At our more-or-less weekly Game Tastings, we have come to have increasing respect for strategy games that are easy to learn, that challenge the intelligence, and are built on some unique principle. Primarily because there are so darn few of them.
Fire and Ice is one of the few.
One of a series of four, finely crafted wooden Masterpiece Games from Out of the Box Publications, Fire and Ice is a bit like playing seven games of tic-tac-toe, simultaneously. But only enough of a bit to make the game easy to understand. And then, the fun starts.
When you move one of your pegs, you have to put one of your opponent’s pegs into the hole that you just vacated. The effect of this rule is to create a kind of mental tickle as you try to contemplate each move from the twin perspectives of your position and your opponent’s.
There’s a lovely, mathematical symmetry to the design of the board: "The board contains seven raised triangular islands. Each island has seven holes and the playing pegs fit into these holes. On each island, six lines and a circle connect the holes to make seven groups of three holes each. The islands themselves are also connected together in the same pattern."
Fire and Ice is a welcome addition to our collection of Major FUN Award winning strategy games – unique, easy to learn, a game that takes 20-30 minutes to play, and yet is deep enough for some deliciously deep thinking.