ICE Team | Polar Quest

The Challenge | Polar Quest

Design a quest-like game to teach others about polar environments and how they are changing. Use NASA data to help adventurers plan their quest and present them with challenges along the way.


This game was designed to intrigue and inform about the conditions of the Antarctic continent nowdays and about the major fields of research that are currently underway in Antarctica, using mainly data collected by NASA.

ICE Team


Team: ICE Team

Francesco Carrer, Chiara Chisso, Martina Fedel, Marco Scherlich.

The idea behind it

Our purpose with this game is to simulate an Antarctica exploration, firstly through the choice of the right equipment and team, secondly by providing information about different scientifical fields and finilly by the progression and regression of ice because if seasonal warming.

The player will have to face typical difficulties of a polar exploration as well, but also discover how important it is in pur everyday life to care for our planet to avoid climate warmth and the ozone hole.

Game presentation

The player starts in the role of a researcher who have to organize his own quest to the South Pole with the aim of collecting different data within his research field (Research Cards).

At the beginning of the game he has to decide how to use his founds: he can decide to expand his research team with the collaboration of other colleagues specialized in one of the other fields or invest his found in equipment (Equipment Cards).

  1. With the collaboration of other researchers, during the game he will get half of Research Points finding Research Cards of the research field of collaborators;
  1. With the investment in equipment he will have advantages on the material aspects of the trip, to facilitate and speed up the expedition, to explore larger parts of the territory, or avoid inconveniences and hazards (Hazards Cards).

Only after having found all six Reserch cards scattered around the board, it begins the second phase of the game, the Rush to the Centre of the South Pole.

The game contains

A board, 1 dice, 245 hexagonals tiles, 5 tokens, 5 Researcher symbols, 50 Research Cards, 8 Equipment Cards, 14 Hazards Cards, time passing token.

Number of players



The goal of each player is to reach the Center of the South Pole after having found the 6 Research cards of his field of interest, hidden under the hexagonaltiles (Research Tiles) of the board and marked by the respective colour.


All players draw a Character Card, which will define the scope of their search and their major field of research.

Each player represents one of the following:

  1. Astrophysicist: colour Blu
  2. Climatologist: colour Yellow
  3. Explorer: colour Red
  4. Geologist: colour Brown
  5. Naturalist: colour Green

At the beginning of the game each player invests his Funds in the recruitment of his Research Team and/or the Equipment.


Eachplayer is given 1000 credits.

He can spend entirely or partially his initial funds only at the beginning of the game:

A) The player can hire other scientists to join his party. This means he will get half of the Research Points of the value of the Research Card of the scientist’s field of interest (for example: if you are a geologist and you hire a naturalist, you will get 10 points for every geologist's research, 5 for naturalist's ones)

B) With the investment in Equipment he will have advantages on the material aspects of the journey, to facilitate and speed up the expedition, to explore larger parts of the territory, or avoid inconveniences and hazards (see Hazards Cards).

Research Team Cards

  1. Astrophysicist: 500 credits
  2. Climatologist: 500 credits
  3. Explorer: 500 credits
  4. Geologist: 500 credits
  5. Naturalist: 500 credits

Equipment Cards

  1. High magnification microscope: 400 credits
  2. Meteorological Drone: 200 credits
  3. Travel Diaries: 400 credits
  4. 3D Soil Scanning: 200 credits
  5. Satellite Uplink: 400 credits
  6. Snow Mobile: 500 credits
  7. Climbing Gear: 300 credits
  8. Scuba Diving Gear: 300 credits

See the cards for the description and more information.


The game is divided in two phases: 1. find the research cards and 2. the rush to the South Pole.

  1. First Phase:

After placing their tokens on the hexagons"START" of their colour, players throw the dice and who scores the highest, begins the game. Turns continue in a clockwise direction.


The player on duty rolls the dice and moves his marker with a number of hexagons equal to the score obtained,proceeding in any direction.

While passing over the tile, he will turn them face up, discovering their hidden colour.

  • Blu, Yellow, Red, Brown, and Green represent Research objectives according whit the resercherers’scolours.
  • Magenta represents Hazards.

During the game, the score of a dice throw could be modified by Hazards Cards, terrain or Equipment Cards.

The player can decide to stop even if he has movement points left, backtracking on tiles he already passed.

Players can’t cross or occupy a tile already occupied by another player.

If the tile is light gray, it has to be removed from the map

Find Research Cards

If the tile is of the colour of the player’s field, he can choose to spend his turn studying the event and draw a Research Card gaining 10 Research Points and remove the tile from the board (as an authority on your field there will be no need for other non-specialized scientists to research it).

If he discovers a Research Tile of a different field from his own, he will earn 2 Research Point just for passing on top of it and it will be left face up on the board..

If the player has in his party different scientists,he can spend a turn researching on their field as well and he will earn 5 Research Points. Even in this case, the tile will be left face up on the board.

Tiles already explored by a player won’t give him additional points if he backtracks on them.

Hazards Cards

During your game experience you may step on a Hazard Tile. The players can avoid some of them with the proper equipment (see Equipment Cards) or suffer the consequences.

Some Hazards impose you a movement penalty, if your total movement score is 0 or negative you lose your turn.


The expedition starts in the last days of winter when the temperature is bearable, and the players still have lots of territory to explore, but it’s going to get warmer soon! The outer ice layers will start melting as the temperature rises.

When all players took their turns, the player who started the game will move the time marker one tile forward (one turn equals one week).

Time will pass turn after turn: after 2 months the outer layer of the Antarctic represented on the boardwill melt, and after 4 months even the inner one will melt.

Molten ice is dangerous and difficult to cross, imposing a -1 penalty to movement on one’s dice roll when hestarts or attempts to cross those tiles.

The player will find mountain ranges in Antartica’s mainland, this imposes a -1 penalty to movement on hisdice roll when hestarts or attempts to cross those tiles.

  1. Second Phase:

Rush to the South Pole

Once all 6 Research Cards of one player's field have been found, he must race to reach the Amunden-Scott base at the centre of the South Pole to finish their expedition and publish his discoveries .

Reaching the South Pole first will give the player a bonus of 15 points.

Reaching the South Pole second will give the player a bonus of 10 points.

Reaching the South Pole third will give the player a bonus of 5 points.

Conclusion of the game

The player who first reaches the Centre of the South Pole after having found all 6 of his goals, concludes the game.

The playing time limit is determined in passing the turns as the months pass.

Conditions of Victory

You win by having the most Research Points at the end of the 6 months of the expedition.

Counting Points

  • Research Cards (of one’s field): 10 RP

EveryResearch Card of the player’s fieldthathasbeenfound is 10 Research Points.

  • Research Cards (of a different field): 5 RP

Every Research Card of a different interest from the player’s field that has been found is 5 Research Points.

  • Equipment Cards: +1 RP

Players can earn additional points if they own some Equipment Cards that allow it.

  • Reaching the South Pole: 5, 10, 15 additional Research Points

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