The game is designed for two to four players, aged three and up. The game is set up by placing plastic ice blocks in a tight-fitting, raised stand with space for 36 blocks arranged in a square. A large 2x2 block is placed in the center, and the remaining space is filled with 32 1x1 blocks, filling the entire blue plastic frame. The frame has tabs built in to push the blocks together – they are only held in by friction.
A red plastic game piece resembling a Ice-skating polar bear is placed on the central 2x2 block, and the game begins. Each player takes turns knocking out 1x1 blocks with a thin, green plastic hammer. You are not allowed to hit more than one block, and the block must fall before your turn is over.
The object of the game is to knock a block out of the structure without causing the bear to fall. In a game with more than 2 players, when the polar bear falls, the board is reset, and another round of play begins with the remaining players. The original version of the game, first available in 1968, included a plastic man seated in a chair rather than the polar bear figure.
The difficulty of the game increases as the game goes on. With fewer and fewer pieces supporting the central block, each move become more risky, and when there are only a few blocks left, strategy becomes important as you try to make your opponent lose.