As cold weather devours the Northern Hemisphere and we await the
Vancouver Winter Olympics, let us build here, a display, as if in a museum, of all of the games about the Arctic Wastes. Let us keep it to just the Great White North, so polar bears, not penguins.
sorted by reverse year of first publication
The Klondyke Nugget Game
Atchoo Igloo (Hatschi Iglu)
(uncredited); Megableu-2012; 2-4; 15; 4+
Players begin with plastic ice blocks which they try to get rid of by
placing into the bear's igloo, according to die rolls. But if you roll
the sneezing bear he makes electronic sounds and ejects blocks.
Michael Schacht; (web-published)-2012; 2-4; 45
Alternate map for the popular
Web of Power
game. This one is unusual in depicting the North Pole situation in
which a water feature lies at the center
as well as locations that are actually in water.
Meltdown: Save the Polar Bears Before the Ice Melts
(unknown); GEOlino-2012; 2-4; 30; 5+
German cooperative game of saving a polar bear family from melting ice
floes, made by the players by freezing water in a mold. The board is a
sponge that absorbs the melting ice.
Wei-Cheng Cheng; Formosa Force Games; 1-8; 15; 8+
Party game in which players take the roles of Inuit hunters, polar
bears, seals, walrus or Beluga whales.
Each player receive 3-6 cards according to
their roles. Hunters and Preys play one card simutaneously. If the
prey and the hunter play the same number, the hunter eats the prey. If
there is a difference between their cards from 1-3, the hunter can
discard 1-3 cards to pursuit the prey. On the same time, the prey can
discard 1 card to escape.
Once the hunters kill 2(4) prey or 2(4) prey discard all of their
hand cards before the last turn in 4(8) players game, hunters win the
game. If not, the preys win the game.
2019: The ARCTIC
Andrzej Kurek; SINONIS; 2-4; 120
Economic game with military elements of mining the Arctic.
Win by controlling large deposits of the same type while managing the
policies of the Arctic nations: USA, Russia, Norway, Canada and the
EU. China also plays a factor. No random elements.
Yves Tourigny; (unpublished); 2-4; 60
Players represent exploration teams seeking to discover what happened
to the famous lost Franklin expedition of 1845.
Marco Gutmayer & Meike Massholder; Oberschwäbische Magnetspiele; 2-4; 5+
Memory game where fish are attached by magnet to icebergs.
The polar bears try to catch the most fish, but there are problems.
The ice bergs move. Other bears eat the fish. Inuit and seals steal
Jacques Zeimet; Steffen-Spiele/FoxMind; 2-6; 15; 5+
Ten animal disks are laid out. A card is revealed and the player
tries to remember where this animal has been seen before. If able to
do so the card is kept as a point.
Robert K. Gabhart; Driftwood Games/Rio Grande Games; 2-5
A card game of a future in which the world undergoes a new ice age.
By drafting and building your hand, build up your tribe as much as
possible in order to survive. Expanded by
Arctic Scavengers - Deception (2009)
Arctic Scavengers - HQ (2009).
Grant & Mike Wylie; Worthington Games; 2-4
Tile-laying game of the Inuit attempting to survive on the ice.
Threatening are ice floes, thin ice, bears, wolves and even orcas.
Dice play a role.
Unfortunately, penguins are also present.
Reiner Knizia; Gamewright; 2-4; 8+
A press-your-luck game using dice. These silly bears are on roller
skates. Can they stop in time?!
Dean Conrad & John Streets; JKLM/Heidelberger/Ludorum; 2-4
A logistical game in which players must travel from Alaska to Siberia
by crossing the ever-changing ice. Be sure to take enough tools, or
find them on the way, and always avoid the polar bears.
Fraser & Gordon Lamont; Fragor/Asmodée; 2-5
Dogsled racing game where movement is determined by card play.
A beautiful production.
Der Goldene Kompass
Inka & Markus Brand; Kosmos; 2-4
Based on the fantasy novel, The Golden Compass.
The players are trying to unravel the secret of lost children.
To do so they travel to the cold north of Svalbard, home of the ice bears.
From there, they must travel to the another world. Players use cards to
gain experience, have encounters and race to the goal.
The Golden Compass Movie Game (Der goldene Kompass - Spiel zum Film)
Marco Maggi & Francesco Nepitello; Kosmos/Sophisticated Games; 2-4
Based on the film, The Golden Compass.
Players take turns leading Lyra to rescue her friends, along the way collecting
items, clues and knowledge of the golden compass. A golden compass
spinner provides the two actions a player may choose from. It is not
really a cooperative game; the winner
is the one who has scored the most points by the end.
Golden Compass DVD Board Game
Sababa Toys; 2-4
Based on the film, The Golden Compass.
Trivia game using a DVD that offers clues and questions, including
scenes from the movie. Includes four
sculpted pieces of the characters and their four daemons.
Vlaada Chvátil; CzechBoardGames/Altar Games; 3-5
Scandinavian settlers of Greenland attempt to survive and thrive.
Includes resource production, negotiation, trading and voting.
Heinz Meister; Huch & Friends; 2-6; 5+
A press-your-luck game in which polar bear cubs race to the bath.
Mary Danby & H. Webster; Ravensburger; 2-4; 30; 4+
Players represent baby bears trying to catch three fish and return
home without being caught missing by the mother.
Warp Spawn Games; 2-4
Print-and-play card and dice game of hunting food.
Bruno Cathala & Bruno Faidutti; Goldsieber; 2-4
As the ice slowly melts, various things appear, such as fish, foxes,
polar bears, etc. The Inuit enter the board from the edges and attempt
to collect all they can as well as build their igloos so as to control
the remaining islands.
