Each stash or set of Icehouse pieces consists of fifteen pyramids (variously called pieces, pyramids, or minions) of the same color in three different point (or pip) values: five large 3-point pyramids (called queens in some games), five medium 2-point pyramids (sometimes called drones), and five small 1-point pyramids (or pawns). The commercially produced plastic sets are hollow and can be stacked and nested; this feature isn't used in the original Icehouse game, but is taken advantage of in some of the other Icehouse-based games listed below.
Icehouse pieces were, for many years, sold as tubes containing one stash of durable crystal-look plastic pieces in one of ten available colors (though cyan was only available through their promotional program or as part of the Ice Towers set). There was also a less expensive starter set called Origami Icehouse (later called Paper Icehouse), made of cardstock in four colors, which one punched out and folded into the pyramid shapes. In 2006, Looney Labs began selling Icehouse pieces as Treehouse sets, which are multicolored sets of 15 pyramids: five colors, each color having one each of the three sizes. Looney Labs has also sold boxed sets for Zendo and IceTowers; the latter contained cyan pieces. The Icehouse website also has instructions for making your own pieces. Looney Labs has licenced Crystal Caste LLC to make regulation-sized Icehouse pieces out of semiprecious stone.
In 2001, Icehouse: The Martian Chess Set won the Origins Award for Best Abstract Board Game of 2000. In 2004, the Zendo boxed set won Best Abstract Board Game of 2003. In 2006, Treehouse won the Origins Award for Best Board Game of 2006.
Icehouse pieces can be used to play many different abstract strategy games. Most games need at least two colors, and some require other readily-available equipment such as glass stones or a checkerboard. Rules for these games can be found on the Icehouse website. Some are also available in Playing with Pyramids, published by Looney Labs.
Icehouse pieces can also be used as a score-keeping device or counter for non-icehouse games. For example, when scoring a Cosmic Wimpout game, a small pyramid would be worth five points, a medium pyramid worth twenty-five points, and a large pyramid one-hundred; the goal being to collect five of the large pieces (for the 500 point standard game). They could be use instead of poker chips, the denominations would be determined by size rather than color (smalls are worth one, mediums worth five, and larges valued at twenty-five, for example).