Mark W
United States
Islip
New York
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I saw no posts in the Strategy forum for this game, so let me fix that. I'm a terrible parent who happens to know computer science, so I came up with a technique for like-minded adults who enjoy feasting on the tears of young children by owning them at Froggy Boogie. The technique is to use a binary math trick.

To review the game briefly, there are 9 frogs, each with two eyeballs. One eyeball is blank underneath, and the other shows a picture of a frog. These eyeballs are randomly assigned during setup, and you don't know which is which. Each turn you roll dice to select one of the nine frogs. Then you must choose one of the frog's eyeballs and show it to everyone: blank means advance your pawn a space toward the finish line. If the eyeball shows a frog then you don't get to move that turn. So basically it's a memory game.

My strategy is, as the eyeballs are gradually revealed, to form a mental picture of the board's state using 9 bits. First I need to figure out which frog is frog 1, which is frog 2, etc., up to frog 9. Usually it's obvious, as you can start with the top-left frog then read right and down.

I mentally assign a bit value to indicate which eyeball is blank: 0 means the left eye is blank, 1 means right. It can be tough to remember the bits, but as more eyeballs are revealed, I combine the bits into fewer, larger decimal numbers. So, let's say I know the values for frogs 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 -- their respective bit values are 1, 0, 1, 1, 0. I mentally remember that as 1, 0, ? ? ?, 1, 1, 0, ? which translates to: 2/???/6/? (meaning: 10 in binary=2 in decimal, followed by 3 unknowns, 110 is binary for 6 in decimal, then one more unknown). As more and more frogs are revealed there are fewer numbers to remember because you can combine more and more bits into fewer decimal numbers. Finally once all 9 bits are known, just remember two or three numbers (it's a bit cumbersome to deal with a single 9-bit number). Personally I think it's neater to have three 3-bit numbers then a single 4-bit plus a single 5-bit. So to continue with the above example but filling in the question marks, the state of the board might be 101 001 100. So at this point I'm merely remembering 5/1/4 and I have perfect knowledge of the game's state.

The toughest part of this strategy is remembering the bits in the early game. If you have to remember something like ?1???0?1? that's still going to strain your old person brain just as if you were playing ordinarily. You could easily forget. You could improve on this technique with some on-the-fly flexibility. Maybe the known bits in ?1???0?1? happen to correspond to the three frogs that are purple. Then instead of trying to remember that ugly bit string, instead tell yourself "purple=5". The difficulty here is in not confusing yourself as you adjust your mental model on the fly.

But if you just hang in there, even if you make a few mistakes, the strategy usually pays off. Another complication can occur if the kids accidentally (purposely?) shuffle the frogs around as they play -- then it can be difficult figuring out which frog maps to each position in your mental bit string. And sometimes, my old person brain will even forget the perfect 3-digit solution. ("Wait, was that 5/1/4 or 5/1/2? Gah!")

To be clear, I don't actually enjoying beating up on babies, but I came up with this technique for my own amusement, something to occupy my time because I find the game pretty boring, yet the kids love it. After owning the kids a few times, I would still keep track of the bits, but choose randomly most of the time so as to not be a total jerk to young children. An alternative that taxes your brain less while still give yourself just a bit of an edge (or three bits of an edge), is by focusing on nothing but the first three bits, or the three bits for a single color, and ignoring the rest. The kids' superior memories may very well beat you, anyway.
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Gastel Etswane
Canada
Peterborough
Ontario
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Play them for candy. Then it is like taking candy from children. This works best when playing with other people's children. I go for full crying before I pack the game away.
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