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Oath

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The Celebrated Jumping Frogs of Chaotic Creation: A Cosmic Frog Review

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25 Nov 2020 09:00 #316541 by WadeMonnig
The plot of Cosmic Frog immediately...

With box art that is reminiscent of psychedelic album art, I almost expected to see a hype sticker on the front of Cosmic Frog saying “Contains the hit singles Astronomy Domine and Ana Ng. When you Play it, SAY IT!” The stunning artwork attracts the eye like the best Heavy Metal Magazine cover but it is the addictive gameplay that will work into your mind.

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25 Nov 2020 09:34 #316542 by hotseatgames
A great review of a great game!
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25 Nov 2020 10:31 #316545 by WadeMonnig

hotseatgames wrote: A great review of a great game!

Thanks again for the pics of your painted frogs! Can you tell my passive aggressive jealousy of wanting painted miniatures from the quote below it lol

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25 Nov 2020 10:32 #316546 by hotseatgames
haha, yes I can. They really took no time at all. Stuff like that is so much faster than humanoids in armor, etc.
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25 Nov 2020 11:06 #316554 by Shellhead
Those look like minis that I could actually enjoy painting. Game sounds fun, despite the baroque scoring process, so I plan to get it. Hopefully my friends will also like it, so that Cosmic Frog doesn't become Shelf Toad.
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25 Nov 2020 13:15 #316561 by dbennett
One buyer's experience:

Wanted to love it, but it really is heavily dependent on the frog powers you get in the first round, which are extremely unbalanced. Some frogs will give you many extra actions in the first round, eg the frog that lets you just sit on a space and grab the adjacent shard pieces, so you could possibly get four shard pieces with four actions, instead of needing a minimum of six actions for the same result. Others don't seem to help at all, like the one where you can set aside your action and take it later...we couldn't get any benefit from that one, it seems to need very particular circumstances. Maybe we were being dense, but the end result was the same: your frog is kicking my frog's butt, or vice versa.

Unbalanced games aren't bad (imho) because of the competitive imbalance, but because of the fun imbalance: one player gets lots of interesting choices, the other has boring and rote necessary actions forced on them.

We did play it two player, each managing two frogs as a team as the rulebook suggests, and that worked very well. The random turn order in this game is brilliant, but you do sometimes have to wait a while for your turn, a bit of a bummer if your turn is going to be just resetting oomph. This is alleviated if you're getting half the turns instead of 1/4 of them, and also, combining the actions of your two frogs is a fun extra layer.

The art is fantastic, psychedelic with a strong element of cute; we were showing each other our cards--look at this frog's face, oh you've got to see this one. The scoring system is very clever and enjoyable, although maybe unnecessary since it's maybe a slaughter. We found that the first round plays out similarly each time. You really need to have one siphon per frog by the time the second round starts, to keep your oomph coming, and there are exactly enough actions to get this done in time, unless your frog is getting you more actions. But that's probably just our two-person groupthink, I'm sure there are other strategies for the first round than what we could come up with.

I would say if you laugh in the face of imbalance, as many gamers do, you could get a lot of plays out of this. We don't and we didn't, but we had some fun with it anyway, and unlike many of the games we've rejected after only a few plays, I don't regret the purchase. It's part of gaming to have flops, and as flops go this was a fun one.
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25 Nov 2020 14:27 #316574 by hotseatgames
Siphons are nice, but by no means necessary. I often find that the one oomph I'd get is kind of pointless since I'm going to rest anyway.

It's worth trying a game where you just come out swinging. As the manual points out, it's less actions to steal land from a gullet than to harvest it yourself. :)
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25 Nov 2020 17:04 #316581 by dbennett
Yeah, like I say, I think our married-couple group think came into play here. We did try a few times to break our patterns, but our frogs got spanked and we both became conservative and limited when we couldn't get our frogs' powers working. We were far from figuring it all out; but we were getting frustrated enough to move on. I wanted to share our experience, but it's obviously from a very limited encounter. We played six or seven times, something like that.

One positive occurred to me that I wanted to mention. The review says the rule book is unnecessarily hefty, which I suppose is fair enough. But the rule book also has a ton of charm and humor. It was actually fun getting through the learning curve, and the rule book really sold the theme for us. We often ignore theme when we play, but we were very immersed in the funny and bizarre world of this one, talking about the cosmic fire in our bellies and so on. It's a weird universe, but it made sense to us.
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25 Nov 2020 17:57 #316586 by Andi Lennon
Great review! I'm really looking forward to my pre-order arriving on these shores.
Neptune, Titan, stars can frighten!
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25 Nov 2020 18:43 #316590 by hotseatgames

dbennett wrote: but we were very immersed in the funny and bizarre world of this one, talking about the cosmic fire in our bellies and so on.


That is my favorite part of the fiction, and I keep hoping I can come up with a game solely centered around being inside the belly (or being THE belly) with the task of burning up anything that comes your way.
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25 Nov 2020 19:21 #316592 by WadeMonnig

dbennett wrote: One buyer's experience:

Wanted to love it, but it really is heavily dependent on the frog powers you get in the first round, which are extremely unbalanced. Some frogs will give you many extra actions in the first round, eg the frog that lets you just sit on a space and grab the adjacent shard pieces, so you could possibly get four shard pieces with four actions, instead of needing a minimum of six actions for the same result. Others don't seem to help at all, like the one where you can set aside your action and take it later...we couldn't get any benefit from that one, it seems to need very particular circumstances. Maybe we were being dense, but the end result was the same: your frog is kicking my frog's butt, or vice versa.


Not to invalidate your experiences in any way (and, to be clear, Whiptongue is a fantastic early game card) but my experience has been that there is a counter/balance to almost every card. Whiptongue has both low ether and shard combat dice (white) which makes that owner prime for some gullet cleansing combat from other frogs. In one of our games, a player used Mindborer to cause the Whiptongue player to leap to the ether and disgorge to their vault in the order that THEY chose, disrupting the planned placement of tiles for optimal scoring and/or siphons and depleting some of their oomph. I've seen some interesting use of the delayed action power in both a push your luck and stack the deck situation to either assure they had full oomph when they needed it (wait until they had just taken an action then use a set aside card to rest and recover or to card count in order or using them to take a bevy of turns in a row to assure harvest and vault filling success).
To be clear, I haven't played the two-player variant and my wife hasn't expressed any interest in playing it (other than taking the power cards I was looking at while typing this and admiring the artwork) but my cousin and both daughters have been delighted to play it. But the three and five player games has been amazingly fun. I'd hope that possibly playing it with other players when the plague allows would open up a variety of different strategy and tactics that would allow you to really enjoy it.
The rule book does have a ton of information and tactics and the backstory is fantastic. But i did issues finding precise information on a moments notice and great things like the tip to score a vault before you begin was a bit buried (beneath some amazing artwork and great gameplay tips).

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