Spots Review – Every Dog Has Their Day

Spots Review – Every Dog Has Their Day

I’m not sure there’s ever been a better tagline for a boardgame – “Dogs have Spots. Dice have Spots. Fill in your dogs to win!”. Short, sweet and to the point, Spots from publisher CMYK Games and lead designer Jon Perry is a push-your-luck dice game with some action selection thrown in for good measure wherein players roll dice to place them on matching ‘spots’ on adorable dog cards. Taking just a few minutes to setup, each player starts with a small ‘yard’ board for holding dice, a red treat token for rerolling dice, and two dog cards. In the centre of the table are six ‘trick’ tiles, which show an action each player can choose from during their turn. Simply choose a ‘trick’, do what it says and then flip it over. Once there is only one trick left for a player to choose from, it gets a treat placed on it as an incentive and the other five trick tiles are flipped back over. Any time a player has a dog with all its spots covered by dice, they can elect to skip selecting an action tile and instead ‘flip’ their dog card, returning the dice on it and taking a new card from the draw pile. The game ends immediately when the first player has six flipped dogs in front of them.

All well and good, but where does pushing your luck come into this? Most tricks will give you the chance to roll a number of dice, some as low as one and others as high as twelve. If you can’t place any of those dice on your dogs, then your only option is to bury them in your yard, but if the combined value of dice in your yard ever exceeds seven, then you ‘bust’ and have to clear all of the dice from your yard and dogs, even if they’re complete. The tension ramps up further with a dangled carrot of sorts – if at any point all dog cards in front of a player have all their spots filled during their turn, they flip instantly – the kind of gamble you might be willing to take if there’s only a single flipped dog between you and victory as an opponent waits to flip their sixth dog on their turn. If you’ve amassed a large pile of treats, you might even decide to spend all of these re-rolling a single die to make such a long shot pay off. Replayability in Spots is through the roof, with 16 extra trick tiles to draft in and replace the base 4 alongside a number of suggested thematic sets in the rulebook.

Spots benefits greatly from its clean aesthetic design, small box size and compelling gameplay that suits a range of ages and experience levels. Artist John Bond has imbued each dog card with personality, compounded by the dice themselves which feature slightly offset pips of non-uniform size and the ‘trick’ tiles which resemble obedience school certificates. Supporting 1-4 players, Spots is even great to break out when you don’t have an opponent handy with a simple to run solo mode included. Overall Spots is a fantastically cohesive production combining addicting gameplay that scales beautifully at all player counts with a theme that helps on-board players in a matter of minutes.


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Spots was reviewed with a retail copy of the game kindly provided by PR.  

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