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Woof Days Review


How many dog themed games de we need? All of them.

A quick, pocket-sized, dog themed, card game produced by an animal rescue? I could end the review right there and feel confident that it would be enough to bring people on board, but I could also talk about anything related to dogs for 4 hours without taking a breath, so let’s go. Woof Days is a sibling of Dino Days and Cat Days, a trio of light strategy card games released by Farplace Animal Rescue, the UK rescue helping centre.

Dogs for every day of the week

Woof Days is very compact. It comes with two informative cards, one of them containing the rules, which consist of 11 lines. Then two sets of weekday cards, Monday through Sunday, that each player will lay out in order in front of them, and the Woof Days cards, a deck that has mostly dog cards, all of which have a numerical value, but also some special cards – treats, activities, muddy paws, and so on. Your starting hand will be five cards, and, on your turn, you can either draw or play a card. When doing the latter, if it is a dog card, you must follow its placement rule – for example, some dogs can only be played in certain days of the week, while others cannot be placed adjacent to other dogs. If it is a special card, you do what it says and discard it. Some of these will let you swap one of your dogs with one of your opponents’ dogs or remove a dog from any board, and so on. Once someone has all days of the week filled by at least one dog, the game ends immediately and whoever has the most points wins. A game will usually take 5 to 15 minutes.

I have to say, when I read the rules, I wasn’t expecting much in terms of gaming experience, whatever the joy I would get from playing a game about dogs, but I was wrong. Albeit very wholesome, Woof Days can get interesting specifically when you start to influence you opponents’ boards. For example, generally dogs can only be played on an empty weekday, but a German Shepard can be placed anywhere on top of any other dogs on any board, and it has a value of zero. That makes them great to use if someone else in the game has a Great Dane, the highest scoring card in the game. Because you only get points for the dog on the top of each day, covering a good card with a bad one is an excellent way to deliver a killing blow right before triggering the end game. All the special cards have some way of swapping cards or discarding them, which a good player should always be exploiting to either get rid of their opponents’ good cards or their own bad ones. It’s all light-hearted and casual, but also mischievous.

Will my dog like this?

I’m usually partial to very complex games, but lately I’ve seen great simple games being released. Woof Days isn’t as tight and brilliant and infinitely replayable as Sea Salt and Paper, but I do see it being put on the table often. It is worth mentioning that, although there isn’t a limit to the number of players who could potentially join one game, each box only has enough cards for 2 players. So, to play with 3 or 4 people, for instance, you’ll need a second box and so on. And I do believe it gets particularly interesting with higher player numbers. Because some of the card effects aren’t limited to your own board, you could choose to become an agent of chaos and swap dogs around that don’t even have anything to do with you. Your strategy is a bit more straight-forward in a 2-player game, as you have more control over when to trigger an end game or reveal a card that will steal a valuable dog, but this is more volatile with more players. And the price tag is so accessible, it’s definitely worth picking up a couple of copies if you like the game.

There is also the potential for numerous expansions. This comes with just over 10 different dog breeds (no Pomeranian, which is appalling, 1 star), and it’s not hard to visualize iterative additions with their own rules and twists to the game (Google just told me there are 360 recognized dog

breeds, I accept nothing less), shaking up where you can place them and how to hinder other players. Woof Days doesn’t try to be educational, like, for example, Wingspan. It’s interested in being fun and cute, the drawings are adorable. And its association with an animal shelter has its own value. The rules could be ever so slightly more detailed, as I had to look on their website to clarify a couple of things, however once I read them, I was good to go. I was hesitant thinking it would be way too simple or childish, but was pleasantly surprised with a fun, short and easy to explain card game, great as an ice breaker for gaming gatherings or excellent to take on a trip.