICECOOL2.

Get your skates on, and let's take a look at what's new!


For those of your who have played the original ICECOOL, you are going to find the sequel to be very similar, but, even so, there are some notable changes that make a huge difference. In the main game mode you are still taking turns being the students skipping class to steal fish and the hall monitor trying to catch them all. You will all take a turn trying to flick your penguin, for the students you want to go through a doorway with one of your coloured fish above it to claim it, the hall monitor wants to touch one of the student penguins in order to confiscate their hall pass. At the end of the round (when either all hall passes or all fish of 1 colour have been claimed) each player draws 1 points card for each fish they have and 1 points card for each hall pass they have (including their own). Play continues like this until everyone has been the hall monitor then the player with the most points wins.

ICECOOL2 adds a few tweaks to the original's gameplay. Firstly there is a slight tweak to the two player rules, the student must be caught twice, but the first time they are caught you take their hall pass and send them back to the classroom. Most of the other changes are to do with the points cards. In the first game revealing a pair of points cards with a value of 1 allowed you to take a bonus flick. This is still true, but now you can reveal a singular one in order to perform the trick shot demanded of the card. Using the penguin's unique flicking abilities these will encourage you to flick over walls or go through multiple doors at once, if you succeed you get to draw another point card. In addition if you have a pair of cards with a value of 2 then you can now reveal those. Should you do so, you get to move one fish from above 1 doorway to another, useful to help you claim your fish or delay your opponents.

Finally the two games are compatible, combining them both allows you to have massive 8 player games, but also allows you to play in race mode. In this game mode every player has 2 penguins and must race to collect all 6 fish of their colour (either penguin can collect either colour for your team). Once you have all the fish you need to bring both your penguins into the finish line room in order to win the race.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

ICECOOL was already a game I liked. In the sequel I was certainly looking forward to the race mode, but what I didn't expect to be so amazing was the patching of the original's gameplay. The tweaks are minor, but they make such a difference, you no longer feel like you lost because your opponent drew 3s while you drew 2s. The low point cards now all have a purpose and you sometimes feel starved by not having any. Potentially the trick shots on a 1 point card can keep scoring you more points if you draw a chain of 1s, but at the cost of you playing a little unusually to get the trick shots. I love this encouragement to use and abuse the unique flicking in ICECOOL2, the wobbly penguins behave like nothing else and any encouragement to mess around with them is wonderful.

The race mode itself also highly encourages these high risk high reward trickshots. If anything I would compare it to mini golf, you have to learn to hit your penguin accurately, but also with the right strength to be set up for the next flick. Of course the interesting thing is you have 2 penguins to play with, so you can also plan strategy. Do you have 1 fish collector while the other penguin jumps walls in a bee-line for the finish line? Do you split your team up essentially running 2 different races in order to get all the fish covered?

Without a doubt if someone asked me whether to buy ICECOOL or ICECOOL2 I will point them to 2 every time. ICECOOL2 is proof that some very minor tweaks to rules can make for a much better game. But instead of bringing out a new edition and telling people to throw out the old game Brain Games have given us the ability to create something better by combining both. If you were in any way interested in ICECOOL before then you should definitely pick up ICECOOL2.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

I initially thought that ICECOOL2 was just going to be chance to play ICECOOL with 8 players, with 4 new penguin colours and the chance to build a giant size map using all ten boxes! What we found was that this box contains much, much more!

At home we typically play with two players, so the addition of a two-player variant where you have to get caught twice before the round ends, certainly helped us to bring the standard game to the table at home. With that said, ICECOOL2 is still best played with more people, simply because it's the kind of game where everyone is up on their feet, cheering around the table.

Two of the other two additions have a similar feature in common - they highlight the toy factor in the game. The 'game' in ICECOOL is fine, but it's really the tactile element of the flicking with the weighted penguins that has always been the stand-out feature for me. Most games of ICECOOL end with the players standing around the board flicking the penguin around, trying to loop through doors, or jump over consecutive walls. Two new elements in ICECOOL 2 reward this. With the new '1' value cards, you can be rewarded for your trick shots. With the race game modes, catching each other isn't the problem, it's all about speed and efficiency, where a really good flicking technique or a jump over the finishing line really can be that awesome moment with a group of spectators around you.

All of these slight tweaks mean that ICECOOL2 is a definite improvement over ICECOOL for me. Adding some new aspects that make more of the base game and also adding some options for players. young and old' who just want to flick those plastic penguins. I can definitely recommend ICECOOL2 for any family or group of gamers who want 100% pure fun!

You Might Like...
  • Extra emphasis on trick shots.
  • New game modes, including racing and 2-player specific rules.
  • The chance to boost your game to eight players for added penguin mayhem!
You Might Not Like...
  • Minimal depth to the gameplay.
  • Less brightly coloured than ICECOOL in terms of attracting people to the table.

The Verdict

8/10 ICECOOL2 makes some small changes that make the game even better than the original. As well as being a solid game, the new elements really capture more of the fun of pulling off fantastic trick shots and firing penguins all over the table! If you haven't played ICECOOL, then jump straight to ICECOOL2. If you want to play with more people then you can always add the original game to your collection too!

ICECOOL2 was a review copy kindly provided to us by Brain Games.

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