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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #59: Dog Park

For the past twenty-plus years, the vast majority of them saddled with two sons, my long-suffering wife has been shanghaied into playing all manner of board games. Some geared toward little kids, some toward bigger, nerdier kids. For the most part, she has been, in a word, game. So a couple of years ago, when the chance came to get my hands on a game that might primarily appeal to her, I couldn't fork over the dough fast enough.

See, my wife loves dogs, and Dog Park is a game for dog lovers. One of these new-wave craft board games, this one from Birdwood Games, it comes with sturdy artisanal cards and wooden figurines. You could almost expect to serve charcuterie on the fold-out game board itself. The purpose of the exercise is to walk dogs in the park, earning the reputation as the best dog-walker in the neighborhood (it makes as much sense as randomly climbing up ladders and sliding down chutes). To achieve such a lofty goal, you have to perambulate a certain number of pups, and the different breeds have different peccadillos - some need more toys for the trip, some more treats. You get the idea. We enjoyed it when we played it. What's not to like about walking dogs without speeding cars, patches of ice, or unfriendly mongrels?

I went so far as to get the expansion packs, adding European Dogs and Famous Dogs to our potential canine companions. I was crestfallen to discover that "Famous Dogs" referenced well-known screen breeds (collie, corgi, etc.) and not specific dogs. I was all eager to take Spuds McKenzie or Beethoven through the park, but licensing must have been too rich for Birdwood's blood.

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