The Daily Worker Placement

Friday, July 19, 2024

Ice Cool: Penguin School

by | published Monday, January 16, 2017

Dexterity games are by no means my forte. Which is to say, I like them, but I stink at them. Ice Cool is no exception to that rule. It’s super fun and I’d be up for a game pretty much anytime, but any victory on my part is a complete fluke and possibly a refutation of the laws of physics.

Up to four players become little penguins on a break from class. The playing surface is a frozen school, created from different board sections that store away inside each other for easy storage when you’re done playing.

The school is made up of different rooms and the goal is to flick your penguin around the school, getting through doorways and collecting fish along the way. The talented flicker can learn a number of trick shots such as curving your penguin to get around corners or even making them jump over walls.

The penguins themselves are little coloured plastic figures with round, heavy bottoms. Their weight distribution allows them to always return to an upright position after being flicked around the school.

Each time you gain a fish you get a card that is worth one, two, or three points. The goal is to collect the most fish points over the course of a few rounds.

Just to spice it up a bit, each round one of the players is going to be the catcher. Instead of collecting fish, their goal is to catch the other penguins flipping around the school. For each penguin they touch, they take their I.D. card. The round ends when one player has collected all three of their fish, or the catcher has caught all the other penguins.

If you’ve had bad enough luck to draw two one-point cards, you can reveal them and immediately take another turn.

Ice Cool is a game that requires you to stand. You’ll move your way around the table lining up your shots, and giving them a little body English is easier if you’re on your feet. The rounds are fairly quick and you’ll play one for each player, so everyone gets a chance as the chaser. At the end of the last round, total up your points and a winner is declared. Very straight forward.

I’m a big believer that dexterity games are heavily reliant on the physics of the game themselves. It all have to work, you have to be able to get better at it, and it has to be fun. Ice Cool excels in all those areas. I have no doubt that it’ll be a hit for everyone, from the smallest family members, who will love it for the toy factor, to the older generation, who’ll start to get really serious about their penguin flicking skills. Ice Cool is a winner and was even named DWP contributor Matt M.’s favourite game of 2016.

Give is a shot and you’ll see how much fun penguin school can be!


  • Sean J.

    Sean is the Founder and Photographer for the DWP. He has been gaming all his life. From Monopoly and Clue at the cottage to Euchre tournaments with the family, tabletop games have taken up a lot of his free time. In his gaming career he has worked for Snakes & Lattes Board Game Cafe, Asmodee, and CMON. He is a contributor to The Dice Tower Podcast and has written for Games Trade Magazine and Meeple Monthly. He lives and works in Toronto.

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