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Dungeon Petz: An heavyweight pet shop from hell


Vlaada Chvátil is a famous game designer for a simple reason : he created some of the most amazing brain-burrning experiences in the board game world.
From Through The Ages to Galaxy Trucker to Dungeon Lords to Bunny, Bunny, Moose, Moose, his designs have continued to break new ground, introduced new mechanisms, and universally provided thoughtful, fun game experiences that stick with you long after the games are over.

And Dungeon Petz is no exception.

In Dungeon Petz, Chvatil's sequel to Dungeon Lords, you manage a group of imps that were recently displaced when their dungeons were destroyed by heroes in the previous game, leaving them without jobs. With their limited skills, the imps band together and open a monster pet shop, hoping to achieve fame and glory and a bit of profit selling their pets to the few dungeon lords that still remain in business. Of course, all the imps from the other decimated dungeons decided to do the exact same thing, and now the imps are not only competing to sell pets to the dungeon lords, but they are also competing against each other to see who has the best pets (because that's what imps do).

During the game, you will buy baby pets and raise them for sale and exhibition. Being baby pets, they won't always do what you want, or what you expect. You'll just have to provide for their various needs as best you can. You will buy cages for them, provide them with food, install toys in their cages, clean up poop, more poop, and piles of poop. Or not (your choice). You will defend your cages against pets throwing tantrums and trying to escape (be prepared for the occasional hospital visit). Some pets will try to play with dangerous magic and accidentally grow themselves an extra set of eyes, or an extra tail. And some pets just get depressed when there is no one to play with them. Pets are complicated creatures. And they grow fast. It's probably best if you put in the time and learn about them now while they are little, because when your pets age they get hungrier, more fearsome, and far more demanding. In the game, you can buy books about your pets to learn their inner-most secrets (What To Expect When You Are Expecting Poop). There are a lot of things you can buy: long shovels for cleaning, um, stuff... you get it; whips to encourage the exhibition judges to vote your way; and even magical armor that your imps can use when defending against outbursts and the occasional fit of magical experimentation.

And just when you grow attached to your pets, learn how to care for them, and start to respect them as individuals, you'll throw them on stage and make them compete in shallow exhibitions against each other to see which pets are the meanest, hungriest, and poopiest. And then you'll sell them. Just like that. For one gold nugget if you can. Or less, if it helps your bottom line. From infant to family pet to exhibition to sale, a gold nugget for you, and a life of servitude to horrific dungeon lords for them. Such is the life of a pet.

If any of this sounds fun, then Dungeon Petz is the game for you!
But beware : it's not a light game.

You can see it in action by clicking this link, if you dare:

This is a worker placement, blind bidding and card management game. The game play flows together very nicely if you are able to accept that you can not plan everything. And that's part of the charm.

We would like to thank the team behind Czech Games, Vladaa Chvatil, and all of the game testers.
There would be no games on BGA without the help of developers, and oh... what a humongous work has been done here by our fantastic dev, Victoria_La, who worked on this monster of a game for weeks.

So now, you have two possible choices: Play it, or pass.
But you have to know that there are two kinds of humans in the world:
The ones who have played this game, and the others...

And about expansions?
(we see you)
Like any games on BGA: if the game is played by many people, they will come ;)
05/05/2021 25 comments

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