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SNOWMAN MELTDOWN
a game of battling blow dryersfor the piecepackand an Icehouse set or piecepack
pyramids
(a.k.a. Snowman Meltdown Holdup Hoedown)


by Ron Hale-Evans (rwhe@ludism.org)and Marty Hale-Evans (marty@martynet.org)
[version 0.5, 2002-09-08]
2-4 playersApprox. 60 minutes
Note:: This game requires both a piecepack, and either an Icehouse set, or two sets of
piecepackpyramids. Visit http://www.piecepack.org/ to buy a piecepack or learn how to
make your own. Visithttp://www.looneylabs.com/ to buy an Icehouse set. Visit
http://www.tjgames.com/pyramids.html todownload printable piecepack pyramids.
The Story
Far out in the Oort Belt of our solar system swings a most peculiar comet. Unlike most
comets, whichare simply balls of dirty ice, this one is a patchwork of colourful,
tasty ices - Cherry Red, Lime Green,Lemon Yellow, Blue Raspberry, even Black Licorice.
For another thing, every 23,000 years, as thecomet nears the Sun, the comet melts just
enough for a race of intelligent snowmen to arise from theSlush.
Well, "intelligent" may be overstating the case. Each species, or "flavour" of snowman
is bent on justone thing: exterminating all snowmen of other flavours. Their choice of
weapon? The hand-held blowdryer.
It's a small comet, and the snowmen can walk all the way around it, on paths carved
out over millions ofyears. But sometimes they get stuck in traps laid by other
snowmen. Fortunately, they can make awithdrawal at the local ATM, then pay a penny or
two to ride the Oort Funicular out of the trap, or offthe well-worn paths on the
comet's surface. If they can get the pennies they need by mugging opposing

snowmen, so much the better!
Eventually, despite the coin-operated force fields scattered liberally around the
comet, only one flavourof snowman will be left. But as the comet approaches the Sun,
even the victors will melt down andreturn to the all-encompassing Slush. Never fear;
the very same snowmen will arise again to fight thevery same dim-witted battles, in
23,000 years...
(Why snow-men, you ask? You don't think snow- women would behave this way, do you?)
Summary
Players move "snowmen" (stacks of pyramids), around a 4x4 board made of piecepack
tiles. The tilesspecify the directions and distances the snowmen may travel. When
players land on a tile containingopposing snowmen, they must melt one down or mug one.
If the mugger's victim capitulates, themugger receives a coin that he can use to alter
his movement or defend himself with a force field;otherwise, the victim is melted down
one piece. Some tiles act as traps; if all your pieces are trapped,they melt, one by
one. The winner is the last player with any snowmen left on the board.
Setup
1. Each player chooses a piecepack suit and takes all coins of that suit. She also
takes four small, fourmedium, and four large Icehouse pyramids that match her own
piecepack suit, or all 12 piecepackpyramids of her own suit from two sets of piecepack
pyramids.

PIECEPACKSUIT ICEHOUSECOLOUR SNOWMANFLAVOUR
Suns red Cherry Red
Arms blue Blue Raspberry

Crowns greenoryellow
Lime GreenorLemon Yellow
Moons black (see below) Black Licorice

Most older Icehouse sets contain four colours: red, green, blue, and yellow. If you
have the BlackIce expansion (which contains black and clear pieces), you can use black
pieces for Moons, but ifall you have is the basic set, you can use red for Suns, blue
for Arms, green or yellow for Crowns(depending on your piecepack set), and the
remaining colour (yellow or green) for Moons. NewerIcehouse sets are sold one colour
at a time. If you bought purple, orange, white, and clear Icehousepieces just to be
different, you'll have to improvise, wise guy.
If you are using piecepack pyramids instead of Icehouse pieces, the suits should match
perfectly.
2. Remove all 3s and 4s from the piecepack tiles and set them aside. This will leave
16 tilesconsisting only of nulls, 1s, 2s, and 5s.

