I was recently musing on whether it would be possible to play Alien
City with just piecepack (that is, without Icehouse pieces).
In addition to a standard piecepack, Alien City requires five large
red, five large blue, and four large green Icehouse pieces for towers,
and six small Icehouse pieces to cap the towers — three in two
different colors (we usually use black and clear, because we have them
packed in the same bag as the four basic Icehouse colors of red,
green, blue, and yellow). Is there a way to replace these Icehouse
pieces with piecepack pieces?
If you had two standard piecepacks, you could use one set of coins for
domes, as usual, and another set for the towers, which are usually
Icehouse pieces. You *could* distinguish domes from towers by
orientation — how the coins were rotated — but they still might be
hard to distinguish visually. A better suggestion might be to raise
the coins representing towers somehow. You could stack them on top of
other coins from another piecepack, for example. This third piecepack
could be a Four Seasons set or a Playing Card set, or yet another
standard set; it wouldn’t matter, because its coins would be hidden
underneath. If you didn’t have a third piecepack of some kind, you
could use pennies or other small coins.
It seems pretty workable. For tower caps, I suggest one player should
take three dice of any suit and the other three pawns. This would make
the sides even more visually distinct than in a game with Icehouse
Thus, it seems the most you really need to play Alien City is two
standard piecepacks and some pennies (or a third piecepack of any
kind). This shouldn’t be surprising, as Alien City has been played
with homemade purpose-built sets, on the web, and in virtual reality,
among other ways and places. Like Chess, it seems the game is so
involving, you can probably play it with sticks, stones, and coconuts
on a desert island and have a good time.