- Designers: Bruno Cathala and Matthew Dunstan
- Publisher: The Flying Games
- Players: 2
- Ages: 8+
- Time: 15-20 minutes
- Times played: 2, with review copy provided by distributor (Blackrock Games)
Ice Team was a game that I had honestly never heard of before it arrived on my doorstep, but there has been a steady stream of small 2p games from this publisher (The Flying Games) including Little Big Fish and Jurassic Snack – both of which I have played in the past.
In this newest 2p game, players each command a team of polar bears and they are trying to race through the ice floes and collect as many fish as possible. The course itself is made up of 6 boards (1 start, 1 end, and 4 middle). Each of the middle boards has 2 igloos affixed to each tile, and then every other illustrated space is covered with Sea Ice tiles – there will be a few left that are blank. Each igloo gets a fish token placed on it. Each player puts the 4 bears in their color onto the Start tile.
On a turn, each player gets 2 actions; essential each is moving a bear and then taking the effect of the landing space. There are three different ways to move. The simplest is to walk onto any adjacent space that has Sea Ice/Igloo tile on it. You can also “Leapbear” which is to jump over an adjacent bear onto an empty space on the other side. The leaping bear can continue jumping as long as there are appropriate adjacent bears/empty landing spaces. Finally, a bear can swim across empty sea spaces in a straight line until it reaches a tile (Sea Ice or Igloo). Sea Ice and Igloos can only hold one bear per tile. Even if there wasn’t this rule in place, the bears are physically big enough as to prevent you from trying to fit two bears on the same space!
Then, you apply the action of the tile that you landed on. IF you are on a filled Igloo (one with a fish token still on it), collect the fish token, and then roll the Fish die which may give you even more fish OR allow you to steal fish from your opponent. Some tiles do nothing. Some tiles have paws on the cracked surface; this allows you to take an immediate extra action – but then the ice breaks and the tile is discarded. If you land on a penguin, you can freeze some previously collected fish and make them unsteal-able. If you land on a Shifting tile (which really looks a lot like a regular “no effect” tile), you can either push the tiles in front of you (but not so far as to push a tile off the board) or surf thru contiguous empty spaces until you cannot go further
If a bear moves onto the Finish tile, it rolls both dice and then takes the effect of one of those dice – either collecting fish or stealing from the opponent. A bear on the Finish tile does not take any more actions in the game. The game continues until one player has all 4 bears on the finish tile; at this point the game ends immediately. The player with the most fish wins, ties are broken in favor of the player that has all 4 bears on the Finish tile.
My thoughts on the game
Ice Team is a pleasant 2p game which is probably misleading to be titled as a “race game”. While there is some aspect to moving through quickly – the actual winner of the game is the player who collects the most fish, not the player that finishes the race first!
It’s a fairly simple game, but one that is good for the younger audience that it is shooting for. There is a little bit of luck, a little bit of push-your-luck, and a smidge of advance planning as you work out the best route to move your bears to get to the places you want to get to.
The components are nice, and the bears are super cute. The artwork is cartoony, but again, this is well suited to what I feel is the target audience. That being said, there isn’t a lot here for two forty-somethings to go on, and while we enjoyed our two games of this, I don’t think I’d pull this back out to play while we sip on whisky. Rather, this could be used as a nice intro game for my niece or nephews, and it might possibly serve as a nice cardboard babysitter as I feel that this type of game could engage younger gamers for a half an hour or more…
Until your next appointment
The Gaming Doctor