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What the Woof!? Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: What the Woof!?

Designer: Shivani Sharma Del Puerto
Artist: Danesh Mohuiddin
Publisher: Firefly Creative Inc.
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 8 and up
Playing Time: 20-25 min. 

From the publisher:

You’re a dog, walking in the park, peeing and pooping on poles, fire hydrants, garbage cans and tree trunks, but you’re not alone. There are other dogs out to steal your territory, and that goes against everything you know. So now the battle has begun, and you’re in it to win it. You’ll do anything to be the Top Dog, including chasing squirrels, dodging cats, barking, fetching and so much more.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of What the Woof!?. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change. What the Woof!? has a campaign on Kickstarter that will run until October 15, 2019.

This prototype copy of What the Woof!? was provided to me by the publisher for the purposes of this Kickstarter pre-review. The opinions here are my own and those of my family and friends.

Review: What the Woof!?

Overview and Theme:

Do you hate it when that guy from game night sits down in your spot? Don't you wish you had some way to protect your turf?

Unleash your animal tendencies with What the Woof!?, the game that encourages you to mark your territory all over the neighborhood!

What the Woof!? is an upcoming game with a mark-your-territory theme, humorous art, and take-that action in the card play that is quick to learn and teach and plays in about 20 minutes.

Components and Setup:

What the Woof!? contains 71 sturdy linen-finished cards and a giant 11x17 poster-sized rule sheet in a compact box. The rule sheet is bright, vivid, and well laid out, but we found it a bit ungainly and over time decided that we would have preferred a folded rulebook instead. It's a fun way to learn the rules the first time or share the rules with a bigger group, but it's not convenient for us when we're double-checking a particular rule during the game.

The semi-realistic cartoon art on the cards (leaning towards The New Yorker style) is amusing and filled with little details to keep you engaged in your cards as the game unfolds. All of the cards illustrate dogs, many of them in various stages of marking their territory! Some of the younger players at my table found the illustrations hilarious, while others found a couple of them a little over-the-top or "gross." Adults seemed to have a mixed reaction, too, so you'll want to test the waters with your group before you pull this one out of the box...but that seems fair for a game about dogs relieving themselves all over the neighborhood!

I like that each of the Territory cards has a unique illustration and wish that the Action cards had been given the same treatment. I enjoyed checking the What the Woof!? Kickstarter page to find out which real-life dogs served as models for some of our favorite cards, too.

Setup is super-simple: shuffle the deck and deal five cards to each dog--er, player. If you get a Drop Card (helpfully labeled at the top), return it to the deck and take a new card in its place.

Game Play and Mechanics:

What the Woof!? is quick to learn and teach:
  • There are just three types of cards: Action, Territory, and Drop.
  • Each player gets two moves per turn, and can spend these moves to (a) draw a card and/or (b) play an Action card in any combination.
  • There is no hand limit, but if you wind up somehow with no cards in hand, you immediately draw two and then continue playing.
  • If you draw a Drop card, you play it immediately and resolve the text on the card right then, for better or for worse.
  • Players try to collect Territory cards, worth positive points at the end of the game, and use up their Action cards, worth negative points if you still have them when the game ends.
  • When the deck runs out, each player gets one final move to play an Action card, and then the game ends and players tally up their scores.
  • The dog who marked the most valuable territories wins!

What the Woof!? is full of family-friendly take-that goodness. The Action cards have you stealing cards from other players, taking cards from the discard pile, exposing other players' hands, forcing other players to discard, or using a Bark card to block another player's Action.

The Drop cards add a little flavor of the unexpected--you might turn up a Challenge card to see who has the most valuable Territory, or a Bad Dog card that forces you to give some of your Territories to another player, or find the Belly Rub card that makes every player rub their belly before taking a turn or be forced to discard if you forget. There's even a Treat card that makes your whole hand worth double...if you can hang onto it until the end of the game.

The back of the rules sheet is a poster of FWQ (Frequently Woofed Questions) that you can refer to if you need it, but most of the cards are easy enough to understand.

In What the Woof!?, you're trying to hunt down which players have the best Territories and nab those for yourself, saving Action cards until you know you can reap their benefits, but knowing that if you save them too long, you'll be stuck with them in hand at the end of the game and lose points. There's a good amount of light-weight strategy in What the Woof!? to fit the friendly competition of a family or game group gathered around the table.

The Good:
There are plenty of dog jokes and pee jokes and general laughter and hilarity to be found in a game of What the Woof!?, especially if one of your game groups consists of nine- and ten-year-olds... or those adult friends who are still nine or ten at heart!

The quality of the cards and the thought that went into the artwork gives What the Woof!? a pleasingly professional sheen.

Gameplay is easy to pick up and light enough that What the Woof!? makes a great after-dinner game or a filler between heavier games. The take-that nature of the game ensures that all players will be invested in every turn and promotes a high level of interaction that we love.

The Bad:
A few of the illustrations were off-putting for some of the folks who played the game with me. Other friends laughed at the scatological humor and enjoyed it very much! It comes down to personal preference of the marking-your-territory theme.

The poster-sized rule sheet is fun, but turned out to be a bit more of a hassle in the long term. We'd love to see a smaller rule book or rules printed on cards instead (which would fit even better inside the two-piece box).

Players Who Like:
What the Woof!? is great for players who like card games with a little take-that to them, from UNO to Fluxx, or fans of dog games (it is billed as A Dog Game for Card People!) like Pug Time.

Final Thoughts:
What the Woof!? is a humorous family card game with engaging art where each unique card tells a little story of the eccentric dogs we all know and love. Each time we played, everyone at the table was invested and interested in each player's turn, keeping an eye on what each player had that we could steal or defending our hands from their Actions. It felt like a very solid family game experience, one that my kids already are eager to return to. The scatological humor on a few of the cards may not be for everyone, but if it's the kind of thing that makes you and your family chuckle, then you may enjoy it as much as my young (and young-at-heart) friends did! It's dog-approved!

Check out What the Woof!? on:


On KICKSTARTER now. Campaign ends October 15, 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.
What the Woof!? Kickstarter Preview What the Woof!? Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on September 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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