Der kleine Eisbär: Bist du mein Freund?
Angelika & Jürgen Lange; Schmidt Spiele; 2-4; 20; 4+
A game of trying to be the first to get rid of all one's cards by
matching a previous card.
Roberto Fraga; Selecta Spielzeug; 2-4; 4+
The Inuit crisscross the ice of the "polar sea"
trying to collect particular fish,
for their particular types of soup. Memory and cooperation play
Igloo Pop (Iglu Pop)
Heinz Meister & Klaus Zoch; Zoch/Rio Grande; 2-6; 7+
Players shake plastic igloos trying to guess the number of
beads (between 2 and 13) they hold. If right, they get to claim
the card matching that number. Trying to identify this amount
by ear is not easy, but surprisingly feasible.
Am Rand des Gletschers
Anja & Patrick Menon; Krimsus Krimskrams-Kiste; 2-4
Card game of ice age tribes living "at the glacier's edge".
In a risk management system,
players must decide how to allocate their tribe members to satisfy
the conflicting goals of gathering food and winning glory for the
unknown; Schmidt Spiele; 2-4; 5+
Memory game for children.
Players roll dice and put that number of Inuit in their igloos.
When their own igloos are full, they can start putting them in
those of other players.
The first to hide all of their Inuit wins.
Peter-Paul Joopen; HABA; 2-4; 6+
Players represent Inuit trying to catch fish, which are represented by
steel balls in different sizes.
Punching holes through the sheet of paper suspended in
the box represents breaking the ice.
Dirk Henn; db-Spiele; 4-6
Players represent traders in the old Yukon, buying goods in the city
and then swapping items with non-player gold prospectors up the creeks.
Players represent Inuit who go out hunting and have to bring back
their gains to the igloos. The trouble is that the ice is very thin
and every step makes it crack a little more. Care must be taken not
to be trapped on an island without a kayak, or run into a polar bear.
Also includes rules for play as a pure abstract.
Sierra Madre Games 1-4
The game is of competing dinosaurs and mammalian megafauna.
The map is of the entire North America, including the frozen north. But if
ice ages set in, ice can cover most of the map and even prematurely
end the game (as well as most life on earth).
Very suitable for solitaire play.
Also available is the
American Megafauna Expansion Kit which permits a fifth player.
Safe Return Doubtful
Randy Moorehead; Simulations Workshop; 1-5
Players represent early polar explorers trying to reach the pole,
or as close as possible before supplies run out, and return again
home safely, preferably not by floating home on an iceberg, though
it's a distinct possibility if all other options fail. Very suitable
for solitaire play.
Alan R. Moon; White Wind; 2-6
Players race their dog sleds via a great deal of dice rolling.
Adding interest is the ability to design the dog team before play
Stephanie Rohner & Christian Wolf; HABA; 2-4; 6+
Players represent gold panners. They draw three samples (marbles)
out of a bag and see if they are gold (yellow) or rock (black or
gray) and then see how much gold they can get to fly out of a
pan by rocking it back and forth, hoping not to also knock out
the rock. Other players participate by betting on how well they
Im Reich des weißen Bären
Charles Lerue; Schmidt/Selecta; 2-4; 8+
"In the Realm of the White Bear" is about Inuit going out to catch
fish on the ice and then returning home again while trying to avoid
the dangerous polar bears.
Dan Glimne; Milton Bradley; 2-4; 8+
Penguins race across the ice trying to avoid polar bears.
Players use their points to move their pieces and/or the ice floes.
Actually there were once northern penguins, though now extinct
and somewhat different from their southern cousins.
Gold am Yukon
Reinhold Wittig; Amigo; 3-6; 6+
"Gold in the Yukon" is a roll and move game as
teams of prospectors cross the board to reach gold claims.
North to Alaska
unknown; Herbert Law; 2-8; 8+
A roll and move game has players traveling
from Seattle to Anchorage, the object being to arrive with the most money.
Tom Wham; TSR; 2-8
Players represent captains of oil supertankers racing for oil,
avoiding the icebergs.
Eric Solomon; Ravensburger; 2-4; 8+
Players race their trucks to get their containers
from a central island to their camp over
the ice before it completely thaws.
Action cards include polar bears, robbers, fog and frostbite, but
also extra containers and the helicopter.
Tom Dalgliesh & Lance Gutteridge; Gamma Two; 2-6
A stocks and speculation game in which players decide whether
to pan for gold or invest in supporting services like hotels and
Race to the North Pole
unknown; Snowdon Productions; 2-6
Roll-and-move game of racing to the north pole.
Said to be rare.
Don't Break the Ice
unknown; Schaper/Milton Bradley/Schmidt; 2-4; 4+
Dexterity game. White plastic blocks are wedged into a grid
and players take turns using a hammer to hammer out one block
at a time. Eventually the man positioned on top must fall in and
be claimed by the polar bear.
The Game of David Goes to Greenland
(unknown); Zulu Game Co.; 1-4
Based on the 1926 Stoll McCracken Expedition to Greenland.
Overcome polar bears, walrus, and the weather to explore the north
Game of Discovering the North Pole
(unknown); McLoughlin Brothers; 2-4
Roll-and-move game of
traveling to the North Pole and returning home
again. An unusual feature is that players are free to choose their
routes. There is also a
feature in that landing on another player's marker moves it back by
at least three spaces.
The Game of Going to the Klondike
(unknown); McLoughlin Brothers; 2-4
Spin-and-move game of the Alaskan gold rush.