January Gaming – Just Kidding!

January 2018 was a usual, and unusual, month of gaming in the RockyMountainNavy domicile. In total, I played 16 different games a total of 47 (!) times. That’s almost 4 plays of each game!

fullsizeoutput_57bOf course, that is not what happened. January was very usual in that I got my usual weekend family game night (1754: Conquest – The French and Indian War, 1812: The Invasion of Canada, 878 Vikings – Invasions of England, and The Expanse Board Game). I also got a few extra games in, usually solo, and I even started looking at a new rules set (Lock ‘n Load Tactical: Starter Kit). Together these accounted for 11 games and 16 plays.

The unusual part of the month was the many kids games. You see, Mrs. RockyMountainNavy is teaching/tutoring young kids and she incorporates gaming into her time with them. Actually, she incorporates gaming into MY time with them, as she is usually talking with the parents while the RMN Boys and myself play games with the kids. She has two students right now, a kindergarten and 4th grader. This is why games like Animal Upon Animal or Ice Cool and even Math Dice Jr. appear on the play list. ¬†All told, there were 4 games I played with the kids for a total of 23 plays – that’s basically half of the plays this month. The kids gaming has also changed my buying habits; right now we are usually searching for the best deal on various games and buying them for the parents. Mrs. RMN also wants to take several to Korea when she visits family later this year and see’s her brother-in-law who is fading fast from Alzheimers. She figures the “kids” games will be good for him too.

I expect February to be pretty similar. Actually, I hope to get a bit more family gaming or some 2-player games in too.

Kids Gaming by an Old Grognard

Gulo Gulo Box
Courtesy BGG?

Although I have been a wargamer since 1979, it was not until the mid-2000s that I started into family gaming. At the time the youngest RockyMountainNavy spawn was just born and the oldest was 8 years old. We made some great purchases; games that are still favorites like Gulo Gulo or Chicken Cha Cha Cha or The Magic Labyrinth. As the RMN Kids grew up, we (logically) moved away from children’s games.

(Of minor interest, Gulo Gulo was the subject of one of my first-ever posts on this blog…waaaay back in 2007.)

This year, Mrs. RMN has started tutoring English to young kids. She is also a strong believer in tabletop games as great teaching tools. This means the rest of the RMN family is occasionally called upon to play a game with the youngsters. Currently, there are two main students, a kindergarten and 4th grader. Playing with these kids means we have pulled out the older games listed above but also means we we are on the lookout for new games too.

As a result, the RMN Household has been adding children’s games to our collection. This past year saw us add Ghostbusters: Protect the Barrier which is really a reskinned version of the Board Game Geek #4 Children’s Game Ghostfightin’ Treasure Hunters. More recently, Ice Cool has entered the collection, and other family games that are well suited for kids, like Kingdomino, are getting played too. As a matter of fact, when I checked my BGG collection this morning I discovered that we actually have five of the top 25 Children’s Games. Similarly, we have 11 of the Top 100 Family Games. Not too bad for an Old Grognard!

Playing Ice Cool from Brain Games Publishing


Being a Cool Kid – Playing #IceCool from @BrainGames_int

Ice Cool from Brain Games Publishing is the 2017 Kinderspiel Des Jahres winner. This is a simple dexterity (flicking) game of little penguins skating around a school. One player is “the catcher” – or hall monitor – while the others are “runners” – or students skating through the school. Every round, the Runners are trying to get through doorways and collect fish (scoring cards) while the Hall Monitor tries to take their hall pass away. A game ends after a number of rounds equal to the number of players and after each player has been the hall monitor once. Ice Cool is an excellent game that is equally fun for kids and adults.

Courtesy Brain Games Publishing

The most innovative feature of Ice Cool is the “box-in-a-box” format. The game box is actually four boxes, each slightly smaller than the other, that are connected to make the game board. This gives the game a 3D effect of halls and walls. The players must flick their penguins which are plastic weighted tokens that fly around or through or even over the rooms, doors, and walls. Very simple and direct; perfect in fact for the 6+ crowd the game is marketed towards.

Courtesy Brain Games Publishing

I bought Ice Cool because Mrs. RockyMountainNavy is teaching young kids English these days and often asks the RMN Boys (or myself) to play a game with the kids at the end of their lesson. She is a strong believer in the teaching power of tabletop games, especially the social aspects (communicate with others, take your turn, follow the rules) that video gaming so often lacks. This weekend, the RMN Boys and myself took the game for a test play. Ice Cool plays fast (20 min or less) and is fun. Flicking the penguins does take some finesse and patience; more than some youngsters may have. The same 3D walls that make the game look good can block bigger hands and make flicking difficult. There are rules allowing one to move the penguin away from the walls which may be enough.

Don’t let those (minor) negative points fool you; Ice Cool is a very fun family game. At first, we set up the game like we normally do on the dining table with all of us sitting around. Almost immediately we pushed back the chairs and found ourselves constantly moving around the table, treating the game box more like a pool table as we constantly jockeyed to get that perfect angle for our shot. There were many laughs and good natured ribbing to be had.

Ice Cool will be a fun family filler game in the RMN Household and will be used with Mrs. RMN’s students with great effect. It is almost impossible not to enjoy this fun flick-em-up game with such a cute theme and simple game play.

Featured image courtesy Brain Games Publishing.