Icehouse pieces are colored pyramids that are used in many published and user-created games. They were originally part of the single game Icehouse created by Andrew Looney. The game is based on a fictional game he originally created for a story he wrote.
The general utility of the pieces: They stack in two different ways and can be laid on their side and pointed in a direction, and their general "cool" look, gave rise to people creating many other games that use them. Some need nothing but the pieces, others use the pieces * along with other generic easy-to-come-by gaming equipment like dice, markers, or checker/chess boards.
Icehouse pieces have been sold in box sets, like in IceTowers, or in individual "stashes" which contained 15 (5 sets of the 3 sizes) of one color. Both of these forms have been discontinued, although single stashes are still available from Looney Labs. Currently they encourage people to buy plastic pieces in Treehouse sets, which contain 1 3-size set of 5 different colors for a total of 15 pieces. (They still come in the same container as the 1 color stashes did.) Fold-together cardboard sets and stashes cut from semi-precious stones are also available.
In 2002 the book Playing With Pyramids was published containing 12 of the more popular games.
How many pyramids do you need?
As mentioned above, a stash is 15 pyramids of the same color (five of each of the three sizes), and a "standard Icehouse set" is four stashes, each of its own color. You can play almost every game with a standard set. If you're creating a standard set by buying Treehouse sets instead of individual stashes, you'll need to buy five of them, and they all need to be the same color scheme (Rainbow or Xeno, but Rainbow is preferable because some games are designed for a standard set in red, yellow, green, and blue).
Many games are designed for one stash per player; to play these games with the new Treehouse sets, again, you'll need five of them, all in the same color scheme (Rainbow or Xeno).
There are a few games which can be played with a single stash or Treehouse set, and a few more which can be played with three Treehouse sets of the same color scheme.
What other accessories might you need?
- Stone Markers - Zendo requires stones of three colors to play. Other games might require more.
- 8×8 Chessboard - An 8×8 chessboard can be used for all smaller size boards you might need.
- Personal Screens - Some games require player to make hidden decisions, so player screens are needed.
- Deck of Tarot Cards - A few games have been made that use a deck of Tarot cards.
- Foam mat - Some people use foam mats or shelf liner for Zendo to hold unstable koans in place.
- Used CD - One game from Playing with Pyramids uses an old CD.
- Piecepack - Piecepack is another game system that has generic components that can be used to play many games.
- Hexpack - Hexpack is a hexagonal extension of the piecepack, but its hexagonal tiles are immensely useful for making modular gameboards.
- Volcano Board - A 5x5 or 6x6 board made specifically for Volcano/Mega-Volcano and for use with other games.
- Modular Boards - A set of 4x4 boards designed to be set up in combinations of 2 to 6 for playing games with varying numbers of players.
- Martian Coasters Boards - A set of four colorful 4" beverage coasters.
The Volcano board
The volcano board is a 5x5 board originally created to aid in playing the icehouse game Volcano. A variant of Volcano, Mega-Volcano, is played on a 6x6 board. Since its introduction, just like the pieces, many more games have been created that use it.
The Modular IceHouse Board
Many of the the icehouse games that require an 8x8 chessboard can be played using these modular boards originally designed by Elliott "Eeyore" Evans. The boards are designed in such a way that you can connect 2-6 of them and form a complete game board. A file containing a homemade set of images to print out these boards can be found in the files section of Martian Chess.
Direct file link: Martian Chess boards
The Rhomboid IceHouse Board
This board set was designed for use with any IceHouse games that require a modular board. A file containing a set of images to print out these boards can be found in the files section of Martian Chess.
Direct file link: Rhombus boards for Martian Chess
Martian Coasters Board
Martian Coasters is a set of four colorful 4" beverage coasters. Arrows on the boards limit the directions in which a piece may move.