Most Saturday mornings, I volunteer at the local animal shelter, socializing puppies so they are more adoptable and family-ready. When I come home, I post pics of the puppies I work with under the hashtag #pupdate on Twitter.
Naturally, I've been asked many times if I'll ever turn the #Pupdate into a card game, but the theme has always been a challenge to me. You may recall I was working on a dog-themed game over a year ago and never fully settled on the theme. Should it be about individual dog training? Should it be about operating the shelter as a whole? In the end, I decided to make it more about "matchmaking," in the sense of finding the right home for a dog.
Here are some ruff outlines of where the game is presently.
It's a trick-taking deck building game. Cards in your hand represent waiting homes eager to adopt a pup. While in your hand, you only look at the suit and rank. You can ignore everything else on the card.
Once you adopt puppies, you can either put them in your hand (representing a happy family referring another family to your services) or into your score pile (representing the overall success of your services). If you take cards into your hand, you must discard extras.
Thus, there is a little bit of a "deck-building" element: A card in hand is useful as a currency while the score pile is actually how you win. Let's take a look at how puppies can score points. You can also try to win puppies because they synergize well with dogs you've already adopted out (or dogs you will put up for adoption later).
Forgive the crudeness of my sketches. I've been sick with con crud.