Froggy Boogie is a beautifully crafted, all-wood, many-pieced, memory/race game. There are 9 frogs that are set up in the middle of the play area (table, floor, bed – any flat surface). Each frog has places for two eyes. There are two different kinds of eyes (small cylinders that fit into the frogs eye-holes): One kind has an image of a baby frog on the bottom. The other doesn’t. When setting the game up, players put one of each kind of eye in each frog. The challenge, which turns out to be significant enough even for adults (or perhaps especially for adults), is to remember, for each of the nine frogs, which eye has what. Wooden lily pads are placed around the cluster of frogs – this becomes the race track. Players begin the game by selecting a playing piece (one of six differently colored “baby frogs”). Two wooden dice are thrown. Each of the “adult frogs” (the ones with the eyes) is painted in two different colors. The throw of the dice determine exactly which adult frog gets chosen. The player then selects one of that frog’s eyes. If there’s not a baby frog on the bottom of the eye, the player gets to jump to the next lily pad and guess again. If there is, it’s the next player’s turn.
If memory isn’t your forté it’s reassuring to know that you can always rely on luck (there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll be right). If you’re a kid, or you’re interested in challenging your memory, you’ll find the game challenging enough to make you want to take it most seriously.
The game is very attractive, to children as well as adults. It’s colorful and funny – all those cross-eyed frogs. Yes, it requires extra care to keep track of the many pieces. But, because children will find the game fun to set up, and as challenging as it is attractive, the extra care required becomes an additional attraction – the game is its own special “collection” of bright wooden treasures.
The game is a race. The first player to get her baby frog back to the big lily, wins. For older kids, this is great fun – an incentive, an opportunity to demonstrate and be rewarded for a superior memory. For kids who have trouble dealing with losing (or winning), it might be necessary to change the rules a bit.
Luckily, the game is interesting enough, and flexible enough, to allow players to adapt it to the way they have the most fun playing. Because there is no board, you can arrange the frogs in any way you want. In fact, you can even rearrange the frogs during the game – making it all that much more challenging, and making the game that much more of an invitation to play for the whole family.
My grandkids happened to have a problem with competition. So, we played with only two baby frogs: the “Happy Frog” and the “Sad Frog.” One of us would throw the dice, and then all of us would select the eye. We pooled our collective memory. If we guessed correctly, we’d move the Happy frog to the next lily. If we were wrong, the Sad frog would advance. No one “owned” either of the frogs. We were like gods, cheering for the Happy frog when the Happy frog won. Cheering for the Sad frog when she got to move. Sure, sure, we wanted to Happy frog to win. But, in the end, it turned out that the Sad frog won. Which, of course, made her Happy. And us, too.