Icehouse games with 2-page pdf summaries
Mike Peterson
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Irving
Texas
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I've got my 5-year tag (I'm actually closer to 7.5 right now) but have really never contributed much to the Geek and I wanted to start giving back, so I finally buckled down and started creating 2-page (one piece of paper front and back) rules summaries for all of the Icehouse games that I really like to (or desperately want to) play in the hopes that a) I could more easily convince my wife/friends to play more often and b) be one step closer to complying with the Starship Captain guidelines at http://looneylabs.ning.com/page/starship-captains. After collecting more or less my definitive list of "I really want to play these particular Icehouse games as much as I can or as soon as I can" I set about making each one fit on the front and back of a single sheet.

For some games this was as simple as copy-pasting and then simply reformatting to look more consistent with the rest of the games I was formatting. For others it required lots of creative editing (RAMbots, I'm looking at you!) to figure out what was critical for understanding the game and eliminating rules questions vs. what was optional. There's a few more games that I'm still cranking away on or considering adding, but I'm pretty happy with what's done. It all fits nicely in a 1/2" binder with several copies of the rules sleeved. Where possible I've included a simple board on the rule summary itself, eliminating the need to carry an extra Volcano board, for instance. My binder also has extra sleeves for Ee0r's funky Martian chess boards that allow you to create chess boards with anywhere from 2-6 4x4 quadrants and a set of Martian coasters in a plethora of colors. It also has a spreadsheet index in the clear outside pocket on the back that lets me quickly reference how many players each game is good for (including allowing me to search for games for a specific number of players), whether it's a perfect information game, whether it has an unusual board, etc.

I've left the list open for your additions, but please only add games that have 2-page (or less) summaries **in pdf** on the Geek (just being short but posted somewhere on the web or in .doc doesn't count). Following my general formatting would be an honor, but is not necessary for game inclusion on the list. DO remember, however, to cite the web location of the full game rules, as I have in mine. Hopefully we can make more Icehouse games more accessible to everyone.
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1. Board Game: Dog Eat Dog [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
Texas
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I've heard of this game being referred to as "Risk light" and I'm not sure I agree, but the dice mechanic is more or less the same. Dog Eat Dog plays quickly and simply with an elegant scoring system that sometimes makes it worth your while to "waste" a powerful piece on a weak piece. It's a mix of attack/capture and "wait for the best moment, but not too long" that really begs to be played over and over. Worth learning (though not playing regularly) with two players, although you don't use all of the rules until you have at least three.

File link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64782/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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2. Board Game: Homeworlds [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:2218]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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Homeworlds has been described by Andrew Looney (who did not create the game) as the ideal "space chess" and I tend to agree. Expect a tough learning curve when you first start to tackle this game, but it gets far more rewarding the more you play. Interestingly, although the game is ostensibly about space combat it's at least as much about resource management of the global set of resources. (You use the same pool both to build ships AND to "discover" new star systems that you travel to.) There are some great strategy hints out there for Homeworlds and I tried to include the best in my summary. You absolutely must try Homeworlds. Plenty of online play, if nothing else, makes trying it easy and rewarding, although face-to-face is obviously the preferred method of play.

File Link: Done. Trying to submit to John Cooper for approval.
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3. Board Game: Infiltrate [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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I'm really intrigued by Infiltrate but haven't played it yet. The different abilities of each piece and the army building sound like a neat combination although the point values of the pieces vs. their point value seems like it might be unbalanced. Also, the slow, limited movement sounds on the face as though it's too easy to counter your opponent's movement. In any case, I guess I'll just have to play it a bunch to determine whether any of that's the case. Darn!

