As far as dexterity games go, I’m a bit of an addict. Their unique play style is always a welcome break from the 1,000th worker placement or dudes on a map game that’s currently gracing my tabletop. At Gen Con 2016, I was able to get my hands on a surprisingly good dexterity game in the form of Ice Cool (review here). Who knew that flicking penguins around a school house could be so enthralling. Since then, fans have been beating the drums for an expansion to give the game some much needed variety. Today, those wishes have been answered in the form of the Ice Cool 2 expansion (no style points for the name).
Ice Cool 2 is a standalone expansion, meaning you can play the expansion without needing the base game (although its way better if you do have the base game, more on that later). The components in Ice Cool 2 are nearly identical to the original. There are 4 penguins and matching fish in different colors from the original. The cards have gotten a bit of an upgrade with the addition of tasks on the 1 value cards. A player can also use two value 2 cards to move any fish to a new doorway. The box setup is also very similar, being a mirrored version of the original. Finally, the rulebook has gotten a bit of an upgrade and is much clearer now.
The main gameplay change comes in the form of tasks. If you have 2 value 1 cards, you can still turn them over to take an extra turn. But now, you can instead opt to do a task. The three options include jumping over a wall, passing through two doors on one flick, or bounce off a wall and go through a door. If successful, you can draw an additional scoring card.
Finally, the components of Ice Cool 2 can be combined with the original to create massive tracks and unlock a new race mode. Race mode will have you teaming up with another player to try and flick your penguins through doorways, collecting your team fish, and be the first to then end up in the finish box.
Ice Cool is a very fun dexterity game that I’ve played a countless number of times. The game play is simple and the trick shots will have you coming back for more. However my main knock against the game was always the lack of variety. The map could only ever be assembled in one way,
As an expansion, Ice Cool 2 defiantly addresses that as you can now combine Ice Cool 1 with 2 to create some really entertaining maps. However I will say that it was a big miss that Ice Cool 2 is literally a mirror image of the first one. I would have much preferred that the new setup be completely unique because unless I bring out both games, there is no difference in playing 1 vs 2.
But other than that, Ice Cool 2 is a solid expansion. The rules have been cleaned up, there is support for 8 players (not that I’d ever want to play that high, but hey, it’s there if you need it), and I like the trick shot mechanic. Interestingly, there is nothing to stop you from using the new trick shot rules in Ice Cool 1 if you don’t have any interest in picking up the expansion.
Finally, I thought the new race game was a clever way to give some variety to the gameplay and I think I might even like that mode more than the base gameplay. I enjoyed that you can partner up with someone and work together to collect your fish on some really big courses. The minds at Brain Games even created some clever layouts, including ones with sliding rooms. Those can definitely cause some headaches if you don’t plan ahead. But overall, teaming up in the game was a blast and I can see myself opting for race mode more often than not.
While Ice Cool 2 wasn’t the deepest of expansions, it does address one of the biggest issues with the original version of the game. As a stand-alone expansion, it kind of falters a bit by not having a new layout for the standard game. Ice Cool 2 does more than make up for it with the great race mode.
If you don’t own either version of Ice Cool, I’d definitely get Ice Cool 2. Both versions are almost identical, but the cleaned up rulebook in Ice Cool 2 helps to make learning the game much easier. If you already own and enjoy the original Ice Cool, then picking up 2 is a no brainer. It adds a great new play mode and support of addition players.
• Base setup is just a mirror of the original