Hey guys, I'm Ronny from Co-op Board Games. Since A Dog's Life isn't a cooperative board game, I figured I'd post my thoughts about it here. First review on BGG! Whoop!
In A Dog's Life, your job is to help your dog find three bones and get them back to his or her den. If your dog is able to bury three bones before the other dogs, you win!
At the beginning of the game, each dog is assigned one of the dens along the outer edge of the board. The dogs also have their own custom action card decks.
Each dog has a set amount of action points they can use each turn. They can move, beg at restaurants, search trash cans, pee ('piddle') on lamp posts to slow other dogs down, pick up and deliver newspapers, or even fight other dogs.
If you beg at restaurants, search trash cans, deliver newspapers, or fight, you'll need to flip over an action card to see the outcome of that action. Your hope is to get bones from the restaurant, trash can, and newspaper delivery actions, but food isn't a bad result either since it keeps your dog fed so they don't have to go to the shelter for food. The worst outcome is getting nothing.
After you've taken all of your actions, you'll roll a die and move the dog catcher. If the dog catcher lands in a space adjacent to another dog, the owner of that dog must flip one of their action cards to see if the dog has been caught or not. If the dog catcher lands directly on a dog's space, that dog goes directly to the dog shelter. The owner then has to hope that their action cards allow them to escape the shelter or they could potentially lose a couple of turns.
And that's about all you'll need to know to start playing A Dog's Life. It's basically a race to the bones with a little bit of player interaction thanks to the dog catcher and the pee!
Pros & Cons
It's extremely easy to learn and teach. I've taught eight people, including kids, and it never took me more than five minutes.
I think the dog figures are great.
It's also great that all of the dogs have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, Bella the poodle rarely gets anything good from searching trash cans, but she can get plenty of good stuff from begging at the restaurants.
The 'piddle' markers are still hilarious after seven games. Plus, they really do work when there are a bunch of dogs on the board and you need a way to block them from going somewhere.
This game is far better with 4+ players than it is with two or three. When playing with fewer players, it feels more like multiplayer solitaire than an interactive competitive game.
Some games, especially at lower player counts, are a bit anticlimactic. A dog can have the last bone in its mouth and you'll know that there's absolutely nothing you can do about it on your turn.
Having the dogs' strengths and weaknesses on their cards would have been great.
A Dog's Life was clearly made for dog lovers and families, and I'd say it's a good game for both of those groups. I don't see too many adult gaming groups playing this regularly, but I think families with kids in the 6-12 range will get many enjoyable hours out of this one.
Check out more of my reviews over at www.coopboardgames.com.
- Last edited Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:32 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:38 pm
We enjoy this nice little game, but we modify the pee/fight mechanics since we don't enjoy playing those mechanics in our gaming. This was a great review of this wonderful game, thank you!