$10.00
Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Dog» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Cry play and let slip the Dogs of gaming! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
David
Switzerland
Buchs
St. Gallen
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok this is my first attempt at a review here on BGG and I thought I'd start with one of my all time favorites. I'm not a native English speaker so if you find some mistakes you can keep them...

Heritage / Introduction
Dog is very obviously a descendant from the ancient family of cross and circle games. I think most western households will be familiar with at least on variant of these games. For anyone else here's the run down: You have four tokens that you move along a track around the board and try to be the first to get all of them into the central area of the board. If you're like me you've played such games since a young age and at some point you've realized that hoping for a good roll and (perhaps) choosing which token to move is not a particularly exciting concept anymore.

Components
Generally speaking you've got a board, four tokens per player and two standard French/Anglo-American deck of cards. Since there are numerous editions of this game the actual design and production value can differ greatly: From flimsy paper and cheap plastic to solid wood and other nicely crafted materials.

The three most common archetypes are:
* Meeple based boards.
* Holes and Pips based boards.
* Marbles and Indents based boards.

My favorite edition I played so far is the "Brändi Dog" shown in the third link. The marbles approach is very convenient to use and the layout is very clear too. The marbles stay in place well enough as long as you don't have a tap-dance competition on the same table. Pips are even better in that regard but are less elegant to move.

Gameplay
The two most important changes to more traditional variants are the use of cards instead of dice and the fact that this is a team game. But first things first...

The game is usually played with two teams of two. The members of the each team sit opposite to each other, separated by the members of the other team.

At the beginning of each round a number of cards are dealt to each player. Each of these cards has a specific function. Most of them will simply move your token along the track by a specific amount of fields (ie "8" card moves 8 fields). Some (Ace and King) will allow the player to place one of his tokens from the reserve onto the starting field on the track. And other will have various other special functions such as swapping tokens on the track. Jokers finally can be employed in the function of any other card.

After the cards of a round are dealt the members of a team secretly exchange one card each. This is one of the most interesting parts of the game. Besides giving a player with a good hand the ability to ensure his partner will be able to place a token on the track and play it also allows for much more ingenious exchanges.

Then players take turns playing a card from their hand and executing the corresponding action with their tokens. Whenever a token lands on a field occupied by another token then the stationary token is returned to the player's reserve. If a player cannot implement any of the actions on his cards he must discard his entire hand and wait for the next round of cards to be dealt.

Finally if one member of a team manages to bring all his tokens into the safe zone, he will continue to play and help move his teammate's tokens.

Variations
Many editions also support a 6 player games. On such boards the following additional scenarios become possible:
* 2 teams of 3
* 3 teams of 2 (more cut throat)
* 2 teams of 2 with a common color (more forgiving on bad draws)

Conclusions
Pros
* It is a light, simple game that still has enough depth to be interesting for most types of players.
* It neatly avoids being a luck controlled dice-fest while maintaining a healthy degree of randomness.
* The team aspect further mitigates the impact of a bad draw and expands the player interaction.
* It doesn't take very long, with many games finishing under an hour.

But most importantly: I've never meat a board-gamer who simply did not like the game. This makes Dog a great choice for a filler/startup game or to break the ice.

Cons
The game is not very flexible in terms of player number. You need exactly 4 or 6 player. If you have 3, 5 or 7 it's just not gonna get to the table.

It is a simple game. If you are looking for something to make your brain sweat, this is not it.

As with any game that incorporates direct confrontation, it is important that everyone is on the same page. It is easy to start vendettas in this game. Only take it as far as everyone is comfortable with. If all you end up doing is trying to get back at the other team this *will* drag on...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
But have you tried TAC?

B>
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick C.
United States
Milford
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Stefan Feld games are balanced and mathematically elegant while being obtuse, emotionally detached, and mechically inelegant. The most overrated designer of modern games. The King of JASE.
mbmbmbmbmb
Glad to see Dog get some exposure. Games like this don't get enough positive reviews on this site.


thepackrat wrote:
But have you tried TAC?

B>


TAC sounds like it might be the better game, but it's not widely available (no known online US sellers) nor are the rules posted in order to play the game using a 4 player Dog board. Only one BGG member currently has a copy for trade. So . . . ?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
amazon.de has them, I believe.

B>
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wolfgang Zelller
Germany
Schramberg
Baden-Württemberg
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess the main problem might be the availability of english rules for TAC... They do exist, but as far as I know they are not easily available and not included with the standard game. Which I find strange, since the author of the game is actually offering replacement card decks for the game in english in their online store (which again is completely in german...).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David
Switzerland
Buchs
St. Gallen
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
thepackrat wrote:
But have you tried TAC?

B>
Aside from reading a "sidenote" on wikipedia on it I've never heard about it. Might be an interesting game, just not very well known. Kind of an Under-Dog it seems. whistle
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
More popular with the Germans than the Swiss, in my experience. Still, seems a bit more interesting.

B>
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.