As of yesterday, it’s officially winter here in the Northern Hemisphere! I was really hoping to tie this post in to a lovely pre-holiday snowstorm, but Suzy Snowflake and Jack Frost have been ignoring the Chicago area for the last couple weeks — it really hasn’t even been very cold around here. *sigh* But hey, it’s technically winter so it seems a fitting time to talk about Igloo Mania from Outset Media.
One of the games I owned as a kid was Don’t Break The Ice — the one with the weird red guy sitting on the chair. It was terribly hard for a kid to set up and my parents got sick of me asking, so I didn’t get to play that often. And while I liked the game, it hasn’t changed much in the last couple decades — although, now there’s a penguin in the middle unless you have the Disney Frozen edition and then it looks like it’s a weird totem-like stack of the characters. I get it that it’s a classic, but it wasn’t that user friendly and kind of needs a refresh, so instead you should look at Igloo Mania. It’s an igloo — which is just way cooler visually, and Igloo Mania is much easier for a kid to set up. The blocks simply stack on the igloo form. Then you add Parka Pete (do not forget to do this now!) and then once it’s set up you pick up the base to remove it to the playing area (for younger kids it says you can keep it on the form but I didn’t try this). I timed myself twice setting it up with the blocks mixed up and both times it was just under 3 minutes to set up (2:55 and 2:48) so while it’s not super quick, it doesn’t take that long either and there were no disasters with it breaking while picking it up and moving it. I will concede that first time set up is a PAIN. You have to put all the little number stickers on the blocks and I was going to skip it, but it makes setting up every time after that much MUCH quicker and you need them for game. Just don’t expect to play right away out of the box. Give yourself 5-10 minutes before telling the kids it’s game time.
Now that it’s time to play, everyone grabs their little Penguin key-like things and they’re going to take turns pulling blocks off hoping not to knock off Parka Pete. But that’s not all! When you’re pulling out blocks if a block falls outside the igloo you must collect that one too. Why? Because those number stickers are points and to be the winner you must have the lowest number of points at the end of the game. Whoever knocks off Parka Pete gets stuck with all of the blocks inside the igloo — so basically they’re definitely going to lose.
Overall, the initial set up is a pain because of all of the stickers but after that I enjoyed it more than the classic Don’t Break the Ice. I felt that the blocks inside/outside the igloo scoring added some strategy to the game play and it opens it up to being a 3-4-player (not just 2 player) game.
Igloo Mania Stats:
~$20 Amazon, local game stores
~15 minutes (including ~3 to set up)
Now that it’s almost the end of the work week before Santa comes, I want to take a moment to wish everyone a happy holiday, so Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukkah, Happy Belated Winter Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Yuletide, and any other holiday I unintentionally forgot. No matter what you celebrate I hope you take a moment as this year winds down to enjoy some game time with family and friends. Win or lose, I hope you find this last week of 2017 one filled with love, hope, friendship, and fun! -Kim