Phantoms of the Ice

What is it?

Phantoms of the Ice is the first game by White Wind that isn't by Alan Moon. It's a cute little game about managing an Ice Hockey team. It takes about 1-2 hours depending on the number of players.

Each player has a goalie, two defensivemen and three forwards. The defensivemen may or may not be "bruisers" who can injury other players. Each card has a value from 0-11. Higher is better. During a turn, a player can do one of three things:

When you draft a player, you just discard a player you don't like and replace him with the top card of the same type of player (you don't show what you discarded or got).

When you trade with another player, you pick a card at random from his hand and then replace it with one of your players of the same type (and you can't give back the card you got). This is somewhat risky as you might get a poorer player than you get. But, if you know that someone has a strong team, it is a good way to balance things out.

Finally, you can play a game. During a game, you each play one card and then simultaneously reveal it, and score goals according to the following rules:

In addition to scoring goals, if you play a bruiser (some of the defensivemen) then your opponents card is injured. Injured cards must be discarded (and the top card of the draft pile taken) after the game.

After each round, you play another round from your remaining hand, until six rounds have been played. That is the game. Highest number of goals wins. If there is a tie, you replace injured players and have sudden death.

You have to challenge each player before you can challenge anyone a second time.

The first person to get to 9 victories wins the game. This is actually a variant rule. The real rules say the first person to win 9 games plays against the 2nd place team (best of 7), but that seems boring for everyone else.


There are actually a few complications. Tiny Tim is a defensive player with a value of 1/2. However, he scores against any goalie. Rumplestilskin has a value of 1; however, whenever a bruiser tries to hurt him, the bruiser gets injured...


At $18, this game is a great buy. And, for once, others agree with me. Mike Siggins said PotI was the big seller at Essen 94, selling over 1,000 copies. The artwork is nice, the cards are funny, and the game has luck, psychology and memory. Maybe even a bit of skill too, although I'm not sure. It plays from 3-10 or so, although 5-6 is just fine...


This was written by Brian Bankler.

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