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With so many different games to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. To help, this page features a curated list of our favorite pyramid games. Just click on the name of each game to visit a page with more information on that game, including the complete rules. (For a much more encyclopedic list of games for the pyramids, please visit the fan-run site, IcehouseGames.org.)

 


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Meta Rules

Before tackling the games themselves, take note of the Meta Rules. This page covers a variety of higher-level subjects related to pyramid games, including Going First, Visibility Issues, Younger Players, Simultaneous Gaming, Pyramid Throwdowns, Scoring with Pyramids, Game Zero, and Playing It Cool.


 

The 22 Games in Pyramid Arcade

  • Black ICE: You are a computer hacker, seeking to be the first to figure out a 3 color secret code.
  • Color Wheel: A solitaire / cooperative game of swapping pieces until all are grouped into clusters of one color.
  • Give or Take: Collect a matched set of 3 pieces by taking from a central pile, or giving pieces back.
  • Hijinks: Get all 3 same-sized pieces lined up in your home row before your opponent does.
  • Homeworlds: A complex intergalactic space battle game. No luck, no hidden info, just pure strategy.
  • IceDice: A fast & simple press-your-luck dice game. Collect 3 monochrome trees to win!
  • IceTowers: A fast, turnless stacking game. You get points for each piece in a tower if your piece is on top!
  • LaunchPad 23: Be the first to build a 5-stage rocket using randomly delivered factory parts!
  • Looney Ludo: Your pieces move around on a gameboard made of tiles that rotate and change positions.
  • Lunar Invaders: You must teleport to an enemy moon, take over their teleporter, and use it to beam home.
  • Martian Chess: It’s kind of like chess, but your pieces change ownership as soon as you attack with them.
  • Petal Battle: Your pieces represent insects fighting over a flower. Take over half of the petals to win!
  • Petri Dish: You control germs in a Petri dish. Dominate the dish by eliminating the other germs!
  • Pharaoh: Get your 3 pieces into a row in the center of the board before you get kicked back out!
  • Powerhouse: Pieces drawn randomly from a bag react to others you’ve saved as you seek to build a set.
  • Pyramid-Sham-Bo: Pyramids are added to Rock Paper Scissors to make it an elimination tournament event.
  • Treehouse: Rearrange your trio of pieces to match the arrangement of a trio centered on the table. 
  • Twin Win: A quick bluffing board game where you seek to build either of 2 secret goal patterns.
  • Verticality: A dexterity game in which players build rickety towers using cards and pyramids
  • Volcano: A puzzle game of causing eruptions and matching pieces to collect a set of trios.
  • World War 5: It’s a world conquest board game you can play in just half an hour!
  • Zark City: A deck of standard playing cards is used to create a gameboard to battle upon.

The Original Game

  • Icehouse: Although this is the game that started it all, we don’t actually recommend starting here. This real-time game is difficult to learn and challenging to play. But this list would not be complete without it, since Icehouse lead to the creation of these other games. Icehouse was not included in Pyramid Arcade because it requires 15 pyramids of each color, and none of the games in the Arcade need more than 9.

The Most Logical Game

  • Zendo: This inductive logic game is so unique and compelling that many Starship Captains list it as their favorite. It’s so good Looney Labs sells a standalone edition, featuring a special set of game pieces. However, many fans still play it with pyramids. Like Icehouse, Zendo was not included in Pyramid Arcade because it requires many pieces in just a few colors.

20 Other Fan Favorites

 

The Pyramid Arcade rulebook includes a list of other great games chosen by the community at the time. In addition to Icehouse and Zendo, the games on that list were as follows:

