Hoppers

Posted on by Gabriel | 2 comments
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Nob Yoshigahara might be best known for his ever popular classic game, Rush Hour. However, thanks to his genius, he left us many other great puzzle inventions such as the Hoppers, a fun and addictive solitaire game manufactured by ThinkFun.

Hoppers was first introduced in 1999, when ThinkFun was still known as Binary Arts - A much cooler name in my opinion. At the time, the version that was released didn't feature the red frog, like the one you see here, which wasn't introduced until early 2003. A year later, Binary Arts decided to launch a slightly different version of the game with business executive tokens called Downsize. This version is no longer in production and might be rare to find, but I was lucky enough to find one for my collection on eBay a few years ago. I did get the Downsize version first, but now I much prefer the Hoppers game, as I reckon the idea of the frogs jumping over each other works better.

Hoppers is quite simple to understand: You pick one of the 40 challenge cards and set up the board with the frogs exactly like you see on the card. Like any other solitaire game, you solve it by taking one step at a time, removing one token simply by hopping over another into an empty space, as indicated by the lines on the board. You have the challenge solved when you're left with only one frog in the pond, the red frog.

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The current version of Hoppers with the red frog is believed to be harder than the older version. In this one, the red frog must survive until the end and be the last token on the board. The new version also reduces the number of possible movements for each particular solution, because you can't just make a move that'll result in the red frog being removed. Something that might give some confusion is the fact of the red frog being moved altogether. In fact, you can move the red frog over other frogs just like any other token. Just make sure the moves you do have the right sequence that'll end with the red frog as the last one on the board.

The included 40 challenges are divided into four difficulty levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert), which will keep you busy for a long while. Some of the intermediate challenges already require some heavy thinking, but the advanced and expert levels will surely put your solitaire skills to the test. It took me over 10 minutes at times just to solve a single challenge. For reference, the earlier levels don't take more than a minute or two to be solved.

Closing Comments:

I love solitaire games! I have several of them in my collection and they're among my favorite fun puzzles to solve. ThinkFun deserves all the credit for having a wide selection of these great puzzles in their catalog, and Hoppers is one of the best. I highly recommend it for any one remotely interested in puzzle games.

Availability: You can find the Hoppers game at Sloyd.fi in Finland. Worldwide shipping available.

Links:

Some tips on how to tackle the Hoppers' challenges by George Bell

A Few Challenges

Beginner:

Step by step solution below:


Can you solve the next ones?

Intermediate:


Advanced:


Expert:



2 comments:

George said...

Hoppers is great! There is also another variation called "Cool Moves" featuring penguins. This version is also getting difficult to find. I have some strategy tips for this puzzle on my web page:

http://home.comcast.net/~gibell/pegsolitaire/diagonal/index.html#diamond13

Gabriel said...

Thanks for the link, George. I added it to links section.

I didn't know about the penguins version. It looks "cool" ;)

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