Reviews

Review – Dogtag the Game

Dogtag the Game
Dogtag the Game

 

Dogtag: The Attention Grabbing Card Game for Dogpeople

 

Dogtag box cover
Dogtag box cover

Dogtag is the casual party game set in a world where dogs seek online fame by posting to their social media app, “Dogtag.” A successfully funded Kickstarter Campaign in January 2018, it caught my eye back then, being that I am one of these “dogpeople.” Dogtag was featured as one of my Kickstarter Hot Picks in January. And I loved the concept of the game, so I interviewed game designer Sean Han to learn more about Dogtag and its Kickstarter campaign. So it was very exciting for me to finally get the game in hand and to the table.

We even have a chance for you to win your very own copy of Dogtag! Just submit a comment at the end of this article, and a winner will be randomly selected from the pack.

The Story

Dogtag Gameplay
Dogtag Gameplay

Dogtag is the casual party game set in a world where dogs seek online fame by posting to their social media app Dogtag. A splash of pop culture here, and a bucketload of dog puns there, and this is what we get: a fun satire packaged into a heckin’ cute card game.

How To Play

The goal of Dogtag is for players to use cards to “post” pictures and comments in the right combinations to achieve status as the hottest dog in the game. The first person – or dog – to complete 3 achievements wins. But, action cards such as Share, Flag!, Steal, and Trending may block players from completing achievements and let other players reach their own to win the game instead.

Game Setup

To set up the game, a number of achievements cards are drawn from the Achievement deck to place in the play area. Then deal 5 cards to each player from the main deck. The player with the most recent social media post goes first.

Gameplay

Dogtag card types
Dogtag card types

The first step is an open face draw. The active player draws and reveals a card from the main deck.

  • If it is a picture card, the player places it on their picture board. They may also choose to discard the picture if it is not one that they want. Or, because a picture board has a limit of 5, they may discard one of their current pictures and replace it with the one drawn.
  • If it is a comment card, the active player places it on another player’s picture card. If there are no pictures on anyone else’s board, discard the comment.
  • If it is an action card, the active player chooses an opponent to use the action card to their own detriment. For example, Share cards move a picture from the active player’s board to another player’s board. Steal allows another player to steal a card from the active player’s hand. And so on.

The second step is posting. The active player draws two cards to their hand. They then have the option to play up to 3 cards. This includes posting a picture to their board, adding a comment to a picture, or using an action card. Each player has a hand limit of 5 cards. So, at the end of their turn, any extra cards must go to the discard pile.

Completing Achievements

Dogtag Achievements
Dogtag Achievements

Just like the majority of social media posts, the Dogtag picture cards are categorized by color/type: Food, Fashion, Fitness, Self, and Crew, represented by colored blocks on the Achievement cards.

When a player has the required number of cards on their picture board on their turn, they may discard them to complete an Achievement. That Achievement will have a bonus effect that is either one time and immediate, or ongoing throughout the game. The first player to complete 3 achievements wins!

The Rules Girl on The Dice Tower created a handy “How to Play Dogtag in 2 Minutes” video:

 

The Good

Dogtag is one of those games that interests people when it hits the table. When I brought it to my FLGS to play, I heard someone say, “it’s a game about dogs posting photos to Instagram? I’m in!”

Dogtag male romper bros
Dogtag male romper bros

The best part about Dogtag is the art. Illustrator Emilie Vo did an outstanding job capturing the crazy combination of pop culture references, social media trends, and dogs. I heard about the “male romper bros in front of the Coachella Ferris wheel” when I interviewed Sean. But actually seeing these incredible representations is quite amusing. All of the artwork on the picture cards is unique to each card, there are no repeats. And each has its own cute and catchy caption. So be forewarned, the majority of time during the first gameplay is spent looking at the art and reading the crazy captions.

The gameplay is straightforward enough that pretty much anyone can learn. Yes, your grandma can play, but some of the social media references will likely be lost. There are enough cards that there will be some replayability value. But I think that it will need to be brought out with different sets of friends for maximum enjoyment over time.

I also like the initial open face draw that each player makes at the start of their turn. This is a clever “take that” action that is almost always a benefit to the other players instead of the active player. This may directly affect the original plan that a player may have had for their turn.

 

The Bad

Dogtag cards
Dogtag cards

This is such a cute game, there’s not really much I can say that is negative. But, for this being a “casual party game,” it gets rather cutthroat! There are some “take that” elements to impose upon your opponents. Especially when they are close to winning. Certain action cards can derail a player’s path to victory. “Trending” can eliminate an Achievement that a player is working towards. “Share” can move a photo around to other players’ picture boards. These actions can cause the game to go on for quite a while if the right cards keep popping up.

If there are concerns of replayability of the game, there are expansions currently in development.

 

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a cute game that is easy to learn and will appeal to a wide audience, then Dogtag is for you. It is especially great for dog lovers, and I can see how this could be a gateway game to introduce “dogpeople” to the next generation of card and tabletop games. It is fun to play, and reading the cute captions and comments during gameplay is a huge bonus.

 

Where to Buy Dogtag

Dogtag is available for purchase at http://dogtagthegame.com. Retail copies are available in select locations in California. Designer Sean Han and Dogtag Media will also have a booth (F24) at Long Beach Comic Con on September 8, 2018.

 

Game Statistics

  • Release Date: 2018
  • MSRP: $20.00
  • Playing Time: 20-40 minutes
  • Age Range: 8+
  • Player Count: 2-5

 

Would You Like To Win Your Own Copy of Dogtag?

Word of the Nerd and the creator of Dogtag, Sean Han, are giving away a copy of Dogtag to one lucky Word of the Nerd reader. Comment below to enter, and a winner will be randomly selected from the pack.

Important Notes on the Dogtag giveaway:

  • Prize: One (1) copy of Dogtag
  • Deadline: Closes on Sept. 30, 2018
  • Restrictions: Must have a U.S. shipping address
  • Winners: One randomly-drawn winner will be selected to receive a copy of Dogtag. Winner will be notified within a week of the giveaway concludes.

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About the author

Shanon Connelly

(a.k.a. “Super Muffin Girl”) is an avid board gamer, cosplayer, and all around nerd girl. She has been cosplaying for over 10 years, attending several conventions every year. She recently started a YouTube gaming channel, "Time to Play!", which previews and reviews board games. Follow Shanon on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@supermuffingirl).

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