In order to appreciate IceTowers, you need to know that, despite all appearences, IceTowers really isn’t a game. It’s a toy. A toy you make games with. A set, actually, of plastic pyramids. A lovely set of transparent (well, except for the white set), nesting plastic pyramids, each set consisting of three different size pyramids. That’s a total of 60 of them.

So lovely a set that it would be unfair to judge it by any single game that you might find yourself playing with it. Which is why that in addition to the rules on the box, you find rules for six more games on cards and more rules for more games in the accompanying rulebooklet. Which almost explains why you also, in the very same box, find a paperback book titled “The Empty City.”

A paperback book? Indeed. A 150 page story, by the game/toy’s inventor Andrew Looney. You read correctly. Andrew Looney. Of Looney Labs. A fantasy about “a secret city whose dreams blur with reality, eccentric characters populate the diners and donut shops, and instead of chess, everyoneplays an exotic game with pyramids.”

As for the suggested game, whose rules are printed on the very box, the official, so to speak, IceTowers game in which everybody plays simultaneously while building stacks and, in a similarly simultaneous manner, trying to capture each other’s?

The older folk didn’t find the fun of it that apparent.

But our two teenage Tasters did. A lot of fun. Which made us think again about the game, and realize more about what it takes to discover the fun of it, and how much fun therein awaits.

So we decided to think of it a toy. And award it accordingly.

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