Ice Duo Review

Ice Duo is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2 players. In this game, players have two games to choose from. In Ice Dice, players will be rolling dice and trying to acquire 3 sets of pyramids each in a single color. Of course they’ll have to be careful as their opponent can steal from their collection. The first player to do this will be declared the winner. In Twin Win, players will be moving pyramids around on the board in an effort to create a configuration of pyramids that matches one of their goals. The first player to do this will be declared the winner.

To begin Ice Dice, the pyramids are stacked up and sorted by size and color and placed to the side of the playing area. This area is called the Bank. The dice are placed between this area and the Bank. The first player is chosen and play now begins. To set up for Twin Win, the board is placed in the middle of the play area. The pyramids are stacked in five trees consisting of one of each size stacked on top of each other from large on the bottom to small on the top, each of three different colors. One tree is placed on each of the square spaces on the board. The Twin Win cards are shuffled together before dealing out two cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down near the board. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game of Ice Dice is played over a series of turns, with each player taking a turn. On a player’s turn they will roll both of the dice. The player will then take a pyramid of the size and color indicated from the Bank and place it on the Counter. The Counter is the area between the two player’s play areas, called their Vault. If there are none of the specific size and color in the Bank, the player must steal it from the other player. A couple of things of note, when rolled the atom symbol means that the player may choose any color of pyramid that is not already on the Counter. If the pyramid die shows two different pyramids, then the player may choose between the two sizes shown. Once placed, the player may choose to roll again or they may choose to stop. This continues until the player stops or Busts Out. Busting Out occurs when the player rolls the same color as a piece already on the Counter. If this happens, the player must return all the pieces on the Counter back to the Bank. Once the player chooses to stop, the pyramids on the Counter are then moved into their Vault. It should be noted that if a player manages to roll all five colors without Busting Out, then those pyramids are placed in the player’s Vault and they may then take another turn. One other thing to note is that if a player’s Vault already contains all the size and color of pyramids that they rolled, then they get nothing for that roll but are allowed to roll again.

This game continues until one player has three single color Trios. A Trio is a group of three pieces of each size. It should be noted that the player may have two Trios of the same color. The first player to collect these three Trios is the winner.

The game of Twin Win is played over a series of turns, with each player taking a turn. On a player’s turn they must take two actions. They may choose to either move a piece or they may change a goal. To move a piece, the player may choose to either move one piece two spaces or two pieces one space each. When moving pieces, the arrows on the board must always be followed. It should be noted that when moving a piece, any color of piece may be moved but only the topmost piece is allowed to be moved. Also of note, pieces can be stacked onto any size pyramid. That means that a small pyramid can be placed on a larger pyramid and vise versa.

The other action a player may take is to change their goal. To do this, the player simply trades in one of their Goal cards and draws a new one to replace it. The old Goal card is placed on the bottom of the stack. Once the player has taken two actions, play passes to the other player.

This game continues until one player has created one of the patterns from their Goal cards on the board. Once this happens, the player simply reveals their card showing the created pattern and that player is the winner.

One last thing should be noted, there are two other types of groups that have not been mentioned but will appear throughout the game, the Nest and the Tree. The Nest is when three different sized pyramids are stacked together with a small inside a medium inside a large pyramid. The Tree is when three different sized pyramids are stacked with a small on top of a medium on top of a large pyramid in the form of a tree.

COMPONENTS
This is one nice looking game in a small package. There are lots of colorful plastic pyramids in the box. Each one of these is brightly colored and comes in 3 different sizes; small, medium and large. There are 5 different colored sets and each set contains 2 of each size. Each pyramid is translucent and has small pips on it, either 1, 2 or 3. The 3 different sizes fit nicely inside each other to nest. I absolutely love the colors and how nice each of these looks and feels. The game also comes with a set of dice, a small game board and some euro sized cards. The dice are engraved and are colorful as well. One die has the different colors with some fun shapes while the other has different pyramid sizes or selections of sizes on it. These are really high quality and super nice too. The board has circles and squares with arrows pointing in different directions on it. The board is really well designed and is also high quality. The cards are euro sized and have either a Nest or Tree of one of the 5 colors on it. These are the goal cards for Twin Win and are very easy to understand. Needless to say, this is a game full of high quality components that looks really great. I love how small the game is, making it the perfect size for travel. The game is super nice. I absolutely adore the different colored pieces and how well everything fits together. This is a game that looks fun and will draw people in with the bright colors. I’m very pleased with all the components.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for these games consist of a double sided, multi-folded sheet of small paper. There’s also another of these sheets that contains some basic information about these types of games by Looney Labs and it also introduces many of the others in the line of games from them. This second one explains different concepts like sizes, groups, orientations and pips. The rulebook itself is fairly simple and quick to read. There are only a couple of small pictures and a few examples, mostly of dice rolls for Ice Dice. However it’s not like there’s a lot needed for either of these games. So the good thing is that you won’t have to spend a ton of time with a rulebook. What’s here is good enough to get you oriented on the system and how to play each of the two games included in the box. I will say that there are some basic setup instructions that you have to pretty much figure out on your own as it’s not really spelled out in the rulebook; such as putting out the board and placing the goal cards where they can be used for Twin Win. Not that it’s a big deal, but some players may miss that and wind up playing the game wrong or wondering what’s wrong with the game. Things like this are a pet peeve of mine that I wish game companies would be better at keeping from happening. I always say, don’t assume that the player knows how to set up or play your game, just tell them so there’s no confusion. Aside from the minor irritants of setup, the rulebook does a good job of explaining how to play the actual games. Overall I think the rules are just fine.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
These are two fun two player games. Both are quite short and only take around 20-30 minutes to play. Ice Dice is just a really fun push your luck dice rolling game. It’s all about getting 3 sets of pyramids, each set of a single color. This is probably the fastest of the 2 games and it relies on a lot of luck. The thing about this game that I like is that as the game goes on, it’s a lot harder to keep rolling without losing what you’ve already got out on the Counter. In the early part of the game, you can push your luck and keep rolling without too much fear of messing up. That is unless you have my luck with dice and roll poorly on your second roll. This can allow the other player to catch up with you if they’re falling behind due to good rolls on your part. I like also like the stealing part but my daughter only liked it when she was able to take one of my pyramids. Overall this one was a lot of fun. Twin Win is a little bit more strategic but is still simple enough for younger players like my daughter to enjoy. With this one it’s more about moving things around to be able to match one of your goal cards. Of course you don’t know what your opponent has so you also have to watch what they’re doing and try to make sure that they don’t stack up the right configuration of pyramids too. It can be a lot of fun moving things around and trying to out think your opponent. Of course you can get too focused on what you’re trying to do that you completely miss what you’re opponent is doing creating a win for them. Don’t ask. Needless to say, this one is a lot of fun too. Having never played any of the other pyramid style games, I don’t know a lot about the system. However I think that any players that enjoy those games, should love this double pack of fun. This is one that I would highly recommend. It’s colorful and full of fun. My daughter approves.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Ice Duo is a collection of 2 fun games in the pyramid collection of games. Both Ice Dice and Twin Win are short and fun games that can be played in around 20 minutes or so. The components are really high quality and brightly colored. They really draw you in. The rulebook is small and simple but doesn’t fully explain setup which might be a bit confusing for new players. The games are really fun and easy enough for younger players to enjoy. This is one that fans of any of the pyramids games should really enjoy. I’d even say new players should find lots to like in this combo of games. This is one that I would highly recommend. It’s a fun blast of color in a small package.
9 out of 10

 

For more information about Fluxx and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.

http://looneylabs.com

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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