We’ve gotten many questions from First Edition backers of I·C·E as to what exactly has changed from their version to the brand new Second Edition that’s launching soon on Gamefound — so we’ve written it all down here.

This article will not only explain every change, but will give our reasons why.

Many gamers may be wondering why we made so many changes between editions. Well the biggest difference that most people are aware of by now is the change from five levels of superimposed tiles to three.  Basically, the first edition of I·C·E proved too costly to make and continue producing, and we needed to change it to fewer levels if we wanted to keep it as our flagship title. 

One of the layers of tiles that we’re removing is technically still there — it’s just printed on the bottom of the board now (and plays a bit differently). Another layer that was removed was one of the three Artifact levels, which indeed required a gameplay tweak. We were initially concerned at first by what this might mean for the game, and we were worried that any potential new backers might assume that removing a layer of Artifacts might lessen the gameplay. And so we experimented with countless iterations until we finally got to a version that actually improves the gameplay! This is not what we were expecting, to be honest. We knew it would be different, but actually improved? (And even a little more “expert,” which we personally love). It was a fortunate turn of events!

We’ll be honest: if we didn’t have to remove a level of Artifacts, it’s quite possible we might have kept the game (mostly) as it was — a game we were proud of, and that got great reviews (like a “Seal of Approval” from The Dice Tower). But this “forced” change turned out to actually be a blessing. 

We quickly realized we had been perhaps a bit too ambitious in our initial game design. Sure, it was “cool” to have so many layers — but that didn’t necessarily make the game any better. If anything, it slowed down the game and made it longer (to set up/break down, and definitely to play), which then made the game a bit draggy during the second half. Now, the new Second Edition version’s pacing is perfect, and the fun-factor remains throughout. 

And so because we were making this major change in the game anyway, no matter what, we figured this was also our chance to make any other changes we thought the game might need. It would make less sense to do these changes if the next version was an exact reprint, but because it was going to have this significant change in layers, it seemed appropriate to take advantage of this moment to fix some other things…


We realize that offering a very different Second Edition so soon after the first could potentially be a sore spot for original backers, and we apologize in advance if any v1 backers feel this way. That is not our intent, and we ALWAYS have original backers on our minds with every decision that we do.

Please understand things from our perspective: 

In terms of wanting to keep the game around as part of our library of offerings, we simply had no choice but to make this change to the game. And in order to satisfy NEW backers that might be concerned that removing a gameplay layer might lessen the gameplay, we had to go out of our way (via countless iterations and playtests), to finally come up with a version that proved that line of thinking wrong. Believe us when we say… we needed to improve the game. Not just for potential new backers, but for ourselves. If WE felt it didn’t at least match the gameplay and fun of v1, we would not have done it. But we can confidently say I·C·E has gotten even better (and some reviewers who have now played both versions agree).

And so we knew original backers might want to experience the Second Edition gameplay, and so that’s why we are offering a low-priced “Conversion Kit” in I·C·E Unlimited, so they could experience all the great changes coming, while still being able to keep their 1st Edition intact if they wanted.

The fact remains, the majority of original backers will get to play I·C·E for a full two years before anyone else (I·C·E Unlimited will most-likely fulfill in Summer of ’25). They will also be the ONLY gamers to boast having a game with 5 levels of tiles. And with the Conversion Kit, they will essentially have two versions of the game in one. They also got their version at the best possible price (even if that wasn’t the best thing for us 🙈 — but this new campaign will make up for that). 

But now onto the Second Edition changes…


The First Edition of I·C·E was a LOT of game, but also quite expensive (to produce AND buy as a consumer). This prevented the game from ever going to retail, which was one of the most unfortunate outcomes. So to ensure a Second Edition would definitely make it to retail, we decided to remove some features that were in v1 and move them to a first expansion (I·C·E: EDIFICES & GUILDS). Backers of the First Edition of I·C·E, who also got the I·C·E Companion Set, will NOT need to get this first expansion because they will already have everything it contains. It essentially targets new backers mostly.

The base game no longer has these elements that will now be in the separate EDIFICES & GUILDS expansion:

— From v1: two of the seven Guilds (Alchemists & Enlightened), the Smilodon meeples, the Sentinel Wurm Meeple and Edifice booklet.

— From the Companion Set: Edifice Cards and Guild Favor abilities

With less elements in the base game, in addition to the fewer layers of tiles to produce, this finally gives us a version of a base game that hits the “sweet spot” in price that’s appropriate for retail!