3. Shuffle these 16 tiles and place them randomly, suit-side-up, in a four-by-four
grid, with all tilesfacing the same way. Either the top or the bottom of the board may
be considered north by anyplayer; it makes no difference.
4. Each player builds four complete snowmen of his own flavour. You build a snowman by
placing asmall piece on top of a medium piece on top of a large piece, as in the
diagram below. (Icehousepieces only come in three sizes; piecepack pyramids come in
six. If you are using piecepackpyramids, use A, C, and E pyramids to build two of your
snowmen, and B, D, and F pyramids tobuild the other two.)

A Cherry Red snowman built from three piecepack pyramids.
5. Each player puts her four snowmen on the four tiles of her own flavour.
6. Players roll dice; the high roller goes first. Play then proceeds to the left.
Turn Summary
Your turn consists of the following phases (see below for more details):
1. Remove any force field you have created from the board, and deposit the coin with
which youcreated it in the Bank.
2. Move one snowman of your own flavour according to the suit and number of the tile
it is on. Ifyou cannot or will not move, you must "melt down" one of your snowmen.
3. If your snowman lands on a tile with an opposing snowman or snowmen, either "melt
down" or"hold up" one opposing snowman of your choice on that tile.
4. Optionally pay to create a force field around a tile containing one or more of your
snowmen.
Movement
Tiles determine how snowmen travel as follows:
1. The suit of the tile determines which one of two direction the snowman can travel
in, according tothe following table:

Suns north/south
Moons east/west
Crowns northwest/southeast
Arms northeast/southwest

2. The value of the tile determines how many spaces a snowman can travel. For example,
a snowmanon the 2 of Suns can travel two tiles north or two tiles south. However...
3. In some cases, it is possible to change the value of the tile you are on. (You do
not change the tileitself, merely count it as having a different value.) For
example...
4. A snowman on a tile of its own flavour may optionally add 1 to or subtract 1 from
the value of thetile before moving. (The same effect can be had by paying a coin on a
tile not of your flavour; seebelow.) This means that...
5. Null tiles, having a value of zero, are normally "traps" for snowmen of an opposing
flavour, but"move 1" tiles for snowmen of the same flavour. Similarly, tiles with a
value of 1 can be "move 2"tiles if they are of your own flavour, and so on.
6. The board wraps around, so that if your snowman is at the northern (top) edge of
the board andtravels one tile north, he will land on the southernmost (bottom) tile of
that column. A similar ruleapplies to the other edges.
7. You may pay exactly one coin of any suit and value to the Bank (that is, take it
out of the game) toadd 1 to or subtract 1 from the value of the tile you are on before
moving. Thus, an opposing 2 tilebecomes either a 3 tile or a 1 tile. An opposing null
tile becomes a 1 tile.
8. If you subtract 1 from a 5 tile of an opposing colour, it becomes a 4 tile, which
permits you towrap around the board and attack a snowman on the same tile. On the
other hand, subtracting 1from an ace tile just makes it a null, which means your
snowman can't move.
9. You may pay exactly one coin to the Bank on your turn to travel one tile in any
direction youchoose.
Holdups and Meltdowns
1. To hold up a snowman, order its owner to pay you one coin. If she can't or won't,
then melt hersnowman down one size.
2. To melt down a snowman, remove the bottommost Icehouse piece from his body. If his
body hadthree pieces, it melts down to two pieces; if two, it melts down to one. If it
had only one piece (a"head"), it melts away completely; remove the single piece from
the board.
3. You do not have to hold up an opposing snowman on the tile you land on, but may
melt one down

