With a game figure made of ice, each player starts the race in the Cool Runnings board game. On the way to the game, the ice cubes sweat, drip and melt – the winner is really the one who stays the coolest?
Cool Runnings has a cool idea that sets it apart from all the other race games: it’s a double race! The game pieces are made of ice and in addition to the race towards the finish line, the game piece must not melt – otherwise you are out.
The player who reaches the finish line first does not always win! The other players make sure of that with rubbing, hot showers and other attacks on the fragile game pieces of the opponents.
At first, this sounds very original and like something completely new – we were very curious to see whether the concept of the Cool Runnings board game would work. After all, we expect a family racing game to be fun and entertaining, with no long waiting times for the kids and, ideally, action as well. Our detailed review of the Cool Runnings board game can be found here in the conclusion.
Note on transparency: Ravensburger kindly provided us with a review copy of the Cool Runnings board game. However, this review is unpaid and reflects our honest opinion.
Before a game of Cool Runnings, you first reach for the pipette. Since each player needs an ice cube as a game piece, you should freeze them about 2-3 hours before you want to play.
Everything you need is included in the game box: a pipette to measure out 6 ml of water and 8 ice-blue moulds into which you drop the water. You need a little patience for this – you have to be precise, otherwise you will have an unfair advantage or disadvantage if there is more water in one ramekin than in the other. Then the ramekins go into the icebox.
First build the race course with 5 parts, with the finish line marking the end point at one end. Then shuffle the 60 playing cards and place them in a face-down pile next to the race course. Each player is dealt 4 cards in their hand.
You also need a bowl of tap water, a teaspoon of salt and a towel to dry your hands.
Now get the frozen ramekins with the ice cubes and take as many ice cubes out of the ramekins as players are playing with. Each ice cube is placed in a coloured tray, which is then placed on the ice cube tray – the game piece is ready. All the game pieces are now placed in front of the first game board piece – this is the start.
In the Cool Runnings board game, there are two ways to win the competition: you reach the finish line first or all the other players are eliminated because their ice cube has melted, in which case you are the winner no matter how far you have progressed on the game board.
There are fields with symbols on the game board: Blue numbers with plus in front, red with minus, lava fields and ice fields. If you move a piece onto a + field (plus field), you immediately move your piece that many fields forward, if you move onto a – field (minus field), you are immediately hit by the attack of the top card of the discard pile on the lava field and you are protected from attacks on the ice field.
The game is played clockwise. The player whose turn it is looks at the 4 cards in his hand and may play one of them. He decides whether he wants to move his figure or take an action. Each card shows an action picture with an ice cube on top (action) and a number with a blue plus or red minus (move) underneath.
There are 7 different possibilities for attacks. You are free to decide which player to attack. For example, with the action symbols Polish Up, Squeeze Out and Hot Breath, you take the ice cube, rub the surface with your thumb, take it in your warm fist or blow on the ice cube until the player whose piece is affected has counted from “One ice cube, two ice cubes, three ice cubes… to 10 ice cubes”. Sprinkling salt is also particularly nasty!
If a player plays an attack card, the attacked player can ward it off and pass it on to any player by playing a card with the same action symbol. This can go on until the last player to be attacked has no card left to ward off – he or his piece will then be hit.
You can move any figure. Blue numbers mean so many spaces forward, red, so many spaces back.
A round is over when all but one ice cube has melted. No matter where that ice cube is on the race track, it is the winner. Or one ice cube makes it to the finish line before all the others – then it is the winner.
Time literally slips between your fingers in the Cool Runnings board game. After the first scratch or the first shower, the character is already dripping and that’s when the race fever takes hold. “Just you wait – I’ll give it back to you!” is the first reaction, but it can backfire badly if you keep passing it around until it hits your own ice cube. And consistently pushing forward is not necessarily the smartest way to win, as the other players can simply move you back again. Most of the time this is done grinning onto a lava field with disastrous consequences…
In our case, all 3 games of the Cool Runnings board game ended with a dripping, salted game board and at least one melted game piece. Translated, this means: it was high pressure, we often opted for the action cards and as a result Cool Runnings was very action-packed and entertaining. During the entire race, anyone can suddenly take their turn – so there are no waiting times.
It’s not easy to keep track of everything and react correctly or not make a mistake in the hectic rush between counting fast and taking action: you have to be concentrated in Cool Runnings. And yet you can’t really take your time, because it melts away.
The rules are simple, clearly explained and you don’t have to look anything up after the first game.
The idea alone of having ice cubes as game pieces is quite ingenious. The interactive actions and the race against time make Cool Runnings exciting and engaging not only for children. You could say that compared to other race board games, the special thing about the Cool Runnings board game is: less strategy, more action!
The biggest criticism among our younger players was that four of us can never play more than two games at a time. If you play as a foursome, you may even only get one game in – in our case, two ice cubes could not be completely removed from the mould and smaller ice cubes do not mean more equal chances to win….
Original, entertaining race game with a lot of action, where you don’t just break a sweat on hot summer days.
Much more strategic and less action-packed is the the Quest for El Dorado – another new game from Ravensburger from 2018. Stay up to date on recommended family games on our leisure ideas portal. And there are also lots of colourful ideas for gifts and activities with kids, your partner and friends!
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