  • imgAlien City: Four powerful guilds are constructing a city of towers and domes on a newly colonized world in the far future.
  • Apophis: A high-speed cooperative game of launching missiles at the Apophis asteroid before it hits the Earth on April 13, 2029!
  • BLAM! Placing a piece shoves other pieces around. Pushing pieces off the board earns you points!
  • Builders of R’lyeh: A stacking and dexterity game about constructing the alien city of R'lyeh. Try to get your pyramid atop the tallest crazy spire in the city of Cthulhu before it sinks into the sea.
  • Egyptian Solitaire: A solitaire puzzle game that can also be played cooperatively or competitively. Imagine a combination of Peg Solitaire and a Rubik's Cube.
  • Freeze Tag: Pyramids race to the other side, trying not to get frozen along the way by getting stacked upon.
  • Gleebs and Grues: Absorb the enemy Gleebs while trying not to be eaten by a Grue. Each player has two colors of pyramids, plus a fifth color is used for the Grue, who can immobilize or remove pyramids from the game.
  • Gnostica: A territory-based war game. Tarot cards create the gameboard and give players special powers. (This game was based on an earlier favorite, called Zarcana.)
  • Logger: Four rival lumberjacks are competing to chop down the most trees for their business. However, standing in their way are tree-hugging hippies protesting the deforestation!
  • Penguin Soccer: The pyramids become cute families of penguins, sliding around on the ice, playing soccer!
  • Pikemen: Your pyramids are Pikemen, warriors with long spears. Each turn, a Pikeman may charge in the direction they are pointing and then orient their pike in any direction, including straight up for defense.
  • PylonAn abstract strategy game of placement and stacking. A placement phase, in which all the pyramids are placed onto the board, is followed by a stacking phase, in which pyramids are collected into stacks.
  • Quicksand: A brain-burning abstract. Place a pyramid onto the board, or use a placed pyramid to capture others by jumping over them. Next, rotate one of the boards – this can greatly alter the balance of power.
  • RAMbots: Program your RAMbot to tag all four flags, while avoiding getting rammed and shot by lasers!
  • Stack Control: A game of stacking shared pieces. Each player is assigned a color, and there is at least one neutral color in play as well. On your turn, you can stack pyramids of any color, either helping score potential points for yourself or to eliminate rival pyramids. If all your pyramids leave play, you lose!
  • Subdivision: You are a real estate developer competing with others to strategically develop a new subdivision. Where you build is somewhat restricted and what gets built next to you affects your value. Bring down your competitor's value while maximizing your own.
  • Synapse-Ice: Players alternate placing flat pyramids on any square on the board, pointing to an empty space. Larges point to the square 3 steps away, Mediums point 2 steps away, and Smalls point to the adjacent space. The next player must place their piece in the square just pointed to. This piece must also point to an empty space. The first player unable to make a move loses.
  • Timelock: You’re an agent of the Time Repair Agency, racing to create a Timelock to stop an alternate reality version of yourself from taking your place in this continuum. A semi-abstract strategy game of matchings stacks of pyramids before the Goal changes again.
  • Torpedo: Players rush to deploy a fleet of naval vessels (flat pyramids) on the table in real-time. After all of a player's pyramids have been placed, they fire their torpedoes, and some ships will sink!
  • Undercut: An auction game where the players score points based on sets of similar pieces, but the twist is that the player with the lowest score wins.
 

The Kickstarter 5

 

During the Pyramid Arcade Kickstarter campaign, a high-level pledge item allowed backers to choose their own favorite game for inclusion in a special set of bonus reference cards. Seven games were chosen that have already been listed above (Icehouse, Zendo, RAMbots, Gnostica, Freeze Tag, Penguin Soccer, and Blam!). Here are the other five games:

  • Aquarius Rising: The card game Aquarius combined with pyramids. Build towers to get your color on top!
  • Carrots & Broccoli: Two gardeners are planting crops in a shared field. But the plants (and the wall!) keep getting moved!
  • Pyramid Ball: Two teams of robots are playing sports. Can you program your team to win the game?
  • Skurdir: Transport passengers between stations. Earn points if you own the stations or the canals used!
  • Solomids: Stack, slide & swap pyramids to match up monochrome trees. Create all 15 trees to win!

New From Looney After Pyramid Arcade

 

Our designer-in-chief has been continuing to create new games for the system. Each year since publishing Pyramid Arcade, the rules to a new pyramid game have been released as the Looney Labs holiday gift.

  • Bowler Rink: Toss a die into the box containing stacks of pyramids. How many can you knock over without ejecting them from the arena?
  • Closest Ghost: Watch out for the ghosts as you scramble to pick up your scattered trick-or-treat candies before the other player does! (Most fun when played with actual candy!)
  • IceToids: Using 16 tiles to create a gameboard, players must move their 3 pieces onto the 3 tiles that feature their color’s symbol.
  • Lava Flows: Move your pieces into set positions on the other side of the board, but don’t forget whose pieces are hidden under whose.
  • Nomids: Can you be the first to get rid of all 3 of the pyramids you start with... to have no ‘mids? Roll to see what moves you can take.
  • Sandships: A territorial conquest game set in the dying civilization of ancient Mars. Control three cities to win!

New Fan Favorites

 

So what other pyramid games are so good they ought to be featured on this page? At some point we will add more fan favorites -- join the conversation at our online gathering places and share your latest favorites!

Glotz, the Work-in-Progress Game

 

The last game to mention has no rules to link to, because they haven’t been written yet. “Glotz” is our name for any new game we are still in the process of creating. Any incomplete game is called Glotz until a real name emerges… then the next game we think of becomes Glotz. And if you ever decide to invent your own game for these pyramids, you can call it Glotz, too! And when you settle on a real name, you can post the rules on IcehouseGames.org and invite the community to try playing it!

 

The Pyramid Arcade instruction booklet included three "Glotz Challenges", these being starting points for pyramid games that have yet to be designed:

  • Glotz Challenge #1: A game for 3 trios each of 4 colors, a chessboard, and the pyramid die, using an interesting starting configuration and piece stacking method.
  • Glotz Challenge #2: A game for the 5 suited deck of cards that comes with Pyramid Arcade, the color die, and pyramids that match those 5 colors.
  • Glotz Challenge #3: A game for the 12 pyramids that are left when you use Pyramid Arcade to play Volcano: black and white pieces of just medium and large sizes. (Andy's game Lava Flows is his answer to this challenge.)