Snowblind

Release Date: 
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Setup Time: 
Play Duration (experienced): 

by Jonathan Leistiko

Object

Maximize your score and minimize your opponents’ scores by putting pieces in taller and smaller stacks, respectively.

You Need

  • Four Icehouse stashes of different colors.
  • An opaque bag (or other opaque container).
  • A 4×3 grid. A Volcano board or chess board with some squares blocked off works just fine.
  • Some paper and a pencil for tallying scores at the end of the game.

Setting Up

Put the Icehouse pieces in the bag. Shake it to assure randomness.

Put the bag and the board where everyone can reach it.

Select a player to go first.

Play

On your turn, take a piece out of the bag and put it on the board. When you put a piece on the board, it must point upward.

Placing pieces

  • Any piece may be placed in a vacant space.
  • A smaller piece may be “engulfed” by a larger piece if the smaller piece is resting directly on the board.
  • A piece of smaller or equal size may be placed on another piece of equal or greater size.

Once you have placed a piece, play passes to the left.

The game ends when all pieces have been played.

Scoring
Stacks have a value equal to the point value of the pieces in the stack, multiplied by the number of pieces in the stack (pips times pieces = points). Points are tallied separately by color.
An entirely red stack containing a 1 on a 2, on a 2, on a 3, on a 3 is worth (11 pips times 5 pieces) 55 points. A stack containing a green 1 on a green 2, on a red 2, on a blue 3 on a red 3 is worth 15 green, 25 red, and 15 blue points.

A piece that is “engulfed” is scored by the color that’s engulfing it, not by the “owner” of the engulfed piece. A red 1 covered by a green 2, covered by a blue 3 scores no points for red, one point for green, and six points for blue (3+2+1).

Engulfed pieces do not count for being in a stack. A stack with 1 on a 2 on a 3, with the 3 engulfing a 2 and a 1 is only multiplied by three, not five. The three in this example would score (6×3) eighteen points.

Winning

The player with the highest total at the end of the game wins.

Variants

Original Snowblind Victory Conditions
Tally scores as follows: Add the scores of the players to your right and left. If the sum is higher than the sum of your score and the player opposite you, then you may have won. Compare your score to the player opposite you. If your score is higher, then you win.

Lowball
Add the size of the stack to your total instead of multiplying it.
Example: An entirely red stack containing a 1 on a 2, on a 2, on a 3, on a 3 is worth 16 points. A stack containing a green 1 on a green 2, on a red 2, on a blue 3 on a red 3 is worth 8 green, 10 red, and 8 blue points.

Kingmaker’s Demise
Choose a small, medium, and large Icehouse piece from an unused color. These are the, “stoppers.” Place them in the bag before the game starts. If you draw a stopper, set it next to the board and draw again. If you draw the third stopper, the game ends immediately – do not draw another piece to play.

Origin and Credits

Oct 27, 2004: My computer says that the text fle I found these rules in was created on Friday, July 30, 2004. Me? I honeslty don’t have a clear memory of how or why this game was created. Okay, so I can make a good guess to the why of it. I wanted to create a game where the players had to cope with uncertain resources. I wanted a game where you had far less control over your pieces than you’d normally have. Since you have lots of control over your opponents’ pieces, you’ll want to place them in the worst possible locations, optimizing your piece placement when you get the opportunity to.

I haven’t played it yet, so I have no idea if it works or is lousy. I’m also concerned about the scoring system. I don’t know which one is better. I like the Kingmaker’s Demise variant. I suspect that I should actually make it a part of the “core” ruleset. Without it, It seems that you’‘ll have a strong incentive to tally every stack before playing so as to optimize your endgame turn(s). I could put a “timer” rule in, but that’s a contrived solution.

Oct 13, 2005: This was originally going to be the Game of the Month for November, but my computer is on the fritz, so I don’t have the Game of the Month for October ready yet. So, Snowblind is filling in for what was going to be the Game of the Month for October. C’est la vie.

Unedited as of October 13, 2005.

Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Play Duration (new players): 
Minimum Age: 
13
Price: 
$0(USD)