Dagwood ‘Diggity’ Doggo

Creating a board game by no means of the imagination is an easy feat. With a plethora of ideas for an Ameritrash hidden information style themed game to be my major project, my vision became a dimly lit tunnel with little way to navigate my way out of it and find a solution. I had formulated a theme and mechanics for a dungeons and dragons-esque board hidden information game set in Egypt where players would work together at some points and double cross each other at the next.

It was confusing and blatantly too much to handle. Parting ways with this idea was such with sweet sorrow, but left room for me to be free creatively without the baggage of cheating on such a board game idea. I was being precious.

Graphic Content warning for video above. 

Then, almost as if fate itself had handed me an idea, I had a spark. It was after I had come home from the Easter Show in Sydney feeling extremely ill after having one of those disgracefully delicious Dagwood Dogs. It felt like a punch in the gut (because I was literally having cramps from all the horrific food that I ate) but I decided that I would create a new theme which surrounded Pronto Pups and Dagwood Dogs. I have a love for kawaii aesthetics, dogs and food, why not combine all three and make a game which is reminiscent of exploding kittens and unstable unicorns.

Narrative and Storyline

In this game world, you’re a connoisseur of Dagwood Dogs from around the world and attempting to put each of these doggos in your kennel (bucket) list to be the greatest in the world. However, other connoisseurs are also trying to take your fame of being the first to have mastered all seven and will do anything to stop you. It is your mission to collect each marvelous creation from seven distinct locations with delicious consequences along the way before these other saboteurs do.

The winning connoisseur becomes the master of all Dagwood Dogs and takes the title of the Daggiest Dagwood Dog.

Material Components and Aesthetics

Dagwood Dog is a high-quality card game, therefore, there is no need for a board but instead, card playmats (not shitty papery-plastic style) with a smooth, cloth top and a rubber bottom which will have a place for seven cards. The art on these playmats will relate to one of the cards so that you can collect your favourite doggos and look at them while collecting them. This is inspired by Cardfight!! Vanguard, YuGiOh and other TCG playmats to protect the cards, add to the games materiality as well as collectability later on if expansion packs are made.

These cards will be of high quality, having the same strength as Pokemon cards as this game will be played with varying ages of individuals and to increase the materiality and price of the game. A cute box packaging will be employed with designs of all seven doggos together on the top. Another idea to increase the materiality of this game is to have a kennel to pass around to declare who’s turn it is, this would be a metal style, like monopoly pieces.

Aesthetically, pusheen cat is a big inspiration for Dagwood Dog’s art style with nuanced puns throughout the card design for each of our adorable pups. I wanted to make sure that people craved and desired to collect all seven by making them look desirable, delicious and dog like.

I also wanted to employ hidden jokes and nuances within the aesthetic and names of cards for older audiences such as the “Inu-Bath” (Shiba Inu in a bowl of ramen) and “New York, New Yorkie” (Yorkie in a hotdog) to drive home a cheeky yet kawaii aesthetic.

Below are some sketches:

Mechanics and Rules

Brief instructions and rules can be viewed, here.

  • There are 101 (dalmatians) cards in the deck.
  • The aim is to get all seven doggos from around the world in your kennel.


  • Players are dealt 7 cards to start the game (if a player gets below 2 cards they can draw 2 on their next turn).

A regular turn looks like: Draw one card, play one action card, place one special dog into your kennel (if you choose to), end turn.

  • Dagwood cards, Action cards and the Kennel.
    • Dagwood: Seven different doggos inspired by food from around the world. These cards can either be put into your kennel or be played as an action card. You need the seven different doggos in your kennel to win the game.
      • JaleDoggo:
        • Mexican- hotdog in a taco (chihuahua).
        • Makes someone discard a random card
      • Corgi’s Crumpets:
        • UK – Crumpet Corgi
        • Skip someone’s turn.
    • Action: These cards will either help you by giving you an advantage or by sabotaging your opponents.
      • Inu-Bath
        • Shiba Inu in ramen, relaxed.
        • The player next to you misses a turn.
      • Cowardly Dog
        • Chihuahua who is scared or doggo in a cow costume.
        • This action card can be played during another person’s turn. Cancels the action card being used.
    • Kennel: The kennel is a safe bank mechanic that is inspired by the card game “Gin Rummy” (a game I have played with my family since I was very young).

Audience and Marketing

The age bracket that Dagwood Dog will be targeting is from ages 4+ as it aligns with all segments, however, the specific segment that will be targeted  is 6-13 year olds due to it’s somewhat complex strategy, Ameritrash style and sabotaging which a younger audience would not align with. Another similar game to this one with a different, more simplistic theme and mechanics would be UNO.

There will be hidden jokes and puns for adults to get along the way to ensure that this family style, the Ameritrash game involves all of its prospective players. I want to ensure that there is just enough sabotage within this game to keep 13-18-year-olds interested in such a cutesy, kawaii game.

Play-testing and Experimentation Findings thus Far

  • There was a problem with the “Sauer-Swap” card description, a random card from other player or chosen card is not specified.
    • Revision: The player who used Sauer-Swap picks a random card from the other players hand.
  • This game was truly like uno in that playing with 2 people was still fun like uno. The card which made this game fun was “Cowardly Dog” where you cancel someone elses action card, we got into a loop of canceling each others cancel which is an interesting and fun feature.
  • I found that in my first few playtests there was no wow, pazaz or ooft in my game. Like how uno has draw 4’s, there was no card which truly screwed over my opponents and the only really fun card to play was cowardly dog where you could blog another person’s ability.
    • Who let the dogs out/release the hounds? – one player lets three doggos out, they find themselves being shuffled back into the deck- if another player needs these hounds there is a chance they can get them, if someone is going to win this can be played.
    • Can only put one dog in your kennel each turn.
    • Changing double scoop to triple scoop – there isn’t enough drawing power in this game. When a player put.
      • Balancing is proving to be an interesting issue.

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Future Changes/Ideas

  • Challenge players with asymmetry and differentiate from other, similar card games by having ‘character cards’ which are randomly assigned to players where they have to collect seven specific doggos.
  • How do I incorporate iconography and accessibility?
  • While writing the rules for this game, I thought about each player having their own discarded pile?