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Pug Time Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Pug Time

Designer: Ben Burkhardt
Artist: Oray Studios
Publisher: Cezium Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 9+
Playing Time: 10-30 min.

From the publisher:

Pug Time is a quick, casual card game for 2-4 players of all ages. Players take on the role of pug owners, helping their special pug navigate the crazy world by teaching them tricks, giving them treats, going on adventures, and, of course, avoiding terrible disasters. Players win once their pug has reached ultimate pug happiness by earning enough points in the three areas of pug happiness - eating, sleeping, and playing.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Pug Time. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change. Pug Time launched on Kickstarter on March 26, 2019.

Review: Pug Time

Overview and Theme:
Peach the Pug is a pup who is packed with personality...and game designer Ben Burkhardt has created a family card game based around Peach's antics as a gift for his fiancee. After playing the game with family and friends, he decided to found his own label, Cezium Games, and publish Pug Time via Kickstarter.

Pug Time is a quick-playing card game featuring cartoony pugs in a variety of everyday adventures. Your goal is to play cards from your hand to gain tokens in the three areas of happiness: eating, sleeping, and playing, of course! The first pug owner to collect 12 total tokens wins.

Components and Setup:
My prototype copy of Pug Time included a deck of 46 cards, 8 special Pug cards, 4 player aid cards, 57 tokens (for eating, sleeping, and playing), and a rules booklet.

Will you choose to be The Fast Pug, The Brave Pug, or The Smart Pug? Start the game by having each player choose one special Pug character card, each with their own special ability. The kids I played with found this to be one of the most endearing parts of the game, and quickly latched onto their favorite pugs, whether chosen by ability or by the cute factor of their illustrations.

Shuffle the deck, set out the tokens and reference cards, and you're ready to play! Pug Time is a quick setup game.

Game Play and Mechanics:
Pug Time is one of the few kids' card games that uses a simultaneous action selection mechanic--that is, at the beginning of each round, all players will choose the card they want to play and put it face down in front of them. This mechanic works to keep all players involved with less down time waiting for other players to make decisions. It also feeds into your need to bluff and guess opponent's actions, as certain cards like Disasters could ruin your plans for collecting tokens that round.

Chosen cards are flipped up at the same time and then resolved according the the action number in the top right corner (low to high).

Pug Time includes six different card types:
  • Basic - gain one token of a particular type (Sunlight Spot - Gain 1 sleeping token)
  • Trick - some Tricks allow you to gain one token in any area (Backflip); others give two tokens in a certain area if a condition is met (Stay - Gain 2 playing tokens if no other owner has gained playing tokens earlier in this round)
  • Disaster - these cards are placed sideways in front of another player, and for the rest of that round, any tokens of the listed type that the targeted player would earn go to the Disaster's owner instead (Thunderstorm - Apply one sleeping disaster)
  • Treat - activate your pug's special ability (Prosciutto)
  • Buried - allows you to either play one card directly from your hand or to slide one card beneath the Buried card for use on a later turn (Jewelry)
  • Adventure - these four unique cards give extra special actions (Land Speed Record - Play the rest of your hand)
The mix of card types and varying action numbers brings some extra strategy to the table. Will you bury a Disaster card in order to pull it out in a later round and stop your opponent from collecting the last two eating tokens they needed to win? Will you play a low-number Basic card to ensure that you'll get at least one token this round, or take a chance on a higher-number Trick card and hope that the conditions are met by the time your card activates?

After the Solve phase where all cards are resolved, there is a Break phase where players check to see if anyone has won--you'll need 12 tokens total, with at least 3 in each category (eating, sleeping, and playing). If no one has won, you'll clean up from this round, draw back up to four cards, and play another full round.

Will you be the pug owner to bring your Curious Pug to Max Happiness first? Balance your treats with disasters applied to the other pugs, contemplate a little strategy while not getting distracted by the adorable pups, and you might win!

The Good:
Every group we played Pug Time with was most drawn in by the darling illustrations as well as the Pug character bios in the end of the rule booklet, and the overall cute theme of making your pugs as happy as possible with plenty of food, rest, and fun. The theme is definitely the star of Pug Time!

I enjoyed the simultaneous action selection in Pug Time because it's a mechanic that's not often found in games for younger players. As a gameschooling mom, I appreciated being able to take the time to talk to the players about the strategy and logic behind making these choices, as well as being able to view the Solve phase as a little pre-coding skills work: players have to be able to follow the order of the cards (based on the action numbers) as well as apply the extra actions from cards like Disasters and to check for conditionals on the Trick cards. Pug Time definitely holds some great STEM skills inside a cheeky Pug exterior!

The Bad:
My playtesters didn't have anything bad to say about Pug Time that's not likely to be resolved in its final publication. Obviously our copy was a prototype, so we didn't have final quality cards and tokens. The rulebook was a little hard to follow on our first pass, but that's also something that will likely be polished for the final printing.

And as usual for me--since I tend to review lighter family games--a little disclaimer that Pug Time is a ball of fluff munching on a pizza...if you're not in the mood for a quick, light card game that's heavier on theme than on strategy, I invite you to check out the many amazing reviews from my fellow authors here at Everything Board Games and I'm sure you'll find a game that's more your speed!

Players Who Like:
Families and young players who enjoy games with a great animal theme and plenty of sweetness, like Circus Puppy, Kitty Paw, or Junk in My Trunk, may enjoy Pug Time.

Final Thoughts:
Peach the Pug lends her charming puppy self to Pug Time--an engaging family card game with just enough strategy to balance out the sheer cuteness of the illustrated pugs running, sleeping, and getting into mischief. It is quickly becoming a filler favorite with my family and kids (and pup!). I wish Ben, Savannah, and Peach all the best with their Kickstarter endeavor!

Check out Pug Time on:


On KICKSTARTER now. Campaign ends April 25, 2019.

Alexa Chaplin- Reviewer

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!

See Alexa's reviews HERE.
Pug Time Kickstarter Preview Pug Time Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on April 03, 2019 Rating: 5

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