Games Gazette Logo
The FROGS POOLPARTY
Published by Amigo spiel
Designed by Hajo Bücken
Fun Art by Oliver Greudenreich
A clever race game for 2-6 players of all ages from 8+
 
Amigo brought this game out in the very late 90s which is probably why the 'frogs' are simple wooden discs in ascending sizes instead of being frog-shaped meeples as they most likely 'wood' be if published today.
 
The board is a circular pond with race lanes overlaid on it. The lanes expand outwards but keep equal in number so that it is the same distance around the inner circle as it is the outer circle.
 
Each player has a set of 5 circular discs in the same colour. Each is designed to fit into one of the lanes, thus the smallest disc (frog) races in the inner lane and so on to the largest lane and largest frog.
 
 
In clockwise order, from the randomly determined first player, the players take turns in rolling 2 regular six-sided dice and moving their frogs. The result of the dice throw gives the player more than one opportunity for movement. Although this looks like a kids game, it is actually a clever euro game with what are at first hidden strategies.
 
The dice roll brings luck into the game, that's for sure, but it's how the player uses the result that counts. Players can use the dice in varying ways. Two frogs can be moved, each one using the result of a single die. One frog can be moved the full amount of the two dice added together or the lowest number can be subtracted from the highest and the resulting number used to move one frog; yes a double can mean a zero, equals basically a pass. 
 
 
However, to begin with all frogs have to get into the pool, so the first roll affects the smallest and next frog, the second roll is for frogs 3 and 4 and the third roll is for the 5th frog (any other frog can be moved as well). Once all frogs are in the race the dice can be used for any of them in no particular order.
 
The idea of the game is a race, but not necessarily a race around the board to the finish line, which is also the start line and represented by a wooden bridge from which the frogs jump and, if they go completely round the board, swim under.
 
The race is to be the first player to get all their frogs in a row, that is all in a straight line and all equidistant from the start/finish line.
 
This can happen within the first few turns after the 3rd if you are really lucky, but if your opponents let you win this easy they have either had poor dice rolls or have not been paying attention. When moving your frogs look first where they will land. If they land on another frog they will push that frog forward one space. 
 
This may cause a knock-on effect, thus pushing one or several other frogs round by one space (and, if chosen carefully one 'bump' can knock out another player's hopes for a winning line on their next turn. Of course bumping someone on may push them into a winning position.
The game ends immediately a complete line is made whoever's turn it is and even in the middle of a turn.
 
A couple of 'obvious' hints (neither of which have worked for me yet). 
1). Try to keep your frogs at the back of the race. Then you have no one behind you who can bump you out of position.
2). When possible use both dice on one frog and race them out ahead of the pack (a pack of frogs?). If you get all of your frogs way ahead you have a chance to line them up away from the others.
 
 
Amazingly, because of its age, you can still find this game in new or used condition on Amazon from €10.00 - €35.00. It's much more of a gamer's game than the cover art suggests. Thoroughly enjoyable fun!
© Chris Baylis 2011-2021