Tabletop Freeze Tag

Release Date: 
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Play Duration (new players): 
Play Duration (experienced): 
Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Minimum Age: 

by Calen Robertson


The nickel is “it” and attempts to freeze the pennies by bumping into them. The pennies try to stay away from the nickel and unfreeze any frozen pennies by bumping into them.

You Need

  • 3 pennies.
  • 1 nickel.

Setting Up

Place the nickel and pennies on a table with the nickel in the center and the three pennies surrounding it. Place all pennies face-up.


Decide who will play the nickel and who will play the pennies. (You could flip for it.)

The penny player goes first. Flick each penny once in any direction (first turn only). If a penny hits the nickel, the penny becomes frozen; turn it tails-up to indicate it is frozen.

The nickel player may flick the nickel once in any direction. If the nickel tags a penny, the penny becomes frozen.

On penny’s turn, the penny player may flick any one penny that is not frozen. If the flicked penny hits a frozen penny, the frozen penny is unfrozen and turned back to heads-up. Any penny that bumps into the nickel becomes frozen.

Ending the Game

The game ends when all the pennies are frozen and can no longer move. Switch roles and play again.


Limited Borders: Determine a border for the game, perhaps the edge of the tabletop.

  • If the penny player knocks a penny off the border, the penny comes back onto the table where it went off, but frozen.
  • If the nickel player knocks a penny off, the penny comes back where it went off, but unfrozen.
  • If the nickel player flicks the nickel off, the nickel goes to the center of the table. All pennies become unfrozen.
  • If the penny player knocks the nickel off, pennies win the game.

Origin and Credits

A note from Sharon: Welcome to our new collaborator, Calen. Calen showed us this game the night before he and his family took us rock climbing outside for the first time. It was quite a weekend.