As stated above, we changed the final Edifice layer of tiles from v1 to being printed on the bottom of the board (see BOTTOM OF BOARD below). And then removed one of the three Artifact layers.

Why this ended up a good thing:

Obviously the cost benefits were the initial reason we did this, but then we were surprised to discover when we tweaked the rules that the game actually improved!

Click play to see setup of new board.

What’s changed:

  • Setup time! A previous concern with v1 was how long it took to set up all the tiles on the board. While we proved (in a realtime setup video) that it didn’t actually take as long as people thought it would, and even had a shorter setup time than some other popular games, it was still something that people assumed would be a hassle. Well now the game has almost 27% fewer tiles, so setup is now even quicker!
  • Obviously less tiles, and the fewer number of Days (rounds – discussed below), makes the game go much faster. One of the main complaints about v1 was that it went on way too long and dragged out a bit. It took way too much time to get to the bottom layer (if ever), and it made some players impatient. The Second Edition now has a game length that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Yet it still has the same great gameplay and feel of the original. 
  • In v1, the 1st layer of Artifacts all had an Anima (power) of one. The 3rd level of Artifacts all had an Anima of two. But the 2nd (middle) layer had a mix of Artifacts of Anima 1 or 2. This proved frustrating for some players when trying to validate Request cards that required a certain amount of Anima, and it boiled down to luck in getting the right Artifacts in many cases. By removing the mixed Anima layer, players can now have a much better idea of which Artifacts to go for and plan better accordingly.

Ultimately, the move to one less gameplay layer means much more of the bottom layer will be uncovered now, and more of the board will finally be explored. (In contrast to v1 that left a lot of tiles never touched at the end of most games). 


Most of Setup has remained the same, with some small changes:

  • Players set up the layers of tiles as usual (now faster!), but for the surface Snow layer we instruct them to save the Encampment tile so that is placed in one of the three center spaces of the board. This ensures there’s always a Camp (and Archaeologist!) in the center.
  • Players are now dealt FIVE Request cards at start, and keep three of them. This gives players a slightly wider range of direction to pursue from the start.
  • Players now have their own personal Camps in their own color. There is still one neutral (white) Camp that starts on the Encampment tile (for 4 players or less), and one neutral Camp in the Reserve (3 players or less). All Camps, even personal ones, can still be shared by all players (you can Call yourself to any Camp, but you can only Build your personal Camp or a neutral one). Certain Guilds (like CryoArchitects or Navigators) now have unique abilities tied to their personal Camps.
  • There’s a cool new variant setup we added for the Archaeologists! For the regular game, they are placed on Tunnel tiles as usual. But in the variant, a Logbook card is turned over the first Day (its effects are not applied), but now Logbooks have a tiny tile icon on the top, which indicates the tile types that Archaeologists should be placed on for setup: Tunnel, Clear, Rift or Nunatak. (Obviously the last two can result in a potentially more challenging game). And if the Encampment symbol shows up, then the Archaeologists are laid out in a “burst” pattern coming away from the Encampment tile.


We felt some of the Snow Tiles in v1 could have been better, and some players felt some of them felt like “take that” mechanics. (We disagree — as true “take that” mechanics punish a chosen player and they can’t do anything about it. Whereas the Snow tiles in question simply provided obstacles to opponents, requiring them to pivot their strategy — something that’s seen in many games. Regardless, those tiles are no longer part of the new base game). Some other tiles may have been harder to understand how they worked — so we changed some abilities here and there. 

Additionally, the distribution of abilities on the back of v1 tiles was also completely random among ALL the Snow tiles, which meant it was impossible to know what you were getting — making the game a bit too random for some players.

We also got rid of the Snowflake tiles. This was a separate stack of 10 tiles that repeated the Snow Tile abilities. But they only corresponded to 1 Logbook card and 1 Snow tile that we were getting rid of. So it seemed silly to keep them, and removing them helped with keeping costs down.

What’s changed:

— Now each of the 4 types of Snow tile (Clear, Tunnel, Rift, Nunatak) will only have three possible options of what their ability is on the back. This narrows the randomness down considerably, changing from a 12:1 chance of getting what you need, to now a 3:1 chance. This will make planning your game a whole lot easier. 

— The cost to excavate Snow tiles is now only 2 EP (Artifacts remain at 3 EP to excavate on the Surface level, and now will be 4 EP on the Deep Level). This makes more sense thematically, and also gives more incentive to dig for these really useful Snow tiles, instead of always digging straight for Artifacts only.

