Icehouse: IceTowers

This was the first Icehouse game Crystal and I played. Afterward, we played Icehouse: Treehouse, Icehouse: Tic-Tac-Doh!, and finally, Icehouse: Zendo. The first two games Crystal and I played of IceTowers, we played with a stash each. In the third game, we controlled two stashes each, but could only split colors of the opposite type. I totally forgot about Gus, which is implemented for two player play, so each player has one stash, and there are rules to dictate what Gus can do, the third color stash. Remark: In hindsight, I now realize that we couldn't have had 32 and 30 points, since points have to add up to 60 when using two stashes. Though I have no doubt that regardless of us tallying the points up wrong, Crystal won.

The rule regarding "no minebacks" is better on Wunderland's page than on's page:
No Minebacks: When you mine out a piece, you must immediately use it to cap a different tower. If there are no legal plays available, you must set the piece down in the open. (Etiquette note: it's acceptable to take a moment to examine your options, but you should then come to a decision and play the piece. You can't sit holding onto it, waiting for something better to come up; indeed, others may insist that you play the piece before they take their next actions.)
I forgot this little snippet:
In order to cap, your piece must be the same size or smaller and a different color than the piece you are capping.
Lol, and yet again I screw up another rule, though that first screw up isn't entirely my fault... This one involves mining:
If you don't control a tower (i.e. you don't have the top piece), but two or more of your pieces are inside the tower, you may open up the stack and remove one of your pieces (your choice).
Stalemate Conditions are pretty important to know (Wunderland):
Final Piece Showdown: At the end of the game, you could wind up with an unplayed piece in your hand and nowhere attractive to put it. If there's someone else in the same situation, neither of you will want to set down your last piece, for fear of it being capped by the other player. In this case, the game ends and the players just set their pieces down. Pieces left free-standing in this way are scored as usual.

Tower Wars: Occasionally, an infinite loop situation may arise, in which several players can mine pieces and use them to take control of other towers, in a way that seems unending. Should this occur, the first thing to do is to keep playing for a while longer, since an ending may still be possible.

Think of it as a puzzle, and seek out the solution. For example, look for a chance to mine out a piece that will cause two pieces of one color to come together, thus allowing you to split the tower and break up the situation. If no resolution can be found to a Tower War, however, the game terminates and all towers involved in the war are removed, scoring no points.
Wunderland actually has rules set out for what Crystal and I thought would be good for two players, that was the two stashes each. In fact, I believe we played exactly this way, with the exception of perhaps incorrectly making actions above.
IceTowers is best when played by three or four players, but it can also be played with two. Each person plays two colors. The game proceeds as if there were four people in the game, with each player carrying out actions for both of the colors they are assigned. At the end, you get points for towers controlled by both of your colors, the winner being the player with the highest combined score.

The two colors assigned to a player are still considered to be distinct, wh,ile the person who plays them is considered to be a single player. You may cap one of your colors with the other. You can mine one color out of a tower controlled by your other color. In order to split, two adjacent pieces must still be the same color, but only your opponent can split pairs in either of your colors.
[20091226 12:14 PM]
The first game playing with the correct rules. While it seems hard to form a strategy, there are definitely some end game moves that should be planned out, and it definitely works better with the correct rules. The game is good for being short and a filler while waiting in between games. And there is so much going on, it's hard to take too much time to think about your actions, compared to chess for example. The second game with correct rules, but first with four people was even more enjoyable, as there was more chaos. One thing we agreed on was that you couldn't mine a piece out knowing it would be freestanding. This was at the end of the game, when such an action is clear. In the middle of the game, you're playing frantically, and sometimes you make a mistake, that's to be overlooked. Undo your action if that tower hasn't been touched by anybody. But you really should try and have another tower in mind in which to place your piece. Perhaps what would be okay, is if you mined and were about to put your piece somewhere, and someone invalidated your move. Then look for a new place, otherwise, it must be freestanding.

Note: On 20091227, we played IceTowers, Zendo, IceTowers, Treehouse, Galaxy, Ra, Galaxy, Galaxy.
Michael has won many times, I will ask him his strategy, if he has one, and place it here. Haha, if you wanted to really screw someone over, you just have to cover all their pieces before they can use them, but that ends up being bad for you.
I had forgotten the strategy. In fact I remembered one of the rules incorrectly! When splitting, you can only split an opponent's color. This changed our game a bit, as it is beneficial to split your own color. The first two times we played, Arash took longest and hence was able to finish off towers and keep them. As you can see, in the third game, we quickly covered all his pieces, and the few that he did get on top of a tower, got covered before he could get two in a tower to mine. In this way, it forces a player who thinks he/she can wait to reconsider going slowly in the future. In general, the goal of all players is to cover other players equally. That is, whoever looks like they have more pieces out as singles, that's where you should play.
It was late at night, but I thought that an Icehouse game would make for a good quick icebreaker. Get it? Icebreaker... Anyhow, I feel like the three games I introduced were enjoyable: IceTowers, Treehouse, and Zendo.

Played 20091225 Crystal Me. Crystal won.
Played 20091225 Crystal (32)(?) Me (30)(?). Crystal won.
Played 20091225 Crystal (80) Me (40). Crystal won.
Played 20091225 Josh (23) MichaelT (42) Steve (34) Me (21). MichaelT won.
Played 20091227 MichaelT (35) Steve (33) Me (22). MichaelT won.
Played 20091227 Kevin (21) MichaelT (30) Steve (31) Me (38). I won.
Played 20091229 Phuong (14) MichaelT (55) Stephanie (22) Young (26) Me (37). MichaelT won.
Played 20100126 Matt (31) Arash (38) Me (21). Arash won.
Played 20100126 Matt (28) Sinan (12) Arash (46) Me (34). Arash won.
Played 20100126 Matt (48) Sinan (48) Arash (0) Me (24). Matt and Sinan tie.
Played 20100126 Matt (39) Sinan (21) Arash (18) Me (42). I won.
Played 20100326 Ashley (41) MichaelB (30) Adam (23) Sam (25) Me (31). Ashley won.
Played 20100326 Ashley (45) MichaelB (18) Adam (27) Sam (20) Caroline (24) Me (46). I won.
Icehouse: IceTowers

Relevant Links:
Icehouse: IceTowers page @ here
Icehouse: IceTowers page @ here (Rules)
Icehouse: IceTowers page @ here (Original Rules)

No comments :