Nice interlude game for a long game night, beautiful artwork, and frogs who want to be king of the lily pads!
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
Designer: Keith Matejka
Artist: Jacqui Davis
Artist: John Ariosa
Game Type: Worker Placement, Hand Management, Area Control
Initial Year of Release: 2016
Age Range: 8+
Expected Playtime: 20-40 min
Number of Players: (1) 2-4
Theme and What is it?
Invaders! This is your pond and you do not suffer frogs of other clans to be here. Send your frogs and bullfrogs out to the lily pads to sink them with your rivals on them and win the day. Which clan of frogs will emerge victorious — kings of the pond — and who will drown in the depths?
At the end of 10 rounds, be the frog clan with the most points from sunk lily pads and frogs on the log.
Each player chooses a color then receives the frog meeples (frog and bullfrog) and set of lily pad cards for the color. Set up the basic pond cards in between the players. Players shuffle their lily pad cards and draw three cards. Youngest player goes first.
Each player on their turn performs the following actions: Play, Take Actions, Score, and Draw.
A player starts his turn by playing a lily pad card from his hand to the table, next to one of the lily pad cards already in play.
A player then may execute the following actions in any order and as many times as indicated on the lily pad previously played: Deploy or Sabotage. When a player performs Deploy, he places one of his frogs on a lily pad card already in play but not the Log card or the lily pad card he just played. When a player performs Sabotage, the player can move one of his opponent’s frogs from a lily pad to another card adjacent to it.
A player scores a lily pad card when all the spaces on a given lily pad card is filled with frogs. The clan with the most Strength of frogs on the card puts the card into their score pile. If there is a tie, no one gets to score the lily pad card.
A player’s turn ends when he draws a card.
Bullfrogs are stronger and worth more when scoring a lily pad and during the End of Game scoring. They do have a drawback in that they are removed from a sinking lilypad last in order of operations and if they are lost in a sinking lilypad, they are gone for the rest of the game.
There is also an extra solo variant to this game where you square off against an AI using the two green dice to determine its actions. The AI has different rules for determining movement and playing frogs.
I wasn’t expecting much from a kid’s game but my teenage son and I were pleasantly surprised at how much strategy can be put into this game as well as needing to read the other players.
Game Build Quality
The components are playing cards, wooden meeples, and dice in the solo variant. These components are of typical quality, meant to withstand plenty of play. The box and insert are just the right size to contain the components; if any other expansions were added, one would need to rethink how you store it.
The primary artwork is the game box and cards. Both are done beautifully, capturing an exotic look for the different frog clans on the box while the cards, when arranged correctly, can depict a lovely pond covered in lily pads with a tropical feel to it. Just wish there was more components to showcase the artwork.
What makes this game fun is figuring out a strategy of how to place frogs to get your opponent to do stuff not in their interest while also setting up chains of sinking lily pads to score lots of points.
Age Range & Weight
Age range is 8+ and perfect for that age group with the difficulty of the game. This game is best suited for players of similar age groups and like experience.
Though I’m not too keen on the game’s theme and backstory, it’s a nice game in terms of introducing kids to games with the types of mechanic themes: worker placement and area control. It works well with 2 and more players as a short interlude game, with a quick setup and play time. Yet can get bogged down with someone trying to optimize their play (not likely to happen with younger players).
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