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Gather Ingredients, Cast Spells, Melt Witches and... Practice Your Math!
Written: Jul 5, 2008 (Updated Jul 5, 2008)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Nice artwork on the cards, fun theme, quick to play.
Cons:Kinda boring for adults.
The Bottom Line: Good fun math practice for kids of the right age and level. Nice theme and artwork, but a little boring for the grownups.
I'm always on the lookout for games that I think will appeal to my 7 year old son but also have some educational value and hopefully be enjoyable for the adults in the family as well. When I read about Frog Juice I thought it might be a good bet for us, so when it showed up on the shelves of the toy store where I work I snapped it up.
What You Get
44 Ingredient cards, each with a number on it.
15 Power cards with the "P" symbol in the corner
How to Play
Shuffle the cards and deal 4 to each player. Then, turn the next 4 cards face up and lay them out in a row in the center of the playing area. Leave the remaining stack of cards face down within the reach of all players. This will be the draw stack.
Playing the Game
Each player's turn consists of 4 possible steps:
1-On your turn, you should always start with 4 cards. If you do not have 4 cards at the start of your turn, you must draw enough cards to have 4 in your hands.
2-Choose one of the following actions to take:
~ Capture cards from the center
~Play a black cat card
~Play a Witch Card
~Lay Down a Spell Card
~No action (pass).
3-Once you've taken your action, you can now try to complete any of the spells in front of you.
4-To end your turn, discard 1 card face up in the center of the table. This card is now a part of the selection of cards available to be captured by all players. You must discard a card at the end of your turn, unless you have no cards left in your hand.
Play now continues clockwise around the table.
How to Capture Cards
This is the math exercise part of the game. In order to capture an ingredient card from the center, you must match it mathematically. There are a few ways to do this. You can match 1 for 1 by taking a card from your hand that matches the number of 1 card you wish to capture from the center of the table. Another way is to take 1 card from your hand and match it with more than 1 card in the center of the table whose sum adds up to the number of the card from your hand. Finally, you may take multiple cards from your hand that add up to the number on just 1 of the cards in the center. Once a match is made, you take all of the involved cards (those in your hand and those captured from the center) and place them in a pile next to you, out play. All Ingredients go in one pile, all Power cards go in another.
Playing a Black Cat
There is only one black cat card in the deck. To play it, show it to one of your opponents. He must now give you one of the cards from his Power pile. Now, both the black cat and the swiped Power card go into your power pile where they will remain until the end of the game.
Play a Witch card
There are 4 Witch cards in the deck. To use a Witch card from your hand, sweep it over all of the cards in the center, as though the witch is flying over them. This entitles you to capture all of the cards currently face up in the center of the table. Once captured, sort the cards into your Ingredient and Power stacks.
To Play a Spell Card
Simply place a spell card in front of you from your hand.
After the action portion of your turn you may now try to complete any spells you have in front of you. To do so, look at the spell card and determine what ingredients are required to complete it. If you have any of these ingredients in your hand, you may lay them on the card. If the spell is still not complete, look at the center of the table and take any of the cards you need to complete the spell. If still incomplete, ask each of your opponents in a clockwise direction for any of the cards you need. If they have them, they must give them to you. If at the end of this effort the spell is complete, you place the spell card in your Power pile and place all ingredients used in your ingredients pile.
Frog Juice Card
Another special card in the game is the Frog Juice Card. This card is captured as an ingredient card (because it has a number) and used to complete spells as an ingredient card, but because it also has a "P" on it it ultimately goes into your Power pile and is scored as a Power card.
All-Purpose Witch Wash Card
There is only one of these Power cards in the deck. It can be played at any time in the game, even if it is not your turn. It can be played to capture a witch card in the center of the table, or it can be played in response to a player attempting to Sweep With a Witch, called "Melting a Witch" (a la Wizard of Oz). When played in response to another player, the player with the Witch Wash card gets to add all cards from the center, the opponent's Witch, and his Witch Wash card to his ingredients and Power piles, as appropriate. Finally, you can play a Witch Wash card on your Own Witch at the same time as you play a Witch card. This ensures that you get to add the Witch Wash card to your Power pile, without having to wait for another player to use a Witch.
The game is over when all cards have been drawn from the draw deck, and every player has played every playable card. At this time, each player counts up their Power pile and scores 1 point for every Power card in that pile. Then, each player counts up their Ingredient cards and the player with the most Ingredient cards gets a bonus of 2 points. If there is a tie, all tied players get 2 points. No other players receive points for their Ingredient cards.
Cards left in your hand, cards in the center, and incomplete spells and their ingredients are not scored.
The player with the most points wins.
What We Like
Speed of Play
The box says this game should take 25 minutes. It takes us nowhere near that time to complete a game. This usually takes us about 15 minutes to play. You see, there are only 59 cards and once you've gone through them all that's it. Thus you can play this game a few times in every setting or just once for something quick and fun to do before bed.
The artwork on these cards is just great. It's very colorful and there's a bit of humor as well. There are some subtle references to Wizard of Oz, as well as a some fairy tales. The artwork alone makes me want to dig the game out of the closet and play it every so often.
Although theme isn't everything, it's really important to me. I've also found it very valuable to have a good theme when trying to get my son to play with me. A fairy tale theme with a bit of humor thrown in is just the ticket for many children.
While playing this game, some simple math skills do get a work out. This definitely falls under the category of edutainment. Kids will be practicing their simple addition skills and hardly know they're doing it.
What We Don't Like
Boring for Adults
Before sitting down to play this game with our son, my husband and I played it ourselves a few time. It was all right, but we both pronounced it pretty "blah" even though we agreed that the kid would probably enjoy it.
Who Can Play?
The box says this game is for 2 to 4 players ages 8 and up. It's a decent 2 player game, but better with 3. We have not tried it with 4. The mechanics of the game are simple enough for 6 and 7 year olds. The real thing to think about is the math skills of your child. The Ingredients cards have numbers from 1 to 12, and your child should be able to figure out something like 3+8+1 = 12 in order to play this game well.
The price on this game is about $8 to $10, depending on where you purchase it. It seems about fair for the educational value, fun artwork, and originality of the game.
If you have kids at just the right age who will enjoy the theme and could benefit from the math drill practice the game provides, you should get this game. Your kids will enjoy it, and although the adults my be underwhelmed, it's not too painful for them either.
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Amount Paid (US$): 10.00
Type of Toy: Game
Age Range of Child: Other