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A Flying Frog Retrospective - The games ranked
07-16-2020, 07:30 PM (This post was last modified: 07-16-2020 07:31 PM by Raynor.)
Post: #1
Wink A Flying Frog Retrospective - The games ranked
I grew up in love with the concept of thematic board games. I must have spent a hundred hours or more pouring over the rules and reading up on the history of Avalon Hill's "King Maker," a board game about England's War of the Roses which I found at a yard sale. Never actually got a game in... You know how it is. We were all kids once.

As an adult, armed with my own income and a nerdy group of friends I was finally able to fulfill my long standing interest in hobby board gaming though, and Last Night on Earth was first in a long line of games to be purchased for game night. It was a defining moment for me, and so popular with my friend group that 2 weeks later I was back in the store to purchase A Touch of Evil.

A couple of years later I attended my first GenCon and found my way to the flying frog booth. It took about 5 minutes of speaking with her to realize I was actually having a conversation with Sally, the High School Sweetheart. My mind was blown, and I believe we spent about 70% of our time at the con that year and the next at the Flying Frog booth. It was such an immersive and interesting way to experience board games that Flying Frog had me at every release they made.

Time has passed... Flying Frog has changed quite a bit from what they once were and so have I. I've experienced many more hobby games than I had when I began this journey but despite that and how much Flying Frog has changed, some of their games still stand atop the heap.

I figured it was a good time to do a retrospective on my view of the different games that have come out from the company.

7. Dark Gothic
This left me cold. The signature thick card stock Flying Frog uses really does not lend itself to a deck building style game, which requires constant shuffling. This may be a minor quibble to some people but the tactile nature of board games always plays a big role in my enjoyment.

6. Invasion From Outer Space
Frankly I didn't much like this at all. It felt more like a quirky niche expansion for LNoE than a proper original and unique board game. I think I enjoyed it most for it's combination Zombies Vs. Humans Vs. Aliens mode, which even then I only got to try once or twice. As a stand alone I didn't really care for it.

5. Conquest of Planet Earth
Clever and funny but without much replayability. I think I had the most fun with this during playtesting at gen con, the year before it released. Once we bought our copy, we only played a few times before the novelty ran out. I think the blank board was a misfire here. Though designed as a feature, I think Flying Frog would have been better served to have an existing board to lay cards on top of rather than starting with a bunch of blank spaces.

4. Fortune and Glory
The one with the most un-mined potential. This game's push your luck mechanic was phenomenal and if this had been provided the previous support that Flying Frog gave their games I feel like it would have been a gold mine of entertainment. As it is, it feels like someone gave me the deed to a diamond mine, without the man power needed to excavate the riches inside.

It's worth noting that boarding the blimp, punching out four Nazi's, stealing their gold, and leaping out intact and suddenly rich, remains one of my favorite experiences in board gaming to date.

3. Last Night on Earth
The game that started it all still holds up after all these years. I love this game and it still defines what made Flying Frog games great. That cinematic feel chock-full of thematic goodness. From the minis, to the punch outs, to the thick card stock, and immersive soundtrack, it's an incredible experience for an evening of gaming with friends.

The biggest issue I found with this game was the need to have 3+ players to really enjoy the experience. That's not really an issue for most people, but many games have died on my shelf due to a requirement of that illusive third player. Though I held onto this game for quite some time out of nostalgia, I ended up gifting it to a zombie-loving friend who ended up moving out of state. We still get a game in once every year or so when he comes to visit for the holidays but considering the distance it isn't really practical.

2. Shadows of Brimstone
The game that ended Flying Frog as we know it. Before the Shadow's kickstarter, Flying Frog was my favorite board game company. They produced all of my favorite games and released regular expansion material of incredible quality. They never dropped a game. Their content was diverse and unique. Then the Shadows of Brimstone kickstarter came out. It went wildly out of control, heaping more work on the production team than they could reasonably manage and earning more money than they could ignore. It changed how the Frog would operate going forward.

The frustrating thing, is this game is REALLY really good. I mean it! Technically, this game is better than my number 1. The art direction is incredible. The quality of the components is top notch. The games that came out of this were boiling with entertainment value. It took everything I ever loved about Flying Frog games and consolidated it into one beatific experience. I was in awe of how good this game was, and I never got past one core set.

