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Subject: Frogriders Review: Stronghold Has Another Winner rss

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Danny Burdess
United States
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Publisher: Stronghold Games (In my book, currently one of the best publishers out there, with games like Terraforming Mars and Not Alone)
Designers: Asger Harding Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen
2 - 4 Players (since it plays so fast, would love to see an expansion to 5 or 6 players)
Ages 8+
Complexity (my rating on a scale of 1 - 5 with 5 being the most complex): 1 for mechanics, 2.5 for strategy)
Target Audience: anyone who likes to have fun and think a little bit.

Simple rule set that is easy to teach. There are only two things you do per turn...jump and collect a frog and, if you choose, use the collected frog to take an additional jump (red), trade for a different color frog from the discards (yellow), or collect a ability/victory point card. The fourth color frog (purple) does not have an additional action, rather, they are worth one victory point at the end of the game.

Surprising depth. Even though you only do two things each turn, with the addition of the privilege (ability/point) cards you get by turning in blue frogs, you add a layer of complexity that makes this game interesting to more “hard core” gamers. Cards allow for additional movement options like jumping diagonally, jumping in an “L” pattern, and moving across open spaces until you get to a jump. Some of the cards offer scoring multipliers like an additional point per purple frog at the end of the game. Other cards give you points for having the most/least of cards, frogs, etc. Finally, some just give you victory points. The private and public goal cards also allow for a deeper strategic option than most games with this level of mechanical complexity.

Fun theme and solid components. While, as discussed earlier, the depth of this game was more than expected, the theme is light and not as heavy handed as many games on the market. This might allow someone to get it to the table with “non-gamer” friends and family. People that are scared away by dragons, vikings, and zombies, probably will not mind playing a game with cute frogrider miniatures. The art is bright, fun, and well done. The graphics and icons are pretty easy to understand. Finally, the components are colorful, high quality, and represent the theme well.

Limited goals. While I don’t have many negative things to say about Frogriders, I would have liked more personal and public goals. There are only 6 public goals (although they are double sided) and 10 private goal cards (not double sided). This is a great opportunity for a future expansion to give more variety. They could also add more privilege cards to add more variety in the future.

Theme. Ok, I know earlier, I said the theme was a positive. It is but, while you might be able to get non-gamers to play this more easily than something with a darker, more mature theme, gamers may be put off by the light fun theme. With that being said, if you can get them to try it out, I feel safe in saying they will want to play again.

Conclusion: Frogriders is a game with a fun theme and simple mechanics that overlay a more complex game. While still only a “gateway” game in gamer vernacular, Frogriders offers enough strategic depth to bring gamers back and its short play time makes it a great filler for those of us engaged in the hobby. For non gamers, children, and families this is a great alternative to simple games without much depth or strategy like Sorry or Trouble. Frogriders is the rare game that can appeal to both non-gamers and gamers alike.
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