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Icehouse is a set of pyramid-shaped gaming pieces invented by Andrew Looney and John Cooper[?]. Icehouse is also the name of the turnless abstract strategy game the pieces were originally invented to play.

Andy Looney came up with the idea for a game played with pyramids in a series of science-fiction short stories he was writing; several of the characters were obsessed with playing the game of Icehouse which had been recovered from the long-dead Martian civilization. John Cooper created the rules to make the game playable in real life.

The original Icehouse game is essentially a board game for 2 or more players, but played without a board or turns (you can place a piece whenever you want to, and the playing surface is a tabletop or any designated area). Each player has a set (stash) of fifteen pyramids of various point value in their distinctive color, and plays them either defensively (standing upright) or in attack mode (lying on its side with the point facing the a defending piece). The rules (free online or for purchase from Looney Labs) explain how pieces are iced (captured), over-iced, or taken control of, and address questions that may come up during play. The game ends when the final piece is played onto the game surface or an agreed time limit is up, and the points of the successful attacking and defending pyramids are totaled up to determine the winner. The game mechanics for the Icehouse game are unique enough that they earned Andy Looney a patent.

Each stash or set of Icehouse pieces consists of fifteen pyramids of the same color in three different point (or pip) values: five large-size 3-point pyramids, five medium-size 2-point pyramids, and five small-size 1-point pyramids. The commercially produced plastic sets are hollow and can be stacked and nested; this feature isn't used in the original Icehouse game, but is taken advantage of in some of the other Icehouse-based games listed below.

Like a pack of playing cards, an Icehouse set can be used to play many different games. In addition to Icehouse, the Icehouse pieces can also be used to play several other games, including:

Icehouse sets are produced for sale by Looney Labs[?] made of durable crystal-look plastic (sold in tubes (stashes) of one color, most games need at least 2 colors) or a cheaper 4-color starter set of Paper Icehouse[?] (cardstock, actually) one punches out and folds into the pyramid shapes. There are also instructions available on the World Wide Web on making your own pieces.

External Links:

For the brand of beer, see Icehouse (beer)[?].

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