Gameday First Play – A Dog’s Life

“A dog can’t think that much about what he’s doing, he just does what feels right.”

~Barbara Kingsolver

A German Shepherd, a Poodle, a Whippet, a Boxer, a Labrador, and a Fox terrier take a break from their masters in order to experience an adventure in town.

But they aren’t used to taking care of themselves though. They need you, your family, and your friends to care for them!

Players each control a Dog… Each Dog has a number of action points, a unique deck of cards a player board and cute toy miniature. They also have a mouth, stomach and a bladder which is important to the game.  🙂

While each of these dogs is slightly different their goal is the same. Find 3 Bones, take them back to their Den and bury them.

At the start of your turn you move your Hunger Marker down one space then you walk around town spending action points.

It’s an Action Point to move, search a Trash Can, beg at a Restaurant, pick up or deliver a Newspaper, Attack another Dog, Drink from a fountain and Mark a lamp post…

Movement is simple, however you can’t move over a lamp post an opponent has marked. If you move onto it your turn ends and you lose all of your remaining action points so tactical peeing is a valid strategy… 🙂

The actions are measured on a card flip…

 

When you declare your action, you flip over a card to see what the outcome is. This tells you what you get from a trashcan or from begging, for delivering a newspaper, your strength in a fight. The bottom two boxes relate to the Dog Catcher and the Pound.

At the end of a players turn they roll a D6 to move the Dog Catcher…

If it lands on you you’re sent to the Pound. If it lands next to you you’re on a card flip to see if you’re caught or not.

If you’re caught, or you start the turn with no food in your tummy you go to the pound.

Here on your turn you flip over a card to see if you get out… If not the next turn you flip 2 cards…If you’re still not out on your third turn they let you out.

First Dog to find and bury 3 bones wins.

Positives

It’s very tactical. I mention tactical peeing… But also fighting, you need to pick your fights so don’t fight the Boxer, he’s tough! Moving the Dog Catcher, while on a D6, can be done to benefit you too. The van can’t turn around, it can only go the way it’s facing so you can manoeuvre it to your advantage.

It’s a very good weight, good for families and gamers…

The Dogs are all different, you can play to their strengths and do what’s best.

It has a very cute look…

Negatives

…which puts people off. Someone came over to our table and said “It’s clearly a kids game but I hope you enjoy it.”. It’s from the designer of Archipelago, that game is no walkies in the park!

With up to 9 action points it can be difficult to track. It’s not very hard, but sometimes you need to track your turn back a bit and recount your steps.

The dogs are great, but they constantly lie down… They need work to stand up straight.

Summary

It’s a lot of fun, nice looking and mean. Random? Maybe, but you can play the odds of your Dog and play to their strengths. Now go get them bones!

Note: The copy I played was a review copy generously provided by ADC Blackfire Entertainment,, big thanks to them for this game.

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