Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] Black Ice Discussion (Translucency & The Curse)

  • From"James Hazelton" <jameshazelton@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 10 Jul 2007 23:58:15 -0500
Now that Black Ice is out in the open, I can share my thoughts on one of my new favourite games!

I love the game because it's slightly more strategic than Treehouse, but with the same kind of randomness that will allow my girlfriend to play with me. As for fitting into 3HOUSE, the game is perfection--it uses all of the pieces in three tubes of Treehouse, incorporates the 1-to-4 opaque-to-translucent ratio, and even uses all three Treehouse dice! Truly, I haven't played a game so exclusively since the advent of Geomancy.

I have noticed a few... I don't want to call them "problems," per se. For one, I have noticed that the player who goes first almost always wins. This has gotten to the point that we don't keep score of wins unless the player wins when he doesn't go first. Winning when you do go first is entirely expected. This isn't merely a game fault, however. It's become a full-fledged curse! There have been not one, but two occasions when a player who went second is about to win; all he has to do is tip and hop. He tips, sees the colour, hops, and declares victory. However, the colour he just saw was wrong! He loses and the player who went first wins. Here's the kicker, though. In one of these incidents, the tip-hopping player had a friend looking over his shoulder. They both saw the colour and were both surprised to see that it was wrong. The only conclusion that we can come up with is that the game is cursed to foil the player going second. It should be noted that the first-player is never foiled by this. Has anyone else found that the first-player has a distinct advantage?

I bought three sets of Xeno and a fancy white/purple bag just for this game (although it also works for Homeworlds). A week ago, when teaching a new player, I noticed that in a certain light, I could see an orange glow under the white pyramid. The orange piece was bleeding through. We did about 10 minutes of testing with this, and found that blue bleeds also, but rarely purple. We found that only some white pyramids will allow this bleeding; presumably others have slightly thicker walls. We did optometrist-esque better-or-worse testing to find the thickest three of eight white queens on hand, but even the thickest of thick can bleed occasionally. I have only noticed this phenomenon under the florescent lighting of the local game shop. Anyone have a similar experience?

There are five of us in our weekly game group, and one week we wanted to play Black Ice, but we couldn't play with an odd number of players. So we decided to play a Mega game of Black Ice. This involved five players, five dice, five nodes and locks, and eight colours. The number of colours wasn't a problem at all, and the number of dice balanced out the number of locks. The big problem came with the number of players. Even if you were able to tip three and hop two, by the time your turn came around again, the locks were so different that you'd have to start over again. This Mega- variant may work with two players, but I don't think that any version of Black Ice could work with five players. It's like playing Fluxx with Keeper Limit 0.

I've been holding in my thoughts on this game for so long! I'm so glad to be able to discuss it openly!


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