Kickstarter Review: A Dog’s Life

Beton Games

Age Rating: 8+

Players: 2-6

Timeframe: 40 minutes

MSRP: Unknown- Coming Soon to Kickstarter

Style: Family Action Game

A Golden Retriever, a German Shepherd, a Poodle, a Whippet, a Boxer, a Labrador,

and a Fox terrier take a break from their masters to have an adventure in the streets.

They need you, your family, and your friends to guide them on their exciting journey. Walk a mile in their paws and be an canine hero!

Introduction

A Dog’s Life is a game designed by Christophe Boelinger that was released in the early 2000’s and has recently been reimagined and reimplemented by Beton Games. It will be available as a KickStarter on August 8, 2017. This game is true to theme throughout, has mechanics and actions that make it super appealing to young players, and it can still be exciting for older players due to some serious strategy.

Contents

  • 1 complete game manual
  • 1 game board
  • 6 pre-painted dog figurines
  • 1 dog catcher car
  • 1 die
  • 6 dog cards
  • 72 action cards (12 for each dog)
  • 6 den cards
  • 6 hunger tokens
  • 15 trash can tokens
  • 24 dog bone tokens
  • 12 newspaper tokens
  • 48 piddle tokens (8 for each dog)

If you are a dog lover, you will be enchanted by the art and the components in this game. The hand painted figurines are adorable, the dog cards give each pup a real personality, and the theme is honored throughout every aspect of the game. The quality of the board, figurines, and tokens is high, and the website mentions more breeds of pups may be available in the future.

Gameplay

Each player chooses a pup figurine and a pup card that they will use to navigate through the city streets. Each pup has a specific number of action points and has strengths and weaknesses that are unique to their personality and help them progress through the game.

On their turn each player has 3 phases that they play through. The first phase is the FOOD phase. The player starts their turn by moving the hunger counter on their dog card down to the left one step. Their pup is now a little bit hungry. Each turn that food is not replenished, the pup gets hungrier and could possibly end up fainting and being taken to the shelter.

The second phase is the DOG STUFF phase. During this phase, players use the action points on their dog card to complete activities. Players have to decide when their dog needs to:

Beg in restaurants, search through trash, deliver newspapers, fight rival hounds, drink from fountains, piddle on lamp posts, or hide from the dogcatcher. Some of the activities in this phase require players to use their action cards to determine the results of their activities. Completing an action is taking a risk and may not always lead to the best result.

The third phase is the DOG CATCHER phase. During this phase players roll the die and move the dog catcher’s car, possibly sending some pups to the dog shelter. Being stuck in the shelter is similar to being in JAIL in a Monopoly game.

The object of the game is to be the first pup to bury three bones successfully in their den.

Is it a Family Game?

The theme and artwork in the game give it a unique feel that is immediately appealing to players young and old. Kids love the idea of playing a game where a dog actually piddles and begs and searches through trash cans. The game is easy to learn in just a few minutes, but there are a lot of choices to make in the game which adds an element of strategy.  We definitely think this game requires a few play throughs before children and adults master all of the strategy  successfully. There is quite a bit of information in the manual about real dog shelters, a dog’s lifestyle and care, and about specific breeds. We think this is a great learning tool. The game uses minimal text, making it easy for younger players to understand and there are many different ways to win this game so all players have an equal chance.

Conclusion

This game is fun for parents and children to play together, it has a unique and well executed theme, and is easy to learn and play. We think the many variants and options give this game a high replay value and that this is the perfect family game night adventure for parents with children between the ages of 6 and 12.

A Dog’s Life is currently live on Kickstarter.

FCC disclosure: A copy of this game was sent to us by the publisher for the purposes of this review.

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