The saddest part of this story is that the Frog became consumed with this line and all but abandoned their early work. I haven't kept up with the expansions in the years since, because my gaming group from that era fell apart and the new guys don't like the theme. (Apparently Western Eldritch Fantasy Horror isn't everyone's cup of tea. boo...) But it remains in my number 2 spot for how much fun I had with it.

1. A Touch of Evil
My all time favorite Flying Frog release. Not only did the theme strike a chord with me, but the fact that this worked with 2 players meant I could keep playing with my spouse even when the game night crowd left. Major bonus points for me! One of my favorite aspects to this game apart from the theme, was the incredibly cool board. I adore how it connects to future expansions with a little road leading off board, and its visual appeal as an old map is top notch!

This game also existed during the company's heyday of multi-platform support, before they solely focused on one product line so there's quite a lot of expansions out there for it, making each play through wholly unique. If FanG had received this sort of attention, it might have exceeded my love of this game!

So I guess that's it. If you have a list, please share!
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07-17-2020, 11:41 AM
Post: #2
RE: A Flying Frog Retrospective - The games ranked
Interesting Topic.....( AH Kingmaker brings back some memories my wife & I played it a lot back in the day)

LNoE- got me into FFG (& TZG) I picked up a couple of Expansions but it never quite jelled for me & I sold them off)

AToE- is my favorite FFP Game I also loved the Theme & it plays great solo which is my main method of playing.I have all
the Expansions & hope FFP can get out another one some time within my lifetime.

F&G-is a close 2nd I'm still waiting for the 2 new Expansions FFP has been promising for the last couple of years.

SoB- what Raynor said- I got the Mine Cart KS & it eventually came in a huge box with all the figs.all jumbled together, it took a
couple of weeks to organize & frankly just blew my mind. It's still setting around waiting for me to do something with it. It
really did eat FFP.

I never did try another FFP Games the outer space stuff just seemed silly & Dark Gothic was a Card Game which I'm not keen on.


"Sleep well,and stay where I put you"
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07-21-2020, 02:13 PM (This post was last modified: 07-21-2020 02:14 PM by mqstout.)
Post: #3
RE: A Flying Frog Retrospective - The games ranked
In descending order:

LNOE - Almost always willing to play it. Great game, everyone loves it. The "2nd edition" that started with Forest/Mountain weakened the "shuffle it all together" aspects of the game to me, and I'm not keen on the XP system, but it's still good despite those bits.

DG - Not the best deckbuilding game; not the worst. This takes the great theme and art of ATOE and makes a better game of it. Sometimes you just want to toss cards around without a lot of focus. Might be lower except it teaches and plays quickly.

FANG - Almost always play cooperative mode. I wish it played faster/smoother though. Doesn't scale well with number of players. But the theme and feel are great, and, as long as you're in the sweet spot for number of players, it's a blast.

IFOS - LNOE but not quite as good. I think one expansion would have brought it in-line though! The theme is not as strong.

COPE - Might be higher, but it hasn't seen as much play. I like it, but others rarely want to play it because of other games they already know well (like LNOE).

ATOE - Just takes way too long, and I really don't like how it ends. The start is great. Then the mid game drags. And the end game drags and ends with a lot of false endings until someone manages to win. Did I mention it takes too long, especially if you add any expansions?
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07-22-2020, 10:55 AM
Post: #4
RE: A Flying Frog Retrospective - The games ranked
Great thread, thanks.

1. LNOE - my first FFP purchase and still my favourite zombie game. I love immersive and thematic strory-telling games and this is one of the best. Have almost all the expansions. Downside is most of my gaming friends play Zombicide.

2. F&G - again, great theme, especially the Vile Organizations, though I do find the Crimson Hand very hard to beat. Plays well with others if I act as a DM, explaining the rules and keeping player down time down.

3. ATOE - a beautiful game with great theme. So why does it only hit the table at Halloween? With expansions there's quite a bit to set up and I agree about the game length and post-Showdown play.

I don't have the other games - that must tell you something.
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