Army of Frogs is a hoppin’ good time
I’m not sure if you could excite my board gaming brain any more effectively than when I’d read into the pedigree of Army of Frogs. Developed by Big Daddy Creations as a follow-up to their wonderfully implemented iOS version of Neuroshima Hex, and designed by John Yanni who created Hive which is a near classic for my wife and I, I was instantly interested in hearing what Army of Frogs was all about.
Army of Frogs is a hex based tile laying game where each person is in control of 10 colored frogs that all connect as they’re added to form an island. Your goal is to get 8 of your frogs on the board connected to each other by jumping and moving them around. If you’ve played Hive, you’ll get the sense of familiarity from this even though the games are very different. It’s more of an inspiration really.
On your turn, you’ll have two frogs to choose from to put on the board (neither of them need be your color – it’s random each turn). The first thing you’ll do on your turn is move one of your colored frogs on the board if you’re able, and then you’ll place a new frog onto the island. Since you’re not always in control of where your frogs get placed, it’s an ever changing game of trying to jump frogs around to link them all together to win. What I love about this is that you spend a good amount of turns placing frogs for your opponents, so you want to try and put them in the toughest places possible to slow them all down.
When you really boil it down, Army of Frogs is an abstract tile game with the frogs pasted on top, so don’t let the theme scare you off if you don’t like the theme. They chose frogs to represent the game pieces, but it could’ve been anything. Again, similar to Hive in a way.
The iOS version of the game is pretty slick, which should not surprise you if you’ve played the fantastic Neuroshima Hex game on iPad. It would seem that Big Daddy Creations is no one trick pony. Menus and instructions are clearly given, and the interface is easy to understand and use. The colors even seem well suited to colorblind players, which is something developers seem to be addressing more and more often lately.
The app can handle up to 4 players either, AI based or pass-n-play local multiplayer. Luckily if you want to take it online to play you can do that too, with asynchronous games running against online opponents. Personally I’m a big fan of the 6 different AI “opponents” that play to different levels and with different strategies. That really helps vary it up for me, since I play a lot of solo games.
It was amazing how quickly the layout of the island changed as the game progressed, and while having a plan is utterly necessary to get your frogs clumped together, those plans are also quickly thrown out as all your opponents scuttles each others’ best laid ones. There’s a fun chaotic nature to it all, and the lack of special units or powers ups actually lends to the game’s appeal. Keep it simple and fun.
Army of Frogs is leagues away from Big Daddy Creations’ previous iOS game, but it proves the developer has chops in the “bring board games to the digital” space. Clean interface and menu design, engaging gameplay and a wealth of multiplayer options make sure you’ll always have someone to play against. With Army of Frogs, Big Daddy Creations is now solidly on my radar. I can’t wait to see what they release next.