Mind Games UK / Kickstarted / Players 2 – 6 / 25 – 45mins / Age 8 +
In Thin Ice it’s every meeple for itself as you move on an ever-diminishing ice sheet represented by the tiles whilst trying not to get stranded on a separated ice floe and drifting away. Make pacts, break pacts, laugh, despair and come face-to-face with the polar bear – survival has never been so much fun! – Mind Games UK
This game popped up under recommendations for me, Tamz, on Kickstarter. I fell in love with the polar bear artwork instantly. Then I liked the fact it was British designers, always good to back homegrown games. Then it just sounded cool, maneuvering meeples around an ever decreasing board whilst avoiding a polar bear and other creatures of the sea, awesome. (or should that be “paw-some”!)
We got this game in the post last week and cracked it open asap. We started by playing the core game. So you just move your meeples and roll the dice until only one of you is left. We then moved on to the intermediate game with card actions to contend with. It was great having the different levels of gameplay. It makes me think it can be adapted for younger players as needed. Then again, it can be made even harder for more advanced players. We already love the idea of an alternative board set up to the standard grid pattern of ice tiles.
So, I thought there might be an advantage to being the the first player, however the game is very balanced. If you keep your concentration and send the polar bear after the other players you have every chance of winning! My favorite trick is to keep my meeples moving in a spiral so they use all the same tiles twice. If you start getting side-tracked all over the place you soon get set adrift, something Mike is all to aware of \O.o/
A big part of this games charm is in the thematic artwork. There is a fantastic polar bear on the box cover that grabbed my attention for the Kickstarter campaign. Although this does not translate to actual gameplay as you have a plain wooden polar bear token to move. That is still epic though! If he is swimming in the water we sit him on his bum so he looks like he is treading water, then if he gets close to a meeple we both make a little growling noise!
The tiles and cards are made from good quality stock and feel like they will stand up to a fair few games. We also have a funky custom die with gold icons and a little branded drawstring bag to hold bits and pieces.
When playing with the action cards things can get a bit tense. It really is a survivor game and you play the action cards with a bit of a “take that – ha” attitude, “my meeple is gonna LIVE”! Poor Mike has yet to win this game, he keeps setting his own meeples adrift. So it is a bit of a hollow victory for me. I guess we just have to keep playing . . .
This game feels a lot like Forbidden Island, but without the frustrating rising water levels that I hate. There are similarities to Hey! That’s My Fish, the whole ice thing and removing of tiles. It also reminds us of the phone game Snake, moving around in similar patterns to keep the ice from melting too quickly.
We have a few problems with the game. As two players we get confused controlling two meeples each and it is very confrontational as you can only go after the other player. We also get the feeling a four player game will be tough, as so much can happen between your turns that you may not have much control over your meeple. The action cards can help with this though, as many of them can be played at any time. This does not stop us from liking the game, I get the feeling this one will see the games table more often than some of our games. If only to play with the cute polar bear 🙂
Say hello to Scampi the 6month old guineapig. He is posing as a “Reference Pig” – well if Shut Up And Sit Down can have a reference pear, we are gonna use our guineapigs!! One day we will show Buddy the other 2year old pig, but he is so big he covered up the game! Expect plenty of nibbled tokens 😉
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Publisher: Mind Games UK