Completely changed Snow tiles:

Boreal Smilodon: The previous version made you place a Smilodon meeple on a tile which then became inaccessible until your next turn. As mentioned above, Smilodon meeples have now moved to the EDIFICES & GUILDS expansion and are no longer part of the base game (but are utilized for one of that expansion’s Guild Favor abilities). Instead, the tile’s new ability is now “Move all Archaeologists from one Tile to one of the adjacent Tiles.” (This was previously the White Spiders ability, but we felt it more appropriate here).

White Spiders: Since the previous ability has moved to Boreal Smilodon, the new ability is now: “Move up to 2 spaces with your Expedition Leader. A single Archaeologist can follow you on this move.” We wanted to have more abilities that moved Explorers. Also, it’s another “move” type that the Navigators guild can take advantage of (since up to 3 Archaeologists can follow them on ANY move action).

Whistle of Storms: the previous version had you using a Snowflake tile to place over any open space — but as explained above, Snowflake tiles are no longer part of this game. This was a very confusing ability for a lot of players anyway, while also being not as effective — so this made sense to change. Now the new ability is: “Move up to 2 Archaeologists from any one tile to a tile with a Camp.” Another new way to move Archaeologists!

Polar Termite Swarm: The previous version (which had a slightly different name) allowed you to Excavate a Snow tile that your Leader was on for free. But now that Snow Tiles costs less to excavate, that ability was suddenly less appealing (and not used much previously anyway). The tile’s new ability now reads: “Your next Excavation this turn costs 1 EP less” — making it a very flexible ability to use for ANY excavation!

Charisma Stone is now completely gone! But the ability itself (controlling another player’s Expedition Leader as your own) will resurface… in the new I·C·E: RELICS expansion, as an ability for a completely new Guild: the Telepaths!

Anima Gemstone: This is a brand new Snow tile replacing Charisma Stone, with a brand new piece of art by Léonard Dupond. With it, you can basically trigger the effect of an Artifact tile on which your expedition Leader is located. This is similar to the Incandescents Activation Token (and they are now the only Guild with the potential for activating the same Artifact ability three times in a Day!).

Slightly altered Snow Tiles:

Abseiling Rope: The original version allowed you to ignore the Placement Rule after an excavation, but in some instances (where you might have too many Archaeologists, thanks to something like an Exalted Artifact), this tile was simply too overpowered. The new ability now reads: “When Excavating, ignore the Placement Rule for your Expedition Leader and 1 Archaeologist.” In most excavations, it still has mainly the same effect, but now won’t be OP in rarer edge cases. 

Ice Sailboat: The previous version had you and another player gain an Archaeologist on the tiles your Leaders were on, and you only would also gain 1 RP. The new version still has both players gaining an Archaeologist, but now no one receives RP (which is now harder to come by).

Wreck: This previously allowed you to earn 1 EP and 1 RP, while another player also gained 1 EP. This never made much sense as to why another player gained something when finding a wreck, so now just the player playing this tile gains the benefits. 


As explained above, what was once the Edifice layer of tiles is now a printed layer on the bottom of the board. But it also works very differently, and has now become Azulia, the Nuuka Ancient City — featuring a stunning new illustration by Léonard Dupond. 

In the v1 version, fully uncovering an Edifice tile was an endgame trigger. In I·C·E: Second Edition, there are no more Edifices in the base game (the gameplay for them has now moved to the EDIFICES & GUILDS expansion!). And with one less layer of Artifacts, it means getting to the bottom of the board happens much more quickly. Not only that, a LOT of the boards bottom can become uncovered, depending on how many players are playing and how well they are playing. So revealing the space of a single Hexagon at the bottom is no longer an endgame trigger, because that would end the game way too early — and we also wanted players to explore more of the board, getting enough Artifacts to validate the Request cards for Renown points. So it required a bit of adjusting, but we’re VERY pleased with the results!

Because games will now uncover more of the board’s bottom, we changed how things work. The final layer is a completely new gamespace, filled with larger outlined “Areas” that are the size of two regular hexagon spaces put together. These Areas count as one larger space, and movement between one of these Areas to another Area (or an Area to an adjacent Artifact tile) still counts as one Movement action — but they allow you to travel greater distances. Camps cannot fall down to the Azulia layer either, so when excavating a tile above with a Camp, that Camp now goes back to its respective reserve.

