Shooting penguins through an icy arena in order to have them perform a few tricks seems to be pretty popular in 2017. On June 19, 2017 was awarded the children's game of the year in Hamburg. In the running were the board games Captain Silver from Troisdorf publisher Queen Games, Icecool by Brian Gomez from Amigo and The Mysterious Forest, published by HUCH! / Iello. Each of the three children's games would certainly have deserved the title, but only one could win the award in the end. If you follow the opinion of the jury, Icecool from Amigo offers a coherent overall package that allows schoolchildren to quickly find their way into the game, while at the same time motivating them to continue playing thanks to the large learning curve. In the following article, we present the children's game of the year 2017 to families who are enthusiastic about games.


Ice, Ice, Baby: Icecool is the 2017 children's game of the year

The people in charge of Amigo Spiele and the author Brian Gomez were very happy, and the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV was particularly enthusiastic about his game idea. On June 19, 2017, the award ceremony for the Children's Game of the Year 2017 took place in Hamburg and the penguins dumped the competitors as ice cold. Icecool is a child-friendly game of skill for 2 to 4 players from the age of approx. 6 years. The age recommendation is correct - also because younger players need a high level of support when playing due to the development of their motor skills icecool require. On the other hand, children from approx. 6 years of age can play the game of skill completely independently. The playing time is just under 20 minutes per round and is therefore not an annoying test of patience for children.

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The game theme is cleverly chosen. Game author Brian Gomez moves the animal race to a penguin school, where flightless seabirds prefer to catch fish in the hallways instead of being bored in the classroom. The school caretaker understandably has other plans and is doing everything he can to catch those who refuse to attend. This simple and enjoyable scenario knows how to inspire schoolchildren. After all, they are most likely familiar with similar thoughts from their own everyday school life. A simple point system is used for the evaluation, in which the runners receive points for collected fish, while the catcher receives points for captured penguins.

The game material from icecool can be seen in any case. In addition to the game instructions, children will find five cardboard boxes that can be put together to form a game board, penguins in four different colors, 16 wooden fish in five different colors and four penguin cards and penguin ID cards each. The three-dimensional structure of the game plan is a feast for the eyes and offers children a motivating setting for exciting snipping duels. Overall, the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV described the equipment of Icecool as “impressive”. In addition to the lavish furnishings, the “detailed illustrations” were particularly praised.

Game setup and preparation: no test of patience

In children's games, a preparatory phase is essential, which ends neither in time nor materially in an ordeal of the child's patience. The children's game of the year 2017, icecool, solves the challenge in a playful way. Even setting up the 3D game plan motivates children to deal with the material in detail. Is purely optical icecool a feast for the eyes that will please not only children but also adults. The boxes are fixed with the neutral fish. Then the starting equipment, consisting of the matching colored materials, is handed out to the players. One of the players slips into the role of the catcher, everyone else tries to escape in order to collect fish and points on their way through the arena.

Fish can be found on the doors through which the players have to snap their figures to collect the fish. If successful, the player takes the fish and draws a fish card. The latter provide information about the assigned point values ​​of the fish. Two fish cards with the value 1 lead to an extra move, which can create additional tension. The catcher scores if he touches an opposing penguin, regardless of whether he is actively snapping himself or is jostled by a runner himself. As a consequence, the runner has to hand in his penguin ID, which provides bonus points at the end of the game. If all runners have been caught or if one runner has collected three fish, the round ends. The game ends when every player has been a catcher.

Snapping penguins is an art

That icecool is a real game of skill, becomes clear when you consider the snapping of the penguins as the core mechanics of the game. The combination of precise shots and a well-dosed use of force turns the mere snapping into a finger exercise with a large learning curve. The feats that the penguins show in the ice-cold arena will impress even some adults so much that a test game turns into a full-length game night. Snapping the figures is not that easy.

The center of gravity of the penguins is far below, so that the first attempts at movement require some practice. Once internalized, you can not only snap the figures around the corner, but even let them jump over walls. Successful jumps increase the distance to the catcher, so that daring maneuvers not only look good, but are also extremely useful in terms of play. Experienced players even transport their penguin through several rooms.  

The jury justifies the decision, icecool to be chosen as children's game of the year 2017 as follows:

"Then someone else said that school is not cool. School is cool, icecool. Once the arena is set up, playful children of all ages can't help but let the penguins slide over the ice immediately. The learning curve is big - amazing tricks are possible with practice. Everything is right here: Brian Gomez combines an original game story, impressive equipment, detailed illustration and a demanding process to create an ideal game of skill. "

If you find “real shoveling” too painful, you should try the form of movement that is also recommended in the instructions: gentler pushing. Controlled sliding movements maneuver the pieces across the board in a similarly artful way, but are gentle on the fingers. At Icecool it is really only practice that makes perfect. 

Comment on children's game of the year 2017

The competition was fierce in 2017. Both Captain Silver from Queen Games as well The mysterious forest would have been worthy winners of the Children's Game of the Year 2017 award. The first-mentioned title is all about the pirate setting and is a playful collecting game in its purest form. The mysterious forest by HUCH! / Iello, on the other hand, is a fantastic adventure game in which the memory of the players is challenged and encouraged. In contrast, the setting of icecool rather functional, but easy to understand. The focus of the children's game of 2017 is clearly the material components paired with the enormous learning curve, which turns ambitious players into true artists of penguin pushing.

The motivational factor of icecool is extremely high, so there is a high probability that children will take this game off the shelf on a regular basis. Children can try their hand at the game sequences completely autonomously and improve their finger skills completely independently. Overall, the award is from icecool perhaps to be described as brave, because this title is anything but child's play.

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