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64800/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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4. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:500]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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Where I started my journey into Icehouse (because it had four stashes included). Zendo rocks my socks. The rules are simple and fun. If you haven't tried Zendo then you're missing out. The rules were already under two pages so I added a section with examples of rule criteria and mostly just formatted the document to look like it belonged in the binder with the rest. I didn't actually change anything from the web site other than formatting, so it's slightly inconsistent with the other summaries, but no so much that you'll really notice.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/65647/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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5. Board Game: Quicksand [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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Pentago is another favorite game of mine. The impact of the rotating quadrants on the board structure is always interesting and full of depth. Quicksand takes that and makes the game about capturing the opponent instead of line building. Now that I've played Quicksand, I can confirm that this aspect totally feels the same as Pentago. The addition of the jumping pieces is fascinating and totally puts Quicksand near the top of my list of favorite Icehouse games.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64809/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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6. Board Game: Amoeba [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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I'm in desperate need to go buy chips for a few PnP projects and hope to snag enough to give this a shot, too. The "place, then play" mechanic looks like it'll feel like reverse Carcassonne a bit, which I think I'll enjoy.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64778/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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7. Board Game: Pikemen [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:4416]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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Pikemen is moderately chess-like although it doesn't actually feel much like chess at all. The ability to make pieces uncapturable is interesting, although I have a fundamental distrust of the play balance in any game that lets me move invincible objects. That said it's an interesting game that'll certainly stretch your brain a bit.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64807/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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8. Board Game: Logger [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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I was born and grew up in Oregon, which exports trees all over the world. How could I pass up on this game? Logger performed really well in one of the Icehouse design contests, too. Of course, I haven't played it yet...

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64801/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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9. Board Game: Pylon [Average Rating:6.91 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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Pylon's a really neat game but it'll take you a few plays to start realizing the strategy. The first game or two that you play you'll feel like victory was more or less random, although you realize that there MUST be some rationale for why you got trounced. One of the fascinating things about Pylon to me is how the placement phase is at least (if not more) important than the actual play phase. You have to make some of the most important decisions with the least amount of information, but so does your opponent. How things shape as you start to see the quality of your earlier guesses and compensate is nifty.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64808/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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10. Board Game: Volcano [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:2042]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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I'll admit that Volcano just hasn't fascinated me yet. It takes a while to set up, takes longer to clean up and the solitaire is much more like a puzzle than a game, which doesn't appeal to me as strongly. I haven't played it 2+ player yet, though, and it's possible that if I can convince my wife to play it'll be right up her alley. The trick is convincing myself it'll be worth trying to get her excited about a game that only mildly piques my interest. All the same, I figured it was worth pdfing the rules just in case.

File Link: Done. Waiting for LL approval of rules.
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11. Board Game: Mundialito (Gold Cup) [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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I'm excited to play this one although I know it's going to take finding a flexible opponent to do it. You play a team that's trying to move their "ball" to the other end of the field while the opposing team is doing the same with a ball of their own. Movement is restricted to just the arrows as printed on the Martian Coasters. This sounds like a game you need to practice to be good at, which I like.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64806/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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12. Board Game: Extinction [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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Haven't played this one yet. It's supposed to be one of the most chess-like of the Icehouse games. Waiting for a chance to play this one with my dad (2000 miles away), one of the only people I can find who will play chess and other perfect information games with me.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64986/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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13. Board Game: Ambush [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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Haven't gotten to play it yet, but Ambush looks fun. I've heard that Quicksand is considered by many to be a superior game, but I've got a summary for that, too, so it'll be easy to see what I decide.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64777/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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14. Board Game: RAMbots [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:5415]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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This game was ridiculously difficult to get onto only two pages. It's essentially "Robo Rally light" although it has some elements (like the fact that beacons keep moving around) that make it more interesting to me in some ways. Also: it plays in much less time, which is a plus.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/65530/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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15. Board Game: Stack Control [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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Stack Control reminds me a lot of Pylon (although they actually have little in common) and when I get a chance to play I really want to see if it benefits from a scaled board and a placement phase like Pylon has. It'll be interesting either way, I'm sure.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64985/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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16. Board Game: Invaders of Mars [Average Rating:6.58 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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I haven't played this one yet. I'm intrigued by the infection mechanic, but it'll take the right opponent/group to play this one. After all, the rules include the line "...all of these actions should be done with the setting in mind. Foolishly fleeing Martians are just as likely to make loud, attention grabbing screams as their earthling counterparts." The concept is more or less "try to avoid having your pieces become the target of the neutral Aliens while finding a way to let your opponent die before you do."

