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Pugs in Mugs - A doggie doo doo or a doggie doo don't?

Updated: Oct 3, 2023


The Pugs in Mugs game box. It is a blue box with the logo in the middle, the 'U' of Pugs is a pug in a mug

Players: 2-5

Ages: 6+

Game time: 45 minutes

Overview - Pugs In Mugs


Pugs in Mugs is an adorable two to five-player card game by Stop, Drop and Roll (sdrgames.studio) which brings a collection of colour, quick turns and cute but silly artwork to a small and compact family weight game.


This card game is another approachable variation of the typical set collection game where you are attempting to grab at least three of the same colour pug, to then... put them in a mug?! The first person to collect all five colour mugs is the winner of the game, earning them barking (or bragging!) rights for the rest of the day.


This review is coming from the perspective of someone who does not regularly play party games or family focused games, and ultimately I think this is a game that would be enjoyed most by families with younger children. For this review I played this game two player and also tried this out double handing with a second player to see how play style was affected at higher player counts.

Gameplay


Pugs in Mugs has very straightforward gameplay where players take turns to take up to two actions, and the end game is triggered once a player has managed to collect one mug of each of the five colours.


At the beginning of the game, a player is dealt two cards, and on their turn can choose to pick up a card from the deck, play a mischief card from their hand (which have various self explanatory powers), exchange three pugs of the same colour in their hand for the mug of that colour, or steal a mug from another player. Once two of these options have been chosen, a player needs to discard down to five cards and the next person can take a turn.


There are three types of mischief cards in the deck that may be taken into a players' hand and played for their power. The 'Dig' card allows players to name a colour or the name of a mischief card to search the discard pile for that card and take it into their hand if found. Similarly, the 'Gimme' card allows you to name a colour or mischief card and ask another player if they hold that card, and if so, they must give it to you. Finally there is the 'Surprise' card which does not count as an action to play, it can be played at any time, and forces another named player to discard a random card in their hand.



A Surprise card from the game Pugs in mux. There is the head of a slightly shocked looking  pug with a starburst in the background and Surprise across the top in large letters. There is text explaining the card at the bottom.

When you gain a mug of a colour, this is popped in your display for all players to see. On your turn, if you have a hand of five different colour pugs you ca


n choose to steal a mug from another player, as long as you don't have that colour mug already and this wouldn't trigger the end game. Definitely a way to mug someone up the wrong way!


Production


This game comes in a very compact little box, which would be perfect for travelling with. I have not tried to sleeve the cards, but I would imagine that there is not enough room to sleeve the deck and close the box with no lift. As 25 of the cards however are mug cards that would not be handled, perhaps very thin sleeves would fit for the rest of the deck which is shuffled, but don't hold me to that!


The card quality in Pugs in Mugs is great, with each card being a good thickness and having a lovely linen finish.


The colours in this game really pop, the mug cards are a rainbow of silly fun, with each having a cute and amusing unique pug getting up to mischief. I can imagine children having a lot of fun with the artwork in this game, with some of the most notable pugs sporting a unicorn horn, eating pickles, wearing disguises or stealing some sausages! All of the art is very well done and strikes a good balance between cute and silly that I think kids would adore.


The game is also colour-blind friendly, as each colour has an associated shape which is shown on either the mugs or the background of the pug deck. A very nice touch.

Thoughts on the Gameplay

Pugs in Mugs is not my typical cup (mug) of tea as I am normally a solo gamer that likes more in depth strategy and less luck. I tried to compare this to some other party games that I have played before and feel that this one slightly misses the mark in terms of building some tension between turns and allowing some friendly banter across the table.


There are only five pugs of a certain colour so I found that by playing two handed (simulating a four-player game), if two or more players were attempting to unknowingly collect that same colour, gameplay could be elongated and become a little frustrating. It is then down to the luck of the draw as to who is able to draw the last colour card or a mischief card that could allow them to collect that last pug. I could imagine it may not be suitable for some families if for example a sibling could be prone to holding onto cards out of spite!


The deck is also very small and as turns are so quick, it requires shuffling very regularly. I personally think the game would play quicker and with less frustration if there were a couple more pugs of each colour.


The game on the whole, however, plays very smoothly and turns are very simple and quick so nobody is left waiting around for too long between turns.



Conclusion


Replayability

This game definitely has a good amount of luck in it as you're mostly relying on drawing the correct colour card from the deck to complete your set, so replayability comes from the fun and atmosphere created around you. I found this game takes around 20 minutes to play two-player and when I tried it two-handed this then stretched the game to around 35 minutes so I would say this is probably not a game you would necessarily want to play back to back, however this is to be expected from a slightly longer playing party style game.


Production Value

The cards of Pugs in Mugs are of lovely quality and in fact I can imagine some kids even wanting some of the artwork on their bedroom walls. The colours really stand out in the game and everything looks very good and feels well made.


Theme

As a set collection game, there is not too much here in the way of theme. The 'Dig' mischief card has players digging through the discard pile for their named colour or mischief card which is cute!


Complexity

I think this game is a good introduction to party games and could be played by younger players without too much trouble. The mischief cards do have some text on them to read and understand so this could be the restrictive factor when considering the age at which to introduce this to kids.


The most complicated thing I found was trying to remember if I had taken my second action of the turn! I think I must have played more party games with just one thing to do on your turn as it felt strange to be able to do two things. Also the 'Surprise' mischief card doesn't cost you an action so sometimes it could be a little confusing as to whether the player was done with their turn or not. This just requires a little communication though!

Rules

The rules are very easy to understand and you can easily get the game up and running within a couple of minutes. The box also includes some useful player aids (I love a good player aid!), so everyone can see the options they can take on their turn...and also reminds them of their hand size!

Uniqueness

I can't quite put my finger on it (probably because I don't dabble in party games very often), but this reminds me of a game I've played before. I don't think Pugs in Mugs is particularly unique or does anything new or spectacular, but where it could shine is if you have family members that are dog lovers, pug lovers or children that like to have a good laugh at some dogs doing silly antics.


Value

For the price, I think this could fit in a family's collection as an introduction into the wider world of board games or as an approachable game to bring out with younger players. I believe this game retails at £12 and I think this is pretty spot on.


A D6 die face showing three pips, each pip is the head of the Diary Of A Lincoln Geek mascot Ink the Imp

Overall, I would rate this game a three out of six as it is not my usual style and do think it lacks a little excitement and general 'umph', however can see it being a family staple in the right circumstances. 3/6


Written by Rhiannon


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