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Don’t Break the Ice Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Don’t Break the Ice Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Don’t Break the Ice How to Play Quick Links: Objective | Setup | Playing the Game | Winning the Game | FAQ | Components

Objective of Don’t Break the Ice

In Don’t Break the Ice, players try to safely knock out blocks of ice without making Phillip the penguin fall through it. The player that “breaks the ice” in each round loses and is eliminated from the game. The goal of Don’t Break the Ice is to be the last player to not make Phillip fall through the ice.



Place the ice tray frame upside down on the table. Attach the four ice tray legs to the bottom. Keep the ice tray frame upside down and start loading all of the ice blocks into the tray in rows. They should be placed with the smooth side touching the table (you should see the “open side”). The large ice block can be placed wherever you want (it doesn’t have to sit in the middle). Upon completion, you will have a complete sheet of ice covering the whole frame. You may have to really work to squeeze the last few ice blocks into the tray. Finally, turn over the ice tray frame and place Phillip into the slot on the large ice block.

A picture of the assembly for Don't Break the Ice. The ice tray frame is upside down to make it easy to put the ice blocks and tray legs into the proper places.


Playing Don’t Break the Ice

The youngest player goes first in Don’t Break the Ice. Each turn, players pick up a mallet and choose an ice block to try to remove from the frame. They then use the mallet to tap/hit the ice block until it breaks off from the rest of the ice and drops to the table. Players must continue to go for the same ice block and can’t change their decision. Even if they know they will knock Phillip off the ice tray, they must continue to tap the same ice block.

This player is in the process of tapping this ice block to try to make it fall safely.

If a player successfully knocks out an ice block without making Phillip fall through the ice, their turn ends and the next player (the player to their left) does the same thing. If more than one ice block falls, it’s fine (as long as Phillip doesn’t fall). However, if they break the ice and Phillip falls through, they are out of the game. Reassemble the ice tray (you can presumably change the position of the large ice block if you wish) and start another round with the remaining players.

The player successfully knocked out the ice block without causing Phillip to fall to the table. Play moves to the next player.

This player knocked Phillip through the ice. They are now out of the game. A new round begins without them (or any other player(s) who already knocked Phillip off the ice in a previous turn).


Winning Don’t Break the Ice

Continue playing rounds until all but one player has knocked Phillip through the ice. That player wins Don’t Break the Ice.


Don’t Break the Ice FAQ


Note: If you have any questions about how to play Don’t Break the Ice, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.



A picture of all of the components included in Don't Break the Ice: 32 small ice blocks, a large ice block, ice tray frame, 4 ice tray legs, Phillip the penguin figure, 2 mallets and instructions.

All of the components included in the 2016 version of the game.

  • 2 mallets
  • Ice tray frame
  • 4 ice tray legs
  • 1 large ice block
  • 32 small ice blocks
  • 1 Phillip the Penguin figure
  • Instructions



Year: 1968 | Publisher: Hasbro

Genres: Dexterity, Children’s

Ages: 3+ | Number of Players: 2-4 | Length of Game: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate

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