Designer: Tom Mogridge & Laura Tuck
Avocadogs were kind enough to send us a prototype copy of their game for us to review prior to it's launch on Kickstarter.
Due to the fact that this is a prototype and is subject to change throughout the Kickstarter campaign we are unable to comment on the component quality of the game.
Avocadogs is a card deck full of silly and beautifully illustrated puns where each pun is made from 2 of 6 categories: animals, food, vehicles, body parts, clothing, and places for example Avocadog!
You can play 4 different games with the deck. These are called Natter, Throwdown, Ransack & Juicy with a variety of complexities and different player counts depending on which game you decide to play. Here's a little look about what each game entails.
Player Count: 4+ Players
Unfortunately due to current Covid-19 restrictions we haven't yet been able to try Natter as we still haven't been able to meet indoors with other people. We look forward to trying it at some point however as it sounds like a lot of fun.
Natter is played over 3 rounds with Players split into 2 teams and a deck is created out of 12 cards and a 60 Second timer is set. The starting team nominates a Player who will, turn over the card on the top of the deck and get their team to guess the pun on it by describing it before the timer runs out. They cannot say any element of the word on the card. If the team guesses the card correctly, the player keeps the card in a scoring pile and moves onto the next one, trying to score as many cards as possible before the 60 second timer runs out.
When the time is up, any unguessed cards along with any errors (in this case, if any part of the pun was given as a clue) are shuffled and given to the next team, who will repeat the same as above with the deck switching between the 2 teams until all the cards have been claimed.
Before moving onto the next round, each team takes a note of how many cards they scored, and all the cards are then re-shuffled to create a new deck and this deck is passed to the losing team. Round 2 & 3 play very similarly to the first one but in Round 2, the Player with the cards can only say one word to their teammates for them to guess from and in Round 3, all clues must be nonverbal with mimes and sound effects allowed. The winner is the team scores the most cards over the course of 3 rounds.
Player Count: 2-4 Players
Throwdown is a game of speed where players are trying to be the first person to get rid of all their cards. All the cards are shuffled and 3 are dealt face up to the middle of the table, the remaining cards dealt equally among the players and kept face down. When everyone is ready and someone shouts go, the players will then turn over their top card.
To get rid of cards, players must match one of the categories on their top card with one of the cards face up in the middle of the table, for example a Socktopus would be a match with a Pineappullover as there is a linking category of clothing.
When a player gets a match, they play the card on top of the matched card in the middle of the table, declaring the category that links the two together. This is so the other players around the table can check to see if it is indeed a match.
Player Count: 2-6 Players
In the quick moving game Ransack, players will be trying to collect the most sets of 4 cards that have a common category. To start each player is dealt 4 cards facedown onto the table and the dealer holds on to the main deck. Throughout the game the main deck will be passed from player to player and is not allowed to touch the table at any point!
On the call of go, all players turn over the 4 cards in front of them making sure that they are reachable for all players and they can then start frantically grabbing any of the face up cards on the table in the process of trying to create a face up hand of 4 cards. Once these initial cards are claimed the game begins.
The player who dealt takes the top card from the deck and places it in front of them so that they have 5 cards visible and then hand the deck to the deck to the player on their left making sure that it is not put down at any stage. Once a player has taken a card, they get the option to steal a card from another player and add this to their own face up hand.
Player count: 2-4 Players
Juicy is a slower paced set collection game where players can either score sets of 5 cards with a single matching category or 3 cards with both matching categories, the player with the most sets at the end of the game is the winner.
To start 6 cards are dealt to each player, and two 2 face up in the middle of the table, the remaining cards form a draw pile. From the 6 cards players are dealt they choose two to place face up on the table in front of them, this forms a ‘public hand’ the remaining 4 cards form their ‘private hand’.
A player’s turn consists of picking up 2 cards from any of the ones face up on the table (including other player’s public hands) or facedown cards from the main draw pile.
If a player believes a mistake has been made, they can shout ‘Fake News’ and everyone must briefly stop while the card is checked. If a mistake has been made, the player who placed the card must take all but the top card from that stack and add them to the back of their hand of cards to get rid of. However, if no error has been made, the person who called out Fake News instead takes the cards from this stack.
If a player notices that they can play a card which matches both categories on the same central card, they call out ‘Matchmaker’ and when they do this all other players have to stop playing cards for 5 seconds giving them a nice advantage to get rid of some of their cards.
Rarely, if none of the players are able to play a card, all players can agree to a ‘Lockdown’. When this happens, all players pass their top card to the player on their left to make sure there are no available plays, if not the cards are put to the back of the players hand and the game resumes. If, however, there is a match, the player who would have originally played that card must pick up the all but the top card in that stack and add them to the back of their hand.
This steal can be done immediately or as the deck is making its way around the other players. If a player decides to steal, they will only get the opportunity to steal again once the deck has made its way back to them and they have taken the top card from it. There are no limits to the number of cards a player can have face up in front of them, but it is likely they will have cards stolen from right underneath their noses.
Once a player has managed to create a set of 4 cards that have a common category, they can turn those cards face down into an individual scoring pile, any cards that have been scored are not able to be stolen by another player and remain in this pile until the end of the game.
Play continues until the draw pile is empty and at this stage, all players in order gets the opportunity for two last steals to try and complete any sets.
So, what do we think of Avocadogs?
Avocadogs is a quick, light and fun filled collection of games packed full of brilliant puns and playful artwork. The deck of cards is so versatile offering 4 different ways to play at varying levels of complexity. These are all highly accessible and easy to learn and teach. The game makes for a perfect filler game for a group of regular gamers, or an entry level game for those new to the hobby.
We can also see Avocadogs being a go to on game night for families, the game if officially a for 12 years and over, (there are a couple of cards with nods to a more adult theme, the Brioche Bum and the Booble hat) as long as parents don't mind these cards I would say the game would be absolutely perfect for playing with children too (especially Throwdown!)
A Private hand cannot have more than 5 cards in it at any time but there is no limit to how many faceup public cards a player can have in front of them. Players can also swap cards between their public and private hands at any time.
At the beginning and ending of a player's turn, they must have a minimum of 2 cards in their public hand, placing cards from their private hand if required. Any cards taken from the central area (not a player’s public hand) are replaced by cards from the main draw deck.
Players can score sets from a combination of cards from their own private and public hands and will remove these cards into their own face down scoring pile. Any cards that have been scored cannot be taken by the other players for the rest of the game.
The game continues until the main draw deck has run out and at this stage, all the players’ cards are made public and everyone gets one final turn to match as many sets as possible.
The artwork is eye catching and has a style which is playful and adorable, and the puns are brilliantly represented by the characters and illustration. It's difficult to pick a favourite out of the characters included in the cards as many of them are so adorable - though we love the animals (Hipotatomus, Haterpillar, Platybus, Iguanana, Duxedo and Avocadog are a few that spring to mind!)
The game has a really good level of replayability and the game is also extremely good value considering that the decck is so versatile and has four games included!
Avocadogs is fast paced and so much fun, we can see this game sparking so much laughter and joy and think it will make a fantastic addition to any collection.
Avocadogs is currently on Kickstarter so don't forget to check it out - we have already backed the game and highly recommend it!