When revealing the full outline of a single Area, the player who caused the full reveal immediately receives 1 Renown Point. In the EDIFICES & GUILDS expansion, revealing a number of these areas equal to the player count will also trigger the discovery of an Edifice.


In the Second Edition of I·C·E, there is now just one way the game ends: At the end of the last Day, when all players have exhausted their actions.

And there is now only 4 Days instead of 7! 

Our extensive playtests with the new board, layers of tiles, and new actions have shown that even with only 4 Days, you can achieve ALL the things you were able to do in the First Edition, like potentially unlocking all Artifact abilities, and getting plenty of Artifacts to fulfill Requests. But now the game ends at a more appropriate time, without feeling like it drags on too long. That additional Artifact layer in the First Edition meant getting to the bottom felt like it took forever — as you needed to remove soooo many surrounding tiles to even excavate to the bottom at all. The Second Edition changes all that, and makes the overall experience much more rewarding — and also more aesthetically pleasing, as more of Léonard’s new image at the bottom gets revealed. 

In the first Edition, when players ended their Day, they had the option of sending up to three Artifacts “to the City” (off their player board), to use for scoring Decrees and Validating Requests at the end of the game. For the Second Edition, we’re making a few changes and decided that the Days need a definitive third phase (after the Preparation & Exploration phases), called the “End-of-Day Phase”:

  • For more accurate lore purposes, we are changing the phrase “Send to the City” to “Send to the Ship’s Hold.” It’s essentially the same action, but it makes more sense that the Artifacts are going to a guild’s ship during the game, and will only be sent to the City at the very end of the game.
  • There is now a new “Day Marker” that you use on a new “Day Track” that indicates which Day (round) the players are on. This track also indicates how many Artifacts can be sent to the Ship’s Hold, which now varies each Day. (2/3/3/4 Artifacts, depending). This negates the need for the “Resend” action, which was often the last action of the game in First Edition, leaving the remaining action for better use.
  • Players don’t receive RP for Artifact sent to Ship’s Hold (instead of getting 1 RP per Anima like First Edition). This keeps things simpler, but also keeps in line with the idea that RP is harder to come by, and should not be overused for things like the Overwork action.
  • There is now a new “Get a new Request” step that happens during the End-of-Day phase. This also eliminates a previous action (“Consult the Register”), making new Requests easier to get without wasting precious actions. The first player to end their Day forms a river of cards by revealing *# of players* + 2 Request cards. Then that player, and every subsequent player when they end their Day, may obtain a new Request for free from the cards remaining. (Unvalidated Requests still give -2 Renown at endgame). After the last player chooses, any remaining Requests in the river are discarded.


The following actions have now been removed, as explained previously:

  • Consult the Register
  • Resend

The following actions/rules have changed slightly:

  • Build a Camp — As mentioned in Setup, this action is mostly the same, though players can only build their own personal Camp, or a neutral one, and not another player’s personal Camp.
  • Excavate — The excavating cost is now variable, depending on the tile you’re planning to excavate! Snow tiles now only cost 2 EP to dig, while surface Artifacts remain at 3 EP, and deep Artifacts are now 4 EP. Modifiers (Nunatak tiles, Camps, overlapping tiles) still adjust these costs. 
  • Collapse Rule — Still mostly the same, but now tiles on the edge of the board (that have no other tiles touching their edges) don’t collapse. They can still collapse by other means (an ability, or excavating the tile beneath them). We changed this in order for the board not to get too many tiles removed too quickly. It also kind of makes sense, as the edges are like one long piece of ice.

New Action!:

  • Study — You can now study Artifacts for 1 EP! Studying gives you one of the new Study tokens for whichever Artifact your Leader is currently standing on. You can only have one Study token of each of the 5 types, and it essentially acts as a 1 Anima Artifact (shapeless) of that color. They technically don’t count as Artifacts (and so they are never sent to the Ship’s Hold), however they CAN be used to help add Anima to activate an Artifact ability (they alone cannot activate an ability and must be paired with an Artifact of the same color), and they can also help with validating certain types of Requests. The Study action really helps when you’re simply unable to excavate the type of Artifact you need, but really need that Artifact’s ability or to validate a Request. 
Click to see the new Study Action!


Logbooks have changed in that there are now less of them, though more may be coming in later expansions. Some Logbook events have changed as well to make them a better fit with the new gameplay.

Some Requests and Decrees have been tweaked for better clarity, or new ones have been added (like a Decree that scores based on the number of Study tokens you have).


