WITH THE RETURN TO SCHOOL IN OUR AREA BEING ALL ONLINE, it came time to look to add a few children’s games to the RockyMountainNavy gaming shelves. This is because Mrs. RMN helps teach/care for several kids of her friends. Unlike the RMN Boys (youngest being 15) all her students are elementary-school age. Mrs. RMN also believes in the power of boardgaming as a needed escape from online classes. Somewhere I had seen Dig Dog Dig (Flying Meeple, 2019) so when the opportunity to purchase it presented itself I seized the moment.
Buying Dig Dog Dig was one of the best gaming purchases decisions I made this year to date. At least, that’s what Mrs. RMN says. [Pro boardgaming tip – if Wife approves then pay attention!]
Dig Dog Dig is a memory game. The theme of the game is that several dogs buried their toys in the yard and have to find them. Each hole in the yard is covered with a slotted tile. At the beginning of the game, players take turns hiding the toys of other dogs in the holes. Then players take turns moving their dog around the yard. They go from hole to hole and search. When the dogs search, they lift the cover of the space they are on and look to see what is underneath. If they find one of their toys they keep it. If they find another dog’s toys, they get to rehide it in that same row. If the hole only has your toys in it or is empty, the cover is removed from the game and all players can see that the hole is empty and will stay that way. Play continues until one dog finds all five of their toys.
We played Dig Dog Dig with the youngest of Mrs. RMN’s students, Little Miss A. Miss A is not a gamer although she has played Animal Upon Animal (Haba, 2005) and Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking (Haba, 2019). She likes both those games, but fine dexterity is not a strong trait so Animal Upon Animal can be hard and she doesn’t really grok the strategy behind Unicorn Glitterluck.
Even before we opened the Dig Dog Dig box, Miss A was intrigued. In great part this was because of not only the colorful cover art, but the fact that she, as an emergent reader working on her sight words, could read the title by herself! Dig. Dog. Dig. I cannot overstate how important that connection is; from the moment she looked at the game it was a game for her!
Second is the cute dog figures in Dig Dog Dig. The simple 3-d designs are easily recognizable, even by Miss A (who loves dogs). First game she just had to be the Husky!
The simple, quick gameplay of Dig Dog Dig also sold the game to her. As Mrs. RMN pointed out to me, gameplay requires absolutely no reading. It is also very intoxicating to search a hole, find your stuff, and then get to rehide others toys. Even the simple act of rehiding toys by dropping them like coins into a piggy bank is exciting, especially as you always do a double-take to make sure the owner of the toys is not cheating with barely closed eyes.
Like another children’s game we recently acquired, Mrs. RMN insisted that I give Dig Dog Dig a very high rating on BoardGameGeek. She insisted on rating the game not by what an adult thinks about it, but by what playing with a child is. I too enjoyed the game, although I will say that three-players is probably the best player count. At four-players the 12-space board feels awfully crowded!
Like Dragonimo, Mrs. RMN has ordered me to search out additional copies. I don’t know how many copies of Dig Dog Dig Flying Meeple published, but finding copies is a bit of a challenge. That’s too bad; Dig Dog Dig deserves a much wider audience as it is one of the few legitimately good games for younger children – and their parent’s too!
[Warning – Rant Follows: In researching this game, I made the mistake of looking at Tom Vassel’s Dice Tower review. Do yourself a favor – DON’T! I’m not even going to link it here because the condescending tone of voice so angers me. Hey, Tom! Remember those days you were a good family game reviewer? You have become such a game snob you can’t enjoy the simple pleasure of playing a game with a child. I would say that’s sad but your attitude is so offensive I have no empathy whatsoever for you.]