Each piece is a naval ship, all placed on the field of play in a mad rush. Then the small ships shoot torpedoes, then the medium ones, and then the large ones. The player with the most pips of ships left at the end is the winner.
Equipment: One Icehouse set per player and a straight edge. A laser pointer works best, a long ruler will do, string can work, or as a last resort a good eye and an accepting group of players. You probably only need to pull out the straight edge a couple of times each game.
Setup: Agree on a playing field, such as a card table or similar sized area. Players should be able to reach nearly every part of the table. Everyone should either have their stash of pieces upright at the edge of the playing area.
Begin: Once all the players are ready, as indicated by having a finger resting on the pointy top of one of your pieces, play begins. You may play any of your pieces lying down anywhere on the playing field that does not touch any other piece. Once a piece is played, it is not moved again.
Crashes: If you move an already-played piece, first try to fix the damage. Your piece is immediately declared dead and should be set on the side of the playing area standing upright. Put it away from your unplayed pieces so you don’t accidentally play it again.
Stopping: Once somebody has played his or her last piece, that player yells “stop”. All plays stop, although any pieces that are already touching the table may stay there, even if a player is still touching it.
Launch Torpedoes: First all the small ships fire torpedoes. Use your straight edge to draw a line from the tip of each small ship, and any non-small ship that it hits, enemy or friend is destroyed. These torpedoes launch simultaneously, so mark the sunk ships by setting them upright, making sure that by setting a piece upright you don’t recheck a small piece you have already checked. After all small ship torpedoes have been checked, removed the destroyed medium and large ships. Then the remaining medium ships fire torpedoes, and any non-medium ships they hit are destroyed, again simultaneously, so again mark the hit small and large ships by turning them upright and removing them when all the medium ship torpedoes have been checked. Last the large ships fire torpedoes, sinking any non-large ships in the same way.
Because most plays are made close to the target piece, you will probably not need the straight edge very often. Don’t remove the attacked ships as you go, because you might accidentally think that a ship which has already fired has not yet fired. Everyone should help with this so there are no mistakes.
Scoring: You get 1 point for any of your remaining small ships, 2 points for any remaining medium ships, and 3 points for any remaining large ships. Ties are broken by fisticuffs.
Strategies: If players are going to slow, there is a lot to be said for throwing down your ships as fast as possible and then yelling “stop.” This is often enough a successful strategy that play tends to be pretty fast.
You should make your attacks close to the target, although you really don’t need to worry about somebody putting the tip of their ship in front of yours. If you see a far shot that is aimed at one of your ships, you can block it by putting a like-sized ship in front of the shot, and hopefully aim the like-sized ship somewhere useful.
Don’t bother attacking a ship twice if a small is already pointed at it.
It is better to play your ships somewhere useless, even if it might get shot, than to let it never get played.
In case of a tie, strike first and hard. Maybe you’ll catch the opponent flat footed.