ICE was incorporated in 1980 after the principle founders graduated from the University of Virginia. ICE's primary focus, then and now, was on non-electronic, or "table top", role-playing games (RPG's) marketed to the RPG hobbyist market.
ICE's Tolkien-based RPG, Middle Earth Role Play, is the second best selling fantasy RPG after Hasbro's Dungeons & Dragons. These products have been developed and refined over a twenty-year period, and have achieved commercial and critical success, selling over $30 million of game products. ICE products have been given several game-of-the-year awards domestically, including those from the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in 1996. They also won several awards overseas.
Despite ICE's many successes, the company entered bankruptcy and made the decision to wind itself up under Chapter 7 in October of 2000. In 1997, ICE suffered financial difficulties due to the rapid decline in its distribution net where nearly 70% of ICE's distributors either went bankrupt or became moribund. In December of 2001, ICE was purchased by Aurigas Aldebaron LLC, an intellectual property ownership company backed by several wealthy individuals.