I was recently musing on whether it would be possible to play AlienCity with just piecepack (that is, without IceHouse pieces).

In addition to a standard piecepack, AlienCity requires five large red, five large blue, and four large green IceHouse pieces for towers, and six small IceHouse pieces to cap the towers -- three in two different colors (in my group, we usually use black and clear, because we have them packed in the same bag as the four basic IceHouse colors of red, green, blue, and yellow). Is there a way to replace these Icehouse pieces with piecepack pieces?

If you had two standard piecepacks, you could use one set of coins for domes, as usual, and another set for the towers, which are usually Icehouse pieces. You could distinguish domes from towers by orientation -- how the coins were rotated -- but they still might be hard to distinguish visually. A better suggestion might be to raise the coins representing towers somehow. You could stack them on top of other coins from another piecepack, for example. This third piecepack could be a FourSeasonsExpansion or a PlayingCardsExpansion, or yet another standard set; it wouldn't matter, because its coins would be hidden underneath. If you didn't have a third piecepack of some kind, you could use pennies or other small coins.

It seems pretty workable. For tower caps, I suggest one player should take three dice of any suit and the other three pawns. This would make the sides even more visually distinct than in a game with Icehouse pieces.

Thus, it seems the most you really need to play AlienCity is two standard piecepacks and some pennies (or a third piecepack of any kind). This shouldn't be surprising, as AlienCity has been played with homemade purpose-built sets, on the web, and in virtual reality, among other ways and places. Like Chess, it seems the game is so involving, you can probably play it with sticks, stones, and coconuts on a desert island and have a good time.


It would be nice if you could turn the coins in the second piecepack value-side-up to represent towers, say nulls for red, aces for blue, and 3s for green. Unfortunately, there are five red and five blue towers, so you would have to take an extra null and ace from piecepack 1 to complete the sets of four nulls and aces in piecepack 2. However, all coins in piecepack 1 would already be in use as domes, suit-side-up. Oh, well.