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64984/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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17. Board Game: Synapse-Ice [Average Rating:6.53 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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I'm really interested to get this game on the table, although it's guaranteed to be a brain burner for the first half-dozen or so games. The rules are ridiculously simple although you may not understand them until you look at the play examples.

Update: After playing this game a few times it's definitely a good, solid game, but if I'm going to bring the 'mids to the table for a thinker I'm probably going to opt for Martian Chess, Branches, Twigs and Thorns, Homeworlds, Dog Eat Dog, etc. Synapse-Ice was interesting and worth playing, but it just doesn't hit my list of favorites, although I'd certainly play it again if it's the one game someone really wanted to play.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64815/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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18. Board Game: Zark City [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:5495]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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Andy Looney has a new 2.0 ruleset up on the web (not posted here on the Geek, unfortunately...) done in a 2-page style!

I haven't played the new rules yet which, I understand, make the game a ton of fun to play, as opposed to the slow, hard-to-win game that was the 1.0 version.

File link: http://wunderland.com/WTS/Andy/Games/ZarkCity/ZarkCityVersio...
Alternate: http://wunderland.com/WTS/Andy/Games/ZarkCity
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19. Board Game: Skurðir [Average Rating:6.42 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
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Irving
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Transportation games - Icehouse style! I haven't played it yet but I'm really looking forward to it. I like the scoring mechanic. If I end up playing with less than four I'll be curious, too, to see if the non-player colors score more or less than the players. They aren't included in the scoring for purposes of determining victory and I can see how both using them extensively and avoiding them would have advantages at different points.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/65142/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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20. Board Game: Blam! [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:6752]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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Everything I've read says you either get the strategies in Blam! or you don't understand them at all and you get your butt handed to you perpetually by players who do. That sounds neat. I haven't played this one despite it being accessible online. ('cuz I've been doing all the rules summaries, natch. I'm not a slacker or a stacker of games that I have all intentions of playing. Oh no. Not me.)

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/65193/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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21. Board Game: Armada [Average Rating:6.30 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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Armada's a fun, light game. It's like Pirates of the Spanish Main (and it's expansions) but far simpler and quicker. I haven't gotten to play it too many times yet but it feels like it'll suffer from a "this is the best choice of 12 points of pyramids for your Armada" syndrome after a while. I'm still interested to play it at least until that point, however.

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64779/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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22. Board Game: Zagami [Average Rating:6.26 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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I reformatted and compressed Zagami on request. It wasn't far outside of the parameters so I only ended up having to crop down a few sections. The tough part about this game for me is getting exactly four people at the table. Enjoy!

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/65575/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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23. Board Game: Kotra [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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I LOVE Backgammon. It's absolutely one of my favorite games, probably in the top 3. I'm really excited about Kotra. It's essentially Backgammon (albeit, Martian-style) on a much smaller 2D board. Also: who can pass up a chance to use 2d4 for something other than the damage caused by a pair of daggers?

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/65143/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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24. Board Game: Martian Chess [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:4572]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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Martian Chess is a great game. It's got a hefty learning curve that burns your brain out as you try to figure out ways to fork and attack without leaving yourself vulnerable, but it's great fun all the way. Learn it on a traditional chessboard with two people first before you start to really dive in with Ee0r's Martian Chess board segments as shown.

File Link: Done. Waiting for LL approval of rules.
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25. Board Game: Branches and Twigs and Thorns [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:7793]
Mike Peterson
United States
Irving
Texas
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This game is AWESOME. 2-player is totally the way you want to learn this game, but more players is absolutely where it's at. I'm dying to drop this on the table with 5 or 6 quadrants thanks to Ee0r's Martian Chessboard sections .

File Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64780/2-page-pdf-rules-sum...
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