Giant Ice Cream Cones: A Review of ConeZILLA

ConeZILLA

Everyone loves ice cream cones, but are 1 or 2 scoops really enough ice cream to satisfy a craving? How about 10 scoops? ConeZILLA by FoxMind is a simple memory game for 2 to 4 players, ages 6 and up, in which players try to be the first to create a gargantuan 10-scoop cone.

Gameplay

Each player begins the game with a 1-scoop ice cream cone (labeled with the number 1). Individual scoop cards numbered 2 through 49 are randomly spread face down on the table, with the number hidden from view. On a turn, the player chooses one scoop to flip over for everyone to see and decides whether or not to add it to his cone. To be placed on the cone, the new scoop's value must be greater than the value of the top scoop. If the scoop can't be placed on his cone, or the player doesn't wish to add it, the scoop is returned face down.

The first player to reach 10 scoops wins the game.

ConeZILLA Cards

Review

ConeZILLA is a light memory game with the added tactical decision of whether or not to add a scoop on a turn. This decision comes down to several factors:

  1. The proximity of the new scoop's value to the top scoop of the player's cone - the closer the value, the better. If the difference between the top scoop and the new scoop is too great, there is a reduced chance of winning the game since future options are limited. For instance, placing a 40 on top of a 2 is a bad choice, since future scoops must be greater than 40 (and there are only 9 possibilities).
  2. The other players' cones - if another player needs a particular number and you know where it is, sometimes it's worth grabbing it yourself even if it limits your future options.
  3. Your memory of what else is available - if you know the locations of several scoops you might need later (in the 40s, for instance), this might help you decide whether or not to add a particular scoop to your cone.

The decision of whether or not to add a scoop is usually a quick one, and if the chosen scoop is valued lower than the top scoop, there is no decision to make at all. As the game progresses and each player's cones get higher and higher, there are fewer valid scoops to choose from. Thus, it is a very good idea to carefully memorize scoop locations along the way. If previous scoops aren't memorized, the game comes down to the luck of the draw.

The ice cream scoops consist of many different designs representing flavors such as chocolate chip, neopolitan, cotton candy, etc. This is a nice thematic element that not only drives the craving to eat some ice cream, but also can be helpful for identifying a particular scoop later on. The downside, however, is that after a few plays players will begin to remember which flavors have certain value distributions. For instance, we discovered that one of the flavors had values that were mostly in the high 20s and 30s, which affected our decision on which scoops to flip. This can be an unfair advantage for players who have already played the game.

ConeZILLA is a very quick game that is good for what it is intended to be. The theme and gameplay seem to be optimal for younger kids, who should have a great time with it. For a group of adults, it is fun to try but we found that it is not compelling enough to play more than a few times.

Pros: quick, interesting theme, fun for kids, zero calories

Cons: little replay value for adults, experienced players may have an unfair advantage

Full disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.