a two-player Icehouse game
by Travis Larchuk
Be the first player to rescue all 5 of your hostages by returning them to your base.
What you need
2 differently-colored stashes of Icehouse pieces (1 per player). Do not use opaque pieces, as they will make the game unnecessarily difficult to play.
Players sit on opposite sides of the board. The row of spaces closest to you is called your entry row. The off-board area in front of you is called your base.
Put your 15 pieces into your base.
Give the five small pieces of your color to your opponent. These are the hostages. Arrange the hostages you are given in 5 different spaces in your entry row. (You will have 3 spaces left over.)
Flip a coin. The winner of the toss gets to decide whether or not they want to have the first turn.
The player who has the first turn fills in the 3 empty spaces in their entry row with 3 units built from some of the resources currently in their base, as explained in the next section. The player who has the second turn then does the same.
A unit is comprised of one to three Icehouse pieces.
On a turn, you may
Introducing a unit
To introduce a new unit, there must be at least one empty space in the entry row. Using resources in your base, build a unit and place it on an empty space in the entry row.
Moving a unit
Please refer to “units” above for basic movement rules.
You may only move through and into empty spaces, unless you are absorbing an enemy unit or a hostage of your own color.
1 and 2 piece units are able to use the “absorb” power. This power is used for capturing enemy units and rescuing hostages of your own color. Upon entering the space of the target, the absorbing unit stops and is placed ON TOP of the target unit/hostage. The target unit/hostage’s piece(s) have now become a part of the absorbing unit. (The two have merged, combined, fused, cahootzed, if you will.) If this causes the overall unit to become more than three pieces big, the absorbing player must forfeit the excess pieces from the unit being absorbed. If there is more than one excess piece to choose from, the absorbing player may choose which pieces to give his/her opponent (again, these all must come from the unit being absorbed, and nowhere else.) These excess pieces are placed in the opponent’s base. The absorbing player's turn is now over.
You may not absorb single hostages (not part of a larger 2 or 3 piece unit) of your opponent’s color. However, if a hostage is part of an opponent’s 2 or 3 piece unit, you may absorb the hostage as you absorb the entire unit.
3 piece units cannot absorb... therefore, they cannot enter spaces occupied by other units of any type.
To return a unit to its home base, pretend that your base is an extra, off-the board row which is just behind the entry row, and move units into your base that way.
Once a unit is in your base, you can separate its pieces and use them to build other units. Enemy pieces are yours to keep, except if you have captured a hostage of your opponent’s color-in that case, the hostage must immediately be returned to an empty space in your entry row.
Restructuring a unit
Instead of introducing a unit or moving a unit, you may want to restructure one of your units currently on the board. This simply means that you re-arrange the pieces within that unit so that the preferred movement piece is on top. (This is a particularly useful move to use once you have absorbed a hostage of your own color.)
The game could end in one of two possible ways.
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