A Dog's Life Board Game Review

Publisher: BETON GAMES
Game Designer: Christophe Boelinger
Adapted by: Martin Arcimovic, Tomas Bodesinky, Jiri Kadavy, Frantisek Salat
Edited by: Martin Arcimovic, James Mansfield, Tomas Bodesinsky, Jiri Kadavy
Artist: Marek Piza

Players: 2-6
Duration: 40 minutes (We had a game last less than 5 minutes)
Age: 6+
Time to learn: 15-20 minutes for initial adult, 5 minutes if someone already knows how to play
Board Game Types: Family Game, Area Movement, Action Point Allowance, Fetching

A Dog's Life Board Game Review

Max chose to make the playground his home. It's settled nicely between the hot dog stand and the ice cream shop. Location, location, location!

Max chose to make the playground his home. It's settled nicely between the hot dog stand and the ice cream shop. Location, location, location!

Game Description/Gameplay

A Dog's Life is an adorable family board game in which you take on the role of one of six canines. As a dog, you do what dogs do. You wander around town finding food, burying bones, marking your territory (don't worry, this is as scatological as it gets), getting into the occasional fight, and trying to avoid the dog catcher. The first dog to find and bury three bones is the winner of this delightful dog land.

Step 1: Move Hunger counter down one point. Step 2: Use your canines allotted number of Action Points to do what dogs do. (Max has 8 Action Points.) Maybe Max chose to dig through the trash. The card drawn shows that he would have received a dog bone for his efforts. Step 3: Roll the dice to move the dog catcher.

Step 1: Move Hunger counter down one point.
Step 2: Use your canines allotted number of Action Points to do what dogs do. (Max has 8 Action Points.) Maybe Max chose to dig through the trash. The card drawn shows that he would have received a dog bone for his efforts.
Step 3: Roll the dice to move the dog catcher.

Verdict

A Dog's Life is as fun as a basket of puppies for family game night. It has a theme and artwork that invites imaginative young gamers to jump right into the story. The hand-painted figures with cute dog accessories are flat-out awesome. While the game mechanics are probably too luck-reliant for the hardcore gamer, this is a fantastic game for young families who just want to sit down and have fun together. 

In some ways, this bears a resemblance to old Hasbro games of our past (turn over a card and see what you get), but A Dog's Life goes a little deeper by giving players multiple steps to follow. It will teach a budding gamer order of operations, goal setting and allocating decisions strategically. The fast-paced racing mechanics make this game a breeze for kids and adults alike.

A Dog's Life has more to offer than a simple roll-and-move game. You have options, and therefore, choices to make. Kids will love becoming the dog in the game, exploring every restaurant, digging through the trashcans, and running away from the dog catcher (editors note - Don't forget peeing on light posts. Play with young kids and the bladders will be emptied and refilled constantly). A group of hardcore adult gamers may want a more strategic game to fill their evening, but for families, this is about as fun and accessible as it gets.

Can someone please turn this game board into an amusement park?

Can someone please turn this game board into an amusement park?

 

Pros

  • Adorable artwork. We couldn't even get the board out of the box and onto the table because the 5 year-old needed to gush over every building on the map.
  • Quality pieces. The players get actual dog hand-painted figurines to trot around town. The parts of the game that are cardboard (player mat, map markers, game board) are made of thick, high quality cardboard.
  • Good introduction to order sequence and action point allowance system. (Dogs today, saving the world from deadly diseases tomorrow.)
  • Well laid out, easy to read instructions with photo examples for clarification.
  • Backing on Kickstarter can get you a massive collection of 25 dogs!

Cons

  • Not for hardcore adult gamers. It's a family game through and through.
  • Some of the colors may be difficult to differentiate for some people. The red and the pink looked identical to the color-challenged member of our group, but there are ways to play the game so that it wouldn't affect gameplay.
This was our lineup of canine companions. As a Kickstarter backer, you will also get Bailey the Golden Retriever! (The Kickstarter Collector's Edition gets a total of 25 dogs.)

This was our lineup of canine companions. As a Kickstarter backer, you will also get Bailey the Golden Retriever! (The Kickstarter Collector's Edition gets a total of 25 dogs.)

Gateway Game Score (what's this?): 10/10
Overall Rating: 9/10

Article by May Begaming who is ready to put down the computer and go walk a dog.

What do you think? Is A Dog's Life as tantalizing as a walk in the park, or did you see a squirrel and run away distracted? Let us know in the comments below.