Our very first review about a game that we received an actual review copy of, how exciting! Doxie Dash is a fast-paced card-drafting game in which you try to collect different sets of cards. You have to be tactical though, because your opponents might be trying to get the same cards! Doxie Dash was designed and developed by Mackerel Sky Games. It was successfully backed on Kickstarter and recently hit mass production. We got the chance to play this game with different people and had a great time doing so!
Over several rounds, you try to score points by either defeating threats (vacuums, strangers or badgers) with dash cards, completing different collections (water and kibble or skivvies), pooping on the floor or carpet and by playing plain point cards (lick attacks). All players play a card from their hand simultaneously and then give their hand to the player to their left until all cards have been played. At the end of each round all players get the opportunity to discard cards that would otherwise score minus points (like undefeated threats) or any other cards that they don’t want to use in their end scoring. In exchange, they then draw the same amount of new cards, that they have to play.
One of the unique elements of Doxie Dash is the introduction of the doxie heroes. Each player receives two doxie hero cards at the start of the game and picks one to play with. These doxie heroes each have their own unique scoring ability, making sure that everyone has a different focus within the rounds. Fun fact: these heroes are based on the actual Long Long Ranch pups! You play rounds until one of the players has collected 100 points. For us this usually took 4 (or sometimes 3) rounds.
What did we think?
So how did we like it? We liked it a lot! First of all, the theme is adorable. The little dogs in Doxie Dash are based on the dachshunds from the Long Long Ranch (check out their Instagram here) and all have their unique personality and artwork. The artwork is in a very accessible and fun 8-bit style and the game makes for a very colourful table. Additionally, there are a lot of fun puns on the cards, and we learned quite some dog slang as well. Did you know meeps are called that way because it’s the sound they make? We Googled. We had some awkward moments when playing it in public and discussing how many poops we got on our carpet, but that’s part of fun, really! The same counts for the underwear (or skivvies, again, we Googled). When playing with people who aren’t native English speakers, not all of these jokes always come across. Although that doesn’t limit the understanding of the game, it does have an impact on the experience.
We enjoyed this game most with bigger groups, because there is just a lot more going on. Four players was our biggest group thusfar. As generally counts for drafting games, with two players you start falling into the same patterns after a few rounds. That said, the mechanics are clever and the balance between different ways to score points are generally very good. The doxie heroes frequently caused players to ‘steal’ cards to prevent others from scoring too many points in our games. Discarding cards for random new ones at the end of the round also adds a nice twist to a card drafting game.
We did have one major issue with this game, which is that the doxie heroes aren’t that well balanced. Some doxies basically make for an instant loss, while others easily lead you onto the path to victory. A quick calculation led to the conclusion that with some of the doxies (like Penny) you easily score twice the extra points of some of the weaker heroes. For gateway gamers this doesn’t have to be a problem but for tactical players it makes the scores rather predictable.
One way we tried to tackle this was by dealing everyone three dogs and picking two dogs each instead. This worked especially well in a two player game. This made the game a bit more tactical and brought us some interesting combinations. We would not recommend doing this with new players, but it is a fun twist for after you’ve played a few rounds. Another quick solution would be to pick new dogs each round, however this does slow down the game a bit.
All in all, we have really enjoyed playing Doxie Dash and would definitely recommend anyone looking for a fun filler or gateway game to check out the pre-ordering options! It’s always great to have a simple drafting game in your collection and this game offers just that.
Although we had some issues with the balance between the heroes and we house-ruled that for a bit, this game will definitely be hitting our table again in the future. That says a lot, considering the growing size of our collection. Like real dogs, these dogs also do well when you take them out on adventures! We found it the ideal game to take with us to lunch rooms and bars because the game fits in a rather small box and can be played with (fairly) limited space. As it plays rather quickly too, it’s easy to squeeze in a play here and there!