Today, I wanted to take a look at a game that I’ve heard a lot about called
Cosmic Frog is a 2-6 player game designed by Jim Felli and published by Devious Weasel Games. It treads the well-explored ground of two-mile high space frogs that also happen to be terrain eaters. I mean, come on, come up with something original for once.
Actually, it’s kind of a cool world that got created for this game. Each player controls one of these two-mile tall frogs, called rayna, who are trying to collect the terrain from the fragments of a shattered world. Please note that the game does not come with two-mile tall frogs, you’re going to have to use just a little bit of imagination.
The first thing you will do to set up the game is figure out how many frogs you’ll have (one per player, unless you’re playing in teams). This also determines how many lowland and highland tiles you’ll have, as well as action cards for each frog. Next, you’ll create the Shard, which is the fragment you’ll be working on this game. On the game mat, there are 84 hexes which you’ll fill with the 84 Barren tiles. Most of these are blank on the back, but a certain number will have Fractures on the back. They’re all placed face up. Following this, you’ll place out your lowlands (hills, deserts, swamps, meadows), and finally you’ll place highlands on top of those (mountains, mesas, lakes, forests). Each player gets a frog mini, a player board, a vault board, and six Oomph crystals. Each player gets two ability cards, from which they will choose one. The action cards for each frog get shuffled together to make an action deck. There’s also a splinter location deck, and I think that’s about it for set up.
In each round, you will draw the top card of the action deck. This will either show a frog color, or will show the Aether Flux or Splinter Strike (which both start in the discard pile, so you won’t see them until after the first pass through the deck). Whoever’s color comes up gets to take one action. Actions depend on whether you’re on the Shard or in the Aether, though your first action will be to land on the Shard and take an action from there. On the Shard, you can attack another frog on the Shard, harvest a land tile and place it in your Gullet, leap to a new space or into the Aether, recover expended Oomph, or use the Slipstream to bounce off the Aether into a new space you may not have been able to reach with a regular Leap action. From the Aether, you can land on another Frog to attack them, transfer land from your Gullet to your Vault, land on the Shard in a space adjacent to Aether, raid another front’s unlocked Vault to attempt to steal land from them, or recover expended Oomph.
Let me define a couple of terms here. Oomph is spent to do extra abilities (such as use the Slipstream or perform extra actions as long as you didn’t recover on your turn), or to enhance combat. Your Gullet is a set of four spaces on your player board where you store land you have ingested. Your Vault is where you store the land you have collected. These can be stacked with the goal of making straight lines in rows, columns, or diagonals of the same land types. At the end of the game, you’ll score lines by looking at the top tiles, but those are then removed which potentially expose different lands that can be scored.
Time to talk about the other two things that could come out of the action deck. Aether Flux causes frogs to mutate. The basic version is that you discard your ability and draw a new one. You could pay an Oomph to keep your ability, or two Oomph to draw a new one and decide which ability to keep. A Splinter Strike means that a splinter has hit the Shard, completely destroying all terrain at the strike point and the top terrain from all surrounding hexes. This means some Barren land might get removed, and if there’s a Fracture on the back, they go to the Shard Integrity track.
The game can end in one of two ways. First, if all land gets removed from the board, and there’s nothing but Barrens available. The other way is if all six spaces of the Shard Integrity track get filled. When this happens, everyone scores their Vault to see who won.
OK, this game looks delightfully weird. I love the theme, and it looks like it’s a lot of fun to play too. There’s strategy in how you collect the terrains, and especially in how you arrange them in your vault for scoring purposes. The mechanics all look fairly unique, and the lore behind what you’re doing is pretty fascinating. This is a game that I’ve been interested to check out, and now that I’ve studied out the rules more, it’s on my definitely want to play list.
That’s going to do it for today. As always, be safe out there, and thanks for reading!