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Olle Johansson and Martin Ackerfors
Ants running the gauntlet over a pavement while mean kids tries to splat them.
:Players Players: 2 - 4
:Time Length: Medium?
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 1/player
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1/player
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Setup time: 1
Playing time: 15
15 Min
0.25 Hr
- 30
30 Min
0.5 Hr
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme: Unstackable icehouse pieces
BGG Link:
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987
Antshouse was in the first Ice Game Design Competition. Credits: David Hagman for invaluable suggestions.


Ants running the gauntlet over a pavement while mean kids tries to splat them.


Get your ant across the pavement and back with more building material for the anthill while trying to stop your opponents by bombarding the other ants with an assortment of weaponry.


Place the chess board between the players and a stash of icehouse pieces in front of each player, on a stash pad if they prefer. If you are only two players you should start on opposing sides. Each player chooses one of their Medium pieces and places it on any square on the first row of the chess board, this is their playing piece. They also place one Large piece in front of them, this is the direction piece that will be used to show which direction the ant is going to move.


In each round all players secretly decides where they want their ant to go by turning their direction piece in the direction they want the ant to move. Next all players can place one of the pieces on their stash pad anywhere on the chess board that is not already occupied by any other piece, except other players playing pieces, if they want to do an attack with their kid.

Once all players have decided what to do for their turn their direction pieces are revealed. All players then move their ants according to the direction the piece is pointing to.

Now all attacks are resolved to see what happens. If several weapons would conflict with each other, smaller pieces are executed before larger ones, and if two pieces of the same size conflict the players should play Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide which is executed first.

When all movement and weapon use has been resolved, a new round begins.


The ant starts on any square of the chess board in the row closest to that player.

An ant can only go to an adjacent square, and since ants are always on the move, they have to move and cannot stay on the same square. They can move in any direction they want, and can move diagonally. If an ant is unable to move, it will starve to death, and the player needs to restart from the first row of the chess board during the next turn.

If two or more ants move into the same square, the players need to play Rock-Paper-Scissors. The winner can move the opponents ant one square in any direction they want.


The mean little kids have three types of weapons, each represented by a different size of pyramid. Pine Cones can be used five or possibly more times, while the other two attacks can be used until they have been successful four times each. The different weapons are:

  • Pine Cone (small pyramid with one pip) - Pine cones don't harm ants they land on, but ants cannot move into a square with a pine cone already in it.
  • Water (medium pyramid with two pips) - If the water hits a square with an ant on it the player who used the weapon gets to choose which adjacent square the ant is moved to, following normal ant movement rules. All ants that are next to a square hit by water are moved one square in the same direction, away from the water. If the movement rules disallow the ant to move in that direction, the ant remains in the same square.
  • Magnifying Glass (large pyramid with three pips) - If the magnifying glass is used on a square with an ant on it the ant dies and the player needs to start over with a new ant from their side of the board. If the magnifying glass is used on a square with a Pine Cone that cone is removed from the board and placed back on the owning players stash pad.

When a weapon is used, a pyramid representing the weapon is taken from the players stash pad and placed on the board. If the attack is successful the piece is removed from the board and discarded (placed aside from the stash pad) except for Small pieces in which case it remains on the board until the game ends, unless they are burned away with a Magnifying Glass. If the attack is unsuccessful, the piece is placed back on the stash pad.

If a player doesn't have the right type of pyramid in their stash pad, they cannot use that weapon.

Winning the game

The first player who can get their ant to the opposing side of the board and back again without dying wins.

Additional comments

  • For a shorter, but less strategic game, you win if you get your piece to the other side of the board.
  • It's also possible to start in each corner of the board and move to the opposing corner.
  • To make it easier to see which direction the direction piece is pointing to it can be placed on a piece of paper with the 8 different directions marked out.
  • To avoid confusion between Water attacks and the playing piece of the same player the playing piece can be placed on its side.
  • This version of the rules are a bit revised from the version entered in the contest which clarifies a few points missed in the original rules.

External Links

Credits and Copyright

This game is licensed under a Creative_Commons License and is copyrighted © 2006 by me, Olle Johansson and Martin Ackerfors

Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Summer 2004
Winner: Sprawl 2nd: Missile Command 3rd: Turning Points 4th: Moscow Ice
5th: Breakthrough 6th (tie): Martian Shogi and Venusian Bowling
8th: Antshouse 9th: Limn 10th (tie): Arena and the Icehouse Null Game