Yeah, you read that right, Frogriders! A game about little people riding frogs! With appropriate miniatures. No, I’ve not lost it. I wanted to play this for the simple reason that its designers, Asger Granerud and Daniel Pederson, were responsible for 13 Days and Flamme Rouge, two of my favourite games from last year. Look, get off your high horse, and come clamber on this frog…
Frogriders is a family game, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything for the more strategically minded to enjoy. You start with a lilly pad filled pond covered in brightly coloured frogs, a single open space at the centre. From here you choose a frog, leap it over its neighbour into an available space and remove that frog from the board. You then have a choice. Keep that frog for end game scoring, or discard it to the village (a region of the board) to trigger its power.
I’d heard before that you can get all kinds of weird experiences from frogs, mostly by licking them, but don’t do that here. Things are much tamer in Frogriders. The browns are just worth bonus points, the blues get you special power cards, either giving you more options for leap-frogging on the board, or new ways of scoring points. The red frogs give you another leap, but not offering you that frog’s power. Finally, the yellow frogs let you take any other frog from the village, which is useful for helping you collect the sets you need.
The majority of scoring opportunities in Frogriders come from the end game set collection mechanic. Everyone is trying to collect certain colours of frogs in certain combinations. There is a shared objective, and each player has private objectives, so you won’t know who has won until the end.
Frogriders is a great little family game. If you’re a heavy euro player then, no, it’s not going to change your world but it makes for a really enjoyable take on checkers that plays out quickly and smoothly. The initial limitations give way to a very free and open mid game, turning into a tense final third as you try and grab the last couple of frog sets. Well worth checking out!
This first impression is based on a single play at the UK Games Expo.