Just to give a little more Lore flavor, we’ve named each Guild member that’s featured on the board! We’re also limiting the base game to just these 5 Guilds:

CryoArchitects (Ai-Den) — While the ability is similar, it’s become slightly more powerful as it’s now worded this way: “Their Camp reduces the EP cost by -1 for an Excavation, rather than the usual +1 modification.” This applies only to the CryoArchitects personal Camp. In addition, when most Guilds excavate with Camps, that Camp falls to the tiles below and cannot be rebuilt again (unless something causes that Camp to be destroyed, in which case it goes back to the Reserve and can be built again). The CryoArchitect, however, can “rebuild” their Camp elsewhere once per Day on a fully revealed tile. This guild was always tricky to play with and many players didn’t understand how useful they could be. But with the rewording, and the ability to now rebuild their Camp elsewhere, this guild will now truly shine.

Incandescents (Sikarra) — The starting RP is now 2, for slight balancing purposes. 

Navigators (Anaan’ mok) — Their ability to bring up to 3 Archaeologists with them on ANY move action (including with Call, Build a Camp and Snow tiles) remains the same, though once per Day they can also move (with Archaeologists, if any) to their personal Guild Camp for free. However, their “Camp” is actually now an Ice sailboat instead (which Lore-wise, is more appropriate). It functions exactly like a regular Camp in almost all aspects, with one exception: it doesn’t fall down to Artifact tiles (it’s always placed on the nearest Snow Tile instead). This requires a bit of different strategy while playing, but can be super useful when played well!

Icewalkers (Jif) — The First Edition Icewalker ability was a bit OP, we admit. So we’ve adjusted it slightly. They now start the game with two grappling tokens, which can be used (flipped over) to use their ability (the Leader meeple can still be placed, without restriction, anywhere on the tiles below after an excavation, and after the Archaeologists have all been placed according to the Placement Rule). Then, at the Start of each new Day, only one grappling token is activated. This makes this mostly a once-per-Day ability (though one of the four Days it can be done twice). To make up for this slight de-powering, we have also increased the guild’s starting Renown from 0 to 2 RP, allowing them the ability to Overwork from the very start.

Nourishers (Aoï) — The Nourishers have the biggest change. Their original ability (you can use the Call action to bring Archaeologists directly to wherever your Leader was, instead of just a Camp) wasn’t used much. So now we changed it so that every Day the Nourishers start with two Archaeologists from the Reserve on their player board. Once per turn, they can bring one of these to a Snow Tile for free (the Leader can be present or not). This will encourage more excavation of Snow tiles, meaning the Nourishers will most-likely make the best use of these super-useful free abilities. 


Besides all of the above changes, we also have an expert variant for the game that’s coming, that will truly shake things up. Stay tuned for more details during the campaign!


We really believe that a lot of the changes above have really improved the game dramatically. For First Edition backers, they might have a hard time wrapping their head around how, though — until they have actually played with it themselves. That’s why we’ll have an open Tabletop Simulator version of Second Edition soon that people can try out to make up their minds.

Ultimately, the choice is yours: I·C·E First Edition is a fantastic game, and if you’re happy with it, it can remain unchanged — and the new I·C·E: RELICS expansion is 100% compatible with it! 

But if you’d like to incorporate the new gameplay of Second Edition into your First Edition copy, then we’ve created the I·C·E CONVERSION KIT which will be available during the I·C·E Unlimited campaign on Gamefound.

The Conversion Kit will contain: 

  • All 112 tiles of the 2nd Edition game
  • 75 cards (5 Logbooks, 9 Decrees, 54 Requests, 7 Playing Aids)
  • The City of Azulia board (this will be a single piece covering the bottom of the main game board)
  • Sticker sheets
  • Punchboard (Study & Guild tokens)
  • New solo mode components (solo guild sheets, 30 cards)
  • Expedition booklet (Rulebook of the 2d Edition)
  • A sheet explaining how Edifices can still be incorporated into your games!

(Please note that the sticker sheets are for changing the guild boards, as the changes are very minor, and offering brand new Guild boards would have increased the cost of the Conversion Kit considerably. We prefer to make this as affordable as possible)

We will be offering the Kit separately as an add-on for 25€, or in the “Returning Backers” pledge for just 45€ — which includes the Kit, but also the new RELICS Collector expansion (normally 35€) and I·C·E Map (5€). So the Returning Backers pledge is a really great deal, saving you 20€!


That should give you a good idea of all the changes coming to I·C·E Second Edition! Feel free to ask us more questions about it on our socials.