Finger-flicking dexterity game Ice Cool is getting a spin-off that swaps mischievous penguin students collecting fish for miniature robots doing battle in the future.
Iron Forest is described as a brand new entry in the Ice Cool Universe, first seen in Brian Gomez’s hit 2016 family board game and its 2018 sequel-expansion. In the game, players propel wobbly-bottomed penguins around the corridors of a frozen school in search of fish while avoiding a pursing hall monitor - also controlled by a player.
Iron Forest introduces an extra level to the dexterity challenge in more ways than one, with a second floor suspended above the board made up of modular rooms. Players can reach the raised level by loading one of their pieces into a launcher at the edge of the board instead of moving, before firing it up into the air - literally - to land on the second storey. The raised rooms have holes which pieces can fall through (deliberately or otherwise) to land back on the lower floor.
Like Ice Cool, the players must flick their teetering titans around a board made up of various rooms to complete objectives. The game will include seven different scenarios, each with a unique set of victory conditions and special rules. Examples given include racing to collect objective markers in the player’s colour by passing through doorways and dropping down holes, fighting to stay on the raised level longer than your opponent, or simply wiping your rival’s robots off the board by damaging them.
Update: Dicebreaker has been informed by its publisher that the player count for Iron Forest is from two to four players, it does not support up to eight players. This article has been updated to reflect this information.
The scenarios will last between half an hour and 40 minutes, Gomez said, with the ability to play with between two and four players split into two teams: the Iron Forest and the Animal Clans, which control mechs inspired by woodland fauna such as owls.
Players draw cards to activate two of their robots each turn (with a chance for the same robot to activate twice). When players collide or a launcher shot misses the board, their opponent’s robot takes damage and flips their card to represent the damage. A second collision results in the piece being taken off the board to be reset to its starting point next turn, with the attacking player also gaining a bonus activation on a future turn.
Players also have a random selection of ability cards at their disposal, one of which can be used each turn. Powers include repositioning the pieces for more tactical advantages during shots and repairing damage.
Iron Forest was revealed during this year’s Essen Spiel 2021 board game convention in Germany. Gomez told Dicebreaker that the title - in the works for around three years - was created as a dexterity game for older players than Ice Cool, featuring a more mature setting and more complexity in its ruleset.
Iron Forest will launch a Kickstarter campaign on February 8th 2022, publisher Brain Games has announced.