From IcehouseOrg
Jump to: navigation, search
Jacob Davenport
Pikemen game
Defend your pieces from jousting pikemen!
:Players Players:
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 1 per player
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1 per player
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Setup time: 2 minutes
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme: jousting
BGG Link: [1]
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987

Pikemen is a chess-like Icehouse game with simple rules and some interesting resulting strategies. It can be an absolute blast when played on strange boards.

It was originally known as "IceChess" but the name was changed to avoid confusion with Martian Chess.


An interesting property of Pikemen is the dichotomy between attacking and defending. An attacking piece has very little defensive value, since any other piece can capture it, yet it must become vulnerable in order to threaten an opponent's pieces. A defending piece, being upright, cannot attack at all, but can only be captured by a limited number of pieces; 3-point pieces cannot be captured at all while upright. A player who creates a strong attack formation will be exposed to counterattacks, and a player who plays very defensively will be slow in acquiring points. This creates an interesting balance between aggressive and cautious play styles.

A common and obvious strategy in Pikemen, as well as Chess, is pinning. An upright piece cannot be reoriented if it is being pointed at by another piece, lest it be captured. A 3-point piece can be immobilized by a 1-pointer, but only as long as the 1-pointer is there. Pinning is commonly resisted via counterattacking the pinning piece.

It gives you a definite advantage to have as many 3-pointers mobile as possible. The game is all about points, and 3-pointers are the best way to rack up points. Each pinned 3-pointer is diminished in its ability to apply offensive pressure to your opponent.

The Rock/Paper/Scissors variant

An optional capturing rule where 3-pointers can not capture upright 1-pointers and 1-pointers can capture upright 3-pointers. All other rules are exactly the same. The effect is like that in the game of rock/paper/scissors: Each type of piece is superior to one of the other types of pieces and vulnerable to the third.


Some people exposed to the game have criticized it for being called "Pike-men" in a era when gender neutrality is in fashion. Suggestions for alternative names are currently being collected.

External Links

Featured in Pyramid Arcade 22 More Great Games
Little Else Required
Apophis · Egyptian Solitaire · Freeze Tag
Gleebs and Grues · Logger · Timelock · Penguin Soccer
More Pyramids Required
Icehouse · Quicksand · Torpedo · Undercut
More Pyramids + Other Stuff Required
Alien City · Blam! · Builders of R'lyeh · Gnostica
Pikemen · Pylon · RAMbots · Stack Control
Subdivision · Synapse-Ice · Zendo
Featured in Playing with Pyramids
Gnostica · Martian Chess · RAMbots · Pikemen
Volcano · Zagami · Zendo · Martian Backgammon
IceTowers · Icehouse · Thin Ice · Homeworlds