immediately instead.
Force fields
1. You may pay exactly one coin to the Bank on your turn to defend one of your snowmen
with aforce field. As the last phase of your turn, take one of your coins and place it
on a tile that containsat least one of your snowmen. No opposing snowmen may travel to
a tile while you have a forcefield there, but they may move over and past that tile.
2. At the beginning of your next turn, remove the coin and pay it to the Bank.
3. You may create at most one force field at a time, but you may create a force field
on the same tilemultiple turns in succession.
Getting stuck
1. If you cannot move or do not wish to move, you must melt down one of your own
snowmen (yourchoice) by one size on your turn.
2. If you take three consecutive turns without landing on a tile with an opposing
snowman, you mustmelt down one of your own snowmen (your choice) by one size on your
next turn, instead ofmoving. On the turn after that, you may move normally, but the
three-turn "clock" begins again.
Game End and Winning
The last player with at least one snowman on the board wins.
Strategy Hints
1. Players should probably sit so the board is either right-side-up or upside-down to
them; otherwise,game movement may become confusing. As long as you are facing either
the top or bottom of theboard, the tile directions will work correctly. That is, a
Crowns tile specifies that you can travelnorthwest or southeast. Your northwest is
southeast for someone facing you, and vice versa.
2. It is possible to take arithmetic short cuts. For example, a 5 of Moons will let
you travel either fivetiles west or east, if it is not your flavour. Moving five tiles
west on a wrapping 4x4 board is thesame as moving one tile east, and vice versa.
3. If you're at the edge of the board, and you get confused about how to travel two
tiles northeast(say), make the moves separately; that is, first travel two tiles
north, then travel two tiles east, orvice versa.
4. Travel from a 2 tile in either direction will normally end on the same tile.
Therefore...
5. If the 2 of Crowns and the 2 of Arms are placed two squares apart diagonally during
setup, theyform a trap for players of other flavours. Travel from one will always end
on the other.

6. Toward the end of the game, you may be able to force your opponent to melt down, by
blockingher movement with a well-placed force field.
7. The game is much enhanced by shouting the following things:
"I’ve got a blow dryer and I’m not afraid to use it!" "Your money or your slush!"
"Don’t mess with me! This thing is set on DRY, not FLUFF!" As you melt an opponent’s
snowman down to just his top piece: "Now that’s how to get ahead in life!" When
refusing a hold-up: "MELT ME!" (There is a ruder retort having to do with thefunction
of blow dryers, but we thought it best to omit it from this family game.) And, of
course, in your best Margaret Hamilton voice: "I’m mellltttiiiinnnggg..."
It also helps to say these things in a progressively squeakier voice as your snowmen
becomesmaller and smaller.
Credits
This is the first game ever developed that combines a piecepack with an Icehouse set,
as far as we know.
Original concept: Ron Hale-Evans.Development and rules write-up: Ron and Marty Hale-
Evans.Graphics: Ron Hale-Evans (snowman); Marty Hale-Evans (logo).Playtesters: Bob
Wilson; Meredith Hale; Karl Erickson and Chad McDaniel; Karen Deitrick, MarkPurtill,
and Tim Schutz. Special thanks to Roland Steiner, who made a cartload of suggestions.
History
0.5, 2002-09-08: Rules added for playing with piecepack pyramids. Missing diagram
inserted. Whatcreative capitalization? "Roland Krieger" corrected to "Roland Steiner"
(sorry, Roland!), and "MeredithWilson" changed to "Meredith Hale" in Credits. More
playtesters added. Roland thanked profusely.0.4.1, 2001-12-2: Reference to diagram not
actually contained herein removed. Creative capitalizationadded. - Mesomorph
Games.0.4, 2001-11-15: Holdups optional again. All payments are one coin. Movement
optional. 3 turnswithout landing on opponent and you melt. Strategy hints and rule
clarifications. New playtesters.0.3, 2001-10-25: Force fields added. Holdups are not
optional. You melt if you don’t move, even if youcan move. All tiles face same
way.0.2, 2001-10-11: Tiebreaker added: trapped snowmen must melt.0.1, 2001-10-08:
Original playtest rules.
Licensing
Copyright © 2001 by Ron and Marty Hale-Evans. Permission is granted to copy,
distribute and/ormodify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation
License, Version 1.1 or any laterversion published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts,and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of
the license can be found at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html.