Mancala World

Icehouse pieces are pyramid-shaped gaming pieces invented by Andrew Looney and John Cooper in 1987, originally for use in the game of Icehouse. There are at least three major sowing games, which are played with Icehouse pieces: Martian Mancala, Volcano Race and Volcano (including numerous variants such as Hexano and Melting Volcano).


Each stash or set of Icehouse pieces consists of fifteen pyramids (variously called pieces, pyramids, or minions) of the same color in three different point (or pip) values: five large 3-point pyramids, five medium 2-point pyramids, and five small 1-point pyramids. The commercially produced plastic sets are hollow and can be stacked and nested; this feature isn't used in the original Icehouse game, but is taken advantage of in some of the other Icehouse-based games listed below.

Icehouse Pieces

Icehouse pieces were, for many years, sold as tubes containing one stash of durable crystal-look plastic pieces in one of ten available colors (though cyan was only available through their promotional program or as part of the Ice Towers set). In 2006, Looney Labs began selling Icehouse pieces as Treehouse sets, which are multicolored sets of 15 pyramids: five colors, each color having one each of the three sizes.

In 2001, Icehouse: The Martian Chess Set won the Origins Award for Best Abstract Board Game of 2000. In 2004, the Zendo boxed set won Best Abstract Board Game of 2003.


Icehouse pieces can be used to play many different abstract strategy games. Most games need at least two colors, and some require other readily-available equipment such as glass stones or a checkerboard. Rules for these games can be found on the Icehouse website. Some are also available in Playing with Pyramids, published by Looney Labs.

Games that use Icehouse pieces include:

External Links


Adapted from the Wikipedia article, Icehouse Pieces, used under the GNU Free Documentation License.