Cosmic Frog, World Eaters from Dimension Zero is a weird game. It’s full of weird words, uncanny terms and eerie artwork and I adore it. What’s better than being a two-mile-high immortal frog, stealing interstellar land and ramming it into your massive gullet? Once you embrace the weird theme and get into it Cosmic Frog turns into a fantastical Smash Brothers-like smack-em-up.
Cosmic Frog is chock-full of terms like Dimension Zero, The Shard, Slipstreaming, The Aether and other things like Fracture and Oomph. It takes a couple of turns and a few rule book skims to get everything into your head but once you do, it does make sense. What also comes with this is the fact the game feels like it’s set in another universe, full of lore and wondrous happenings. It’s scrumptious.
Gobbling & Punching
Strap in this one’s a doozy! The board is made up of three areas, the Shard is the large fragment of land on which you will all try to gobble up the landmasses within. The Aether, which is the void space surrounding the shard that you will need to go to disgorge land tiles from your gullet into your Vault (More on that shenanigans later) and Outer Dimensions, which is somewhere you never want to be, leaves you defenceless for other slimy buggers to steel land tiles from your vault.
You have two player boards, your Gullet and your Vault. Your Gullet is where the land tiles you swallow fall into and these tiles can be taken in frog-on-frog combat. In order to score these tiles you must discorge them, while in the Aether into your vault. This vault is where you score your points. You get both diversity points and points for rows of the same land type. I now this sounds weird and it is but when you play it all, weirdly, makes sense.
Tiles in your vault are just about safe unless, like I spoke about before you lose a combat in the Aether and get knocked into the OUter Dimensions, this leaves your vault unlocked and other frogs can take tiles, which you are using for scoring away from you. It’s best to stay away from there or even better, get the first punch in! Beautiful!
I found the process of eating tiles, arranging them between my gullet and vault in scoring configurations quite satisfying. That, along with trying to stop other players robbing them and smacking me about the Outer Dimensions to be very entertaining and quite thrilling.
Oomph, The Action Deck & Special Powers
On your Gullet board you also have six Oomph crystals. These are a resource you use to either take another action at the end of your turn, make actions more powerful and even use some of your special abilities. At the start of every game you are dealt two cards which define your frogs abilities, dice used in combat and general flavour. They are all very powerful and each time you get one, it feels great and you want to try out your newly discovered prowess.
You should not get too attached to your frogs abilities though as you will change your card many times, probably, over the course of the game. This i caused by the strange yet very entertaining action deck. This deck is made up of an amount of action cards for each player, one Splinter Strike card and one Aether Flux card. I know more weird terms? I love it!
For each turn of the game the top card of the action deck is flipped, if it’s a players action card they take a turn, which is bonkers, it leads to players having two or three turns in a row and creates weird gamestates that I found really entertaining. You know how many cards are in the deck and even if you dont take turns for a while you know you are going to also get a stretch of consecutive gos, it’s simply beautiful in it’s execution.
If the Splinter Strike card gets revealed you flip a card form the Splinter Strike deck which shows a location on the shard that gets destroyed. This both acts as a way to keep the Shard variable and also moves the game along, acting as the timer. Some tiles have a crack printed on the back of them and after a certain number have been revealed, it’s game over. If an Aether Flux card gets revealed everyone gets a replacement power card. However, if your have spare Oomph you can pay one to keep what you have or two to look at both and choose your favourite. It’s all rather spicy.
The fisticuffs in Cosmic Frog are very simple but have enough wiggle room, using Oomph and your special power card to create some very tense and close skirmishes. Cosmic Frog has three dice sets, white, which is the weakest, it has a zero on it, which I found out, to my despair last night. The yellow is the middle die and red is the best, which goes up to seven. Your current power card states what colour dice you use for combat depending on where you are fighting.
Along with this you can use 2 Oomph to roll two of the coloured dice and pick the highest or for every two Oomph you add, adds one to your dice rolls. It’s all rather simple yet satisfying combat and keeps things moving as a very brisk pace. Add in some powers from your power card and things really do get interesting and can see even the weakest frog, sometimes, come out on top.
The components for Cosmic Frog, in my opinion are beautiful. The six frog miniatures are great, the artwork is amazingly psychedelic and it even comes with a rolled up mat that shows the plains you will be battling on. With how bright and weird the artwork is, it enabled my and my lad to paint the frogs in weird colour combinations, deep purple and bright yellow or red and cosmic blue. The whole presentation for this game is like no other and all the components are not only functional but stunning to boot.
I had heard great things about Cosmic Frog but even so, I was blown away by how different, streamlined and fun it was. The components are great, the gameplay, once you get over some of the terminology is super smooth and it’s entertaining all the way through. I love the art style, I adore all the lore and the whole presentation is excellent. Grab some friends, grab a 2-mile high immortal frog and smack each other about while devouring worlds, does that not sound amazing? It certainly is, right, I am a bit peckish and want to smack a few friendly frogs about the head, TO THE AETHER!