Thursday, April 1, 2010

Frog Juice - With a Name Like That...

As I study for the medical boards the posts are going to come less frequently but today lets drop our age range a bit and talk about another product from the reliable folks at Gamewright, Frog Juice.

This game has such an appealing title that many kids could probably be handed a collection of almost any items, be told they were components for playing Frog Juice, and they'd probably have a great time. Purists can choose to follow the rules of the game, which are happily fairly simple. The basic premise of Frog Juice is that players compete to collect cards. At the end of the game the number and type of cards you've collected earn you points.

The specific mechanisms of Frog Juice are straightforward and sneak in some basic math skills. Players have cards in their hand with number values. "Toads," for example, are number 3. There are cards laid out in front of all the players. To capture a card you have to play a card from you hand of the same value. You can also capture cards adding up to the card in your hand, so a card valued at 11 could capture a 5 and a 6. Finally you can add several cards from your hand to capture a card valued at the total. So a 4 and a 3 from you hand can capture a 7. Cynical readers may claim that this makes Frog Juice simply an adding game!

Cynics be gone because Gamewright has tossed in their customary collection of game tweaks. There are special cards that allow players to steal other player's collected cards, or allow players to grab all the cards in the center of the table, or allow players to prevent one of the above from happening. Finally you can cast a spell card and collect cards directly from other players hands. The variety of special actions and spells keeps Frog Juice sufficiently unpredictable and funny even as the players exercise their addition skills.

There's a lot to like in this game. There is some strategy, there is luck and there are some sweeping magical cards. The game's small size makes it good for car trips or quick games in some boring setting and it looks like a good vacation game to be played at grandma's house. It's got spells and witches and teaches kids to add and subtract, plus a funny name. What's not to like?

Pros: funny, educational without being prim

Cons: its a fun filler game, hard to criticize

Beyond the Basics: learn to add and the world is your oyster

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