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Subject: Gaming with 8-12 year olds - Ice Cool rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This review is part of my series of reviews of how games have worked with my children, now aged 8 to 12. For the full list see: My children's game reviews - children aged between 2 and 12.

Fun Components:

This game gets full marks for fun components. The box is actually a series of boxes laid inside each other, which when unstacked become rooms with doors, that you connect with wooden pieces. Then further wooden fish go on top of the doors, and you flick wobbly penguins around these rooms trying to go through the right doors to collect the fish. The artwork on the rooms is fun, and each penguin has a "licence", and the fish cards you collect for going through the doors are also attractive.

Simplicity of rules:

We were taught this game at our local games cafe, and it took the explainer less time to explain the rules than he had to set up the game! It is a very simple game - just flick your penguins when it's your turn to go through the doors, unless you're the catcher, in which case your target is the other penguins.

Randomness:

The penguins wobble in particularly unexpected directions at times when you're flicking, but older children and adults do have a slight advantage in their ability to flick a penguin in the direction they want. Having said that, even my youngest has managed some impressive flicks at times, including one when he jumped over a door instead of through it, and my older son managed to go through three doors in one flick one time! This randomness in where the penguins are headed does act as a leveller, so that older players don't get it all their own way. Plus, you receive cards valued between 1 and 3, and it's entirely possible for someone with less cards to beat someone from some lucky card pick-ups.

Did the children enjoy it?

The children really enjoyed their first play, so much so that my daughter used her own pocket money that she had saved up to buy herself a copy of it, which is a first!! After acquiring our own copy it has appeared at every games session since, and has been very popular, and always results in lots of laughter and giggling.

And how is it from the adult's point of view?

It's fun. I'm not sure I'll bother pulling it out with adults, but then it's seeing plenty of play with children, as I think it needs the more childish level of enjoyment to make it a great game, but I can see how it was nominated for SdJ, and it's definitely been a good acquisition.
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