Game Icehouse: Icehouse

Played 20091229 Steve (16) Phuong (Icehoused) Michael (14) Stephanie (7) Young (Icehoused) Me (Icehoused). Steve won.
Played 20091231 Daniel (Icehoused) Stephanie (16) Me (13). Stephanie won.
Played 20091231 Daniel (Icehoused) Stephanie (Icehoused) Me (Icehoused). Tie all.
Played 20091231 Daniel (Icehoused) Stephanie (28) Me (15). Stephanie won.
Icehouse
Icehouse page @ BoardGameGeek.com here
Icehouse page @ Wunderland.com here (Official Rules)
Icehouse page @ IcehouseGames.org here

20091229: Today we played Icehouse, IceTowers, Zendo.

The timer was real important, as at the end, living players had pieces in their stashes that could have given them points. I think the best rule that I didn't remember was that players in the Icehouse can still be part of the action. Creating a good defense before you go under your stash limit is important. Three of us were icehoused. Thus before hitting eight, either set up defensive towers, or try to look for Over-Iced defenses in which you can capture. Then, as a good gamble, you can call "Icehouse." I think the rule that I forgot that affected the game the most, would have been the requirement of playing your piece "within range"; this is defined as within the length of the piece being played.

Important Rules I remembered:
Four players is considered optimum.
As soon as all players are touching (but not lifting) a piece on their pad, play can begin.
The game continues until all of the pyramids in the game have been played. At the end of the game, players only get points for their pyramids that are either successfully attacking or successfully defending.
You may NOT play an attack piece such that it is pointing at 1) another attack piece 2) a piece of its same color or 3) nothing at all. Attack pieces played this way must be taken back
You may never have more than one unplayed piece off of your stash pad at one time
You can only be put in the icehouse if all of your defensive pyramids have been iced and you have less than eight pieces on your stash pad. This safety limit is called the "stash limit."
If this [, a person is icehoused,] happens, the player loses control of all of his or her unplayed pyramids and gets a score of 0.
If someone is in fact in the icehouse, that person gives all of the pieces left on their stash pad to the person who called "icehouse." The pieces are transferred to the other player's stash pad, leaving the person in the icehouse with an empty stash pad.
To prevent a slow player from attempting to wait until all others have played before getting involved, the game will have a definite (though unknowable) ending point, after which unplayed pieces will be worthless.
Before starting, all players must agree upon when the game shall end. The timer can be an actual timer, set to ring after a certain length of time (10 minutes is the standard used in tournaments). The timer can also be the next occurrence of an arbitrary event, such as the arrival of a waitress, train, or phone call. Whatever method of marking the time is used, the clock must be invisible to the players. When the timer goes off, immediately stop the game. Recall to the stash pads any pieces that were being played when the timer sounded. Any pyramids left on stash pads don't count towards your score.
The only player who may capture over-icing attack pieces is the player who owns the defending piece under attack.

Rule that I got right, but was so unsure of, I personally undid it for a moment during play, when Stephanie reminded me of how I explained it, just in time for me to not have committed the error during play:
[T]he person whose piece has been over-iced can remove one of the redundant attack pieces [...] and place it on his stash pad for later use. He can remove any of the attack pieces he wishes, as long as the defensive piece remains iced. He can do this at any time he wants, not necessarily when he first notices it. It is, however, considered good form to say something like "my piece is over-iced" just before capturing a piece.
If a player moves any of the pieces on the board while attempting to play a piece, it is called a "crash."

Rules I got wrong:
The first two pyramids of each color that are placed onto the field MUST be defensive pieces. If any player forgets this rule and plays an attack piece before playing the required two defensive pieces, they must take back all of the attack pieces of their color, put them back on their stash pad, and then play the required number of defensive pieces. Play does not suspend while they are doing this. This mistake is called a "meltdown."
During an icehouse call, the status of all players is examined. If no one is in the icehouse, then the person who made the call was wrong and pays a penalty. The player who made the false call takes any piece from his stash and gives it to any other player.
A player who crashes the setup must therefore pay a penalty. He must give away the piece he was trying to play, to the opponent of his choice. Also, the pieces that were jarred should be put back the way they were (subject to agreement by all concerned players).

Rules I forgot:
"Within range" means that the distance between the attack piece and the standing piece must be less that the length of the attack piece.
Sometimes a group will play a match of 5 games, keeping score and totaling the scores at the end.
[Regarding the person who called icehouse:] There is no need (and no way) to give away a piece if none exist in your stash.
The person in the icehouse is not completely out of the action. He or she can still watch the board, and if any of their pieces get over-iced, they can make captures and play those captured pieces (see "Over-Icing"). Also, they can make icehouse calls, and can use any pieces they receive as a result.
Play resumes as soon as the results of the Icehouse call are determined. Players not involved in handing over victory spoils or penalty pieces can resume playing whenever they wish.
If you have no free standers and are under the stash limit, and you call "icehouse," then you yourself get put in the icehouse. Your score will be zero. However, you don't give away your pieces. You get to keep your pieces and continue playing, and even though your plays won't count towards your score, at least no one will have a vast number of prisoners. This gives a person who knows he is vulnerable to an Icehouse call a tough choice. He can just hope that no one notices it or he can call "icehouse" on himself.
Occasionally, two people will call "icehouse" at the same time. In this case, the players (or other observers) who did not call Icehouse must decide who called it first. They are expected to be as impartial as possible in making this judgement.
The game ends as soon as the last piece is played. Any over-ice situations that are noticed after the last play, or even created by the last play, do not count.
Captured pieces DO count towards your stash limit.
If a crash is so disastrous as to make recovery impossible, the players have the option to beat the tar out of the player who crashed the game. (This is particularly true in the case of a player who keeps losing and turns over the table in a fit of frustration.)

20091231: There were some weird situations that came up. We should specify better what counts as an attack. I understand now what they mean by suggesting you count points lost. That is count defenses that were iced, count failing attack pieces, and then count those in stacks. Subtract from 30 to get your points.

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