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Board Game Accessory: Looney Pyramids

Icehouse pieces are colored pyramids that are used in many published and user-created games. They were originally part of the single game Icehouse created by Andrew Looney. The game is based on a fictional game he originally created for a story he wrote. They have been renamed to Looney Pyramids.

The general utility of the pieces: They stack in two different ways and can be laid on their side and pointed in a direction, and their general "cool" look, gave rise to people creating many other games that use them. Some need nothing but the pieces, others use the pieces * along with other generic easy-to-come-by gaming equipment like dice, markers, or checker/chess boards.

Board Game: Volcano

Icehouse pieces have been sold in box sets, like in IceTowers, in Cooperation, or in individual "stashes" which contained 15 (5 sets of the 3 sizes) of one color. They also used to sell them in 5 colors x 3 sizes for 15 pieces in Rainbow (red, yellow, green, blue, black) or Xeno (orange, cyan, purple, white, clear). All of these forms have been discontinued. Currently they encourage people to buy plastic pieces in Nomids, Martian Chess, Homeworlds, or Ice Duo sets, which contain a variety of colors of 3-size set of pieces. Fold-together cardboard sets and are also available. Stashes cut from semi-precious stones are no longer available.

In 2002 the book Playing With Pyramids was published containing 12 of the more popular games.

In 2016 the game collection Pyramid Arcade was published containing 22 different games. Andrew Looney described it as his "magnum opus". Many of the special dice, cards and boards, described below, which are needed to play some Icehouse games, are included in that collection.

List of Icehouse games

This is a list of the Icehouse games listed on BoardGameGeek. After each game's name is a list of the extra items that you will need to play the game. This list assumes that you have a full complement of ten stashes in order to play.

See Components: Looney Pyramid Games for a listing of all games.
(See also: Icehouse Pyramid Games Sorted by Average Rating)

Published as stand alone games
Published as Treehouse expansions

Published in Pyramid Arcade from Looney Labs.

Published in 3House from Looney Labs. All require 3 Treehouse sets.
Published in Playing With Pyramids
Abridged rules published in Ice-7 cards.
Published in Hypothermia #15 from Looney Labs.
Published in Hypothermia #16
Web published on the Looney Labs website or S.L.I.C.K.
Web Published at IcehouseGames.ORG wiki
Web Published by Invisible City Productions
Web Published by José Carlos de Diego Guerrero
Web Published by Tyler Tinsley
  • Drip - Plastic storage tube
Web Published by Glenn Overby
Web Published by Daniel Efran
Web Published by Doug Orleans
Web Published by Ryan McGuire

How many pyramids do you need?

As mentioned above, a stash is 15 pyramids of the same color (five of each of the three sizes), and a "standard Icehouse set" is four stashes, each of its own color. You can play almost every game with a standard set. If you're creating a standard set by buying Treehouse sets instead of individual stashes, you'll need to buy five of them, and they all need to be the same color scheme (Rainbow or Xeno, but Rainbow is preferable because some games are designed for a standard set in red, yellow, green, and blue).

Many games are designed for one stash per player; to play these games with the new Treehouse sets, again, you'll need five of them, all in the same color scheme (Rainbow or Xeno).

There are a few games which can be played with a single stash or Treehouse set, and a few more which can be played with three Treehouse sets of the same color scheme.

What other accessories might you need?

  • Stone Markers - Zendo requires stones of three colors to play. Other games might require more.
  • 8×8 Chessboard - An 8×8 chessboard can be used for all smaller size boards you might need.
  • Personal Screens - Some games require player to make hidden decisions, so player screens are needed.
  • Deck of Tarot Cards - A few games have been made that use a deck of Tarot cards.
  • Foam mat - Some people use foam mats or shelf liner for Zendo to hold unstable koans in place.
  • Used CD - One game from Playing with Pyramids uses an old CD.
  • Piecepack - Piecepack is another game system that has generic components that can be used to play many games.
  • Hexpack - Hexpack is a hexagonal extension of the piecepack, but its hexagonal tiles are immensely useful for making modular gameboards.
  • Volcano Board - A 5x5 or 6x6 board made specifically for Volcano/Mega-Volcano and for use with other games.
  • Modular Boards - A set of 4x4 boards designed to be set up in combinations of 2 to 6 for playing games with varying numbers of players.
  • Martian Coasters Boards - A set of four colorful 4" beverage coasters.

The Volcano board

The volcano board is a 5x5 board originally created to aid in playing the icehouse game Volcano. A variant of Volcano, Mega-Volcano, is played on a 6x6 board. Since its introduction, just like the pieces, many more games have been created that use it.

Board Game: Volcano

Board Game: Volcano

Board Game: Martian Mud Wrestling

The Modular IceHouse Board

Many of the the icehouse games that require an 8x8 chessboard can be played using these modular boards originally designed by Elliott "Eeyore" Evans. The boards are designed in such a way that you can connect 2-6 of them and form a complete game board. A file containing a homemade set of images to print out these boards can be found in the files section of Martian Chess.
Direct file link: Martian Chess boards

Board Game: Martian Chess

Board Game: Martian Chess

Board Game: Martian Chess

Family: Components: Looney Pyramid Games

The Rhomboid IceHouse Board

This board set was designed for use with any IceHouse games that require a modular board. A file containing a set of images to print out these boards can be found in the files section of Martian Chess.
Direct file link: Rhombus boards for Martian Chess

Family: Components: Looney Pyramid Games

Martian Coasters Board

Martian Coasters is a set of four colorful 4" beverage coasters. Arrows on the boards limit the directions in which a piece may move.

Board Game: Martian Coasters

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