How to Play
The game is played over several rounds. Each round, each player will take one turn in clockwise order, beginning with the starting player. During your turn, you must retrieve cards from the grid of Game cards by using any 1 Dog Trick you own. At the beginning of the game, you only own your starting trick, but over the course of the game you may accumulate more. Note, you never use up your dog tricks, instead, you keep them throughout the game and use them again and again. Rotate your chosen Dog Trick card and position it anywhere within the grid to represent the cards you want to gain. You cannot mirror your Trick card, only rotate and/or shift.
Important: when retrieving cards from the grid, you cannot take more than 1 card from the row or column that the Watch Dog is next to.
After collecting cards from the grid, reference the * on the Dog Trick card that you used. Move the Watch Dog to that spot on the grid.
During your turn, before and/or after retrieving cards from the grid, you may play any cards that you want from your hand in any order (see Card Types). If you have retrieved cards from the grid and have finished playing cards from your hand, end your turn by refilling the grid with new Game cards face up from the main deck. Any empty spots in the 3x3 grid must be filled left to right, top to bottom. Then the next player clockwise takes a turn. Players continue taking turns until the end of the game.
End of the Game
While refilling the grid, if the End Game card is drawn, this indicates that this is the last round of the game. Discard the End Game card, then continue refilling the grid with the Game cards that were below the End Game card. At the end of this round, when all players have had an equal number of turns, the game ends. Use a sheet from the score pad to add up each player’s victory points (VP) from dogs, rescued dogs, favorite things, and bones. The player with the highest total VP wins the game! If two or more players are tied for the highest total, the tied player who has the most fed dogs is the winner. If there is still a tie, the tied player who has the most fed rescued dogs is the winner. If there is still a tie, the tied player that wins the next game of Dog Lover is the winner.
Attached: This refers to 2 cards being joined, like a dog and a trait. Once attached, a card cannot be moved somewhere else.
Hand: This refers to cards that you hold in your hand. Any cards held in hand may be kept hidden from all other players until you decide to play them. There is no limit to the amount of cards you can have in your hand.
On this turn: This means anytime between gaining the card and the end of that immediate turn. This means you can gain a Walk card without having an available dog to tuck it under, then adopt a rescued dog, then finally tuck the walk under the dog you just rescued.
Tuck: This refers to all cards placed under a dog, like walks and training. Once tucked, a card cannot be moved somewhere else. You may only tuck 1 card of each type under each dog, unless otherwise stated on cards such as Traits.
Important: The Fetch card starts the game face up in the last player’s play area. They keep it in their play area until they choose to play it during one of their turns.
Playing a Fetch card allows you to trade the fetch with 1 of the cards in the grid, while ignoring the Watch Dog. Like all cards that you play, this can be done before or after retrieving cards from the grid. Take the chosen card from the grid, then place your Fetch card in the grid where the chosen card was. This is done in addition to whatever cards you may have retrieved during your turn, and it happens before the grid is refilled.
Once the Fetch card is in the grid, it can be taken like any other card in the grid by any player on a future turn. Each time it is taken, it remains face up in that player’s play area until they decide to play it. A Fetch card in your play area at the end of the game has no value.
When you take a Dog card, place it face up in the play area in front of you. At the end of the game, all of your dogs need to be fed, represented by the food symbol(s) on the bottom of the card. If a dog is fully fed, you gain VP equal to the number on the left side of the card. In addition, you score any cards attached to it and tucked under it.
If a dog is not fully fed, you lose 2 VP regardless of the number on the left side of the card. Unfortunately, you also don’t score any cards attached to, or tucked under, an unfed dog. There are no partial points for feeding a dog part of its needs.
Dogs come in 3 sizes: small, medium, and big. These sizes are represented by the paw prints in the corners and may be referenced by other cards.
When you take Adoption cards, keep them in your hand until you choose to play them during one of your turns. Rescuing dogs from the Rescue Shelter requires you to discard 2 Adoption cards from your hand to rescue one of the face up rescued dogs next to the Rescue Shelter deck. Place this newly rescued dog face up in front of you. Rescued dogs are like regular Dog cards and must be fully fed at the end of the game or you lose 2 VP. If a rescued dog is fully fed at the end of the game, its special ability is activated. After a dog is rescued, slide the remaining Rescued Dog cards down and immediately refill the empty space at the top with a new face up card from the Rescue Shelter deck. Adoption cards remaining in your hand at the end of the game have no value.
When you take a Walk card, you must tuck it under one of your dogs in your play area. If you tuck it, that Walk card will be worth 2 VP at the end of the game, as noted by the small VP symbol on the top left corner of the card. Each dog can only have 1 Walk tucked under it. If you cannot tuck it under one of your dogs by the end of your turn, then you must discard it.
Food cards are needed to feed your dogs at the end of the game. There are three types of food: scraps, dry bits, and canned food. When you take a Food card, you discard it to collect a food cube of that color which you keep until the end of the game. There are also x2 Food cards. When you take one of these cards, you collect 2 Food cubes of that color. If you take a Wild Food card, you must discard it and take a wild (black) cube. Wilds can be used as any type of food (scraps, dry bits, and canned food).
When you take a Bone card, keep it in your hand until the end of the game. At the end of the game, if you only have 1 Bone you lose 1 VP. If you have 2 Bones, you gain 1 VP for each of your fully fed dogs. If you have 3 or more Bones, you gain 2 VP for each of your fully fed dogs.
When you take Training cards, keep them in your hand until you choose to play them during one of your turns. There are two ways to use Training cards. First, you can tuck it under one of your dogs in your play area. If you tuck it, that Training card will be worth 1 VP at the end of the game, as noted by the small VP symbol on the top left corner of the card. Each dog can only have 1 Training card tucked under it.
Instead of tucking it, you can gain new dog tricks by discarding Training cards from your hand to gain one of the face up Dog Trick cards next to the Dog Tricks deck. The number of Training cards you discard is equal to your chosen dog trick’s cost. Place the newly gained dog trick face up in front of you next to your other dog tricks.
After training a new dog trick, slide the remaining Dog Trick cards down and immediately refill the empty space at the top with a new face up card from the Dog Tricks deck. You may own unlimited dog tricks; however, you may only use 1 Dog Trick per turn for retrieving cards from the grid. Training cards remaining in your hand at the end of the game have no value.
When you take a Favorite Things card, keep it in your hand until the end of the game. At the end of the game, you gain VP based on the number of different favorite things you have. You may score for multiple sets.
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When you take a Trait card, you must do what the card instructs, usually attaching the trait to a dog of a specified size. To attach a trait, place the Trait card face up to the left of the dog it attaches to. Each dog can only have 1 Trait card attached to it.
If you do not have the appropriate dog to attach to, instead of attaching, follow the instructions on the trait to discard itself and possibly other cards or food. If you do not have all the items instructed to discard, then simply discard as many as you can.
While attached to a dog, Trait cards have abilities on the bottom of the card that are active and may override rules in the rulebook. At the end of the game, if the attached dog is fully fed, you gain VP from the Trait card equal to the number on the right side of the card.