As a dog, you have a couple things your passionate about. One of those things is hiding your owner’s stuff! Canine Kleptomaniacs is a card game about this very topic.
In the Mind of a Dog
Each player takes on the role of a dog trying to hide sets of items that you find in a Collection deck. You’ll find things like old socks, slippers, underwear, and even dirty diapers. The goal is to stash these items under your dog bed and get the most points. Each item has a point value assigned to it, and players have to hide these items in sets of tw0 or more.
Sometimes the opportunity to go into the “Master’s Bedroom” presents itself. This is where the most valuable items are stored. A single item from the bedroom could be worth 20 or 30 points if you’re lucky.
At its core, Canine Kleptomaniacs is a silly and cute party game. Once we understood the amount of chance that was present in the game, I think it helped us to better understand what this game is all about.
Players will take an action card on their turn, which can give them collection items that will go into their hand, or maybe give them a special action to perform. You’ll be collecting, losing and taking cards from other players. Revealing the Master’s Bedroom Key will give you a chance to roll the die with a 50% chance that you get a card from this coveted stack of goodies. Every player is hunting to get sets of items and trying to stay away from the “Poo Pizza”. As you probably guessed, this card will give you negative points.
A Place to Hide Your Stash
In order to hide your sets of stolen items, your dog will need a bed to hide it under. Each player starts the game with a single Hiding Place. Since each bed can only hold one item type, you’ll need to find more Hiding Places if you hope to collect multiple sets of items. Dog beds show up randomly in the Action deck as the game advances.
One way to offset this random draw is by using the trade mechanic in the game. Players can choose to trade with others at the table. There aren’t many restrictions on this from the rulebook. Honestly, if I wanted to offer my son a single hiding spot for him doing the dishes, it’s a totally legal trade. You obviously have the right to decline a trade if you feel like it’s not in your best interest. I could see this part of the game getting crazy depending on the people you play with.
During our time with Canine Kleptomaniacs, I found us enjoying the game at larger player counts more. When playing with 4 or 5 players, I found the game moved quicker and there were more options for making trades if I struggled to get something I needed. At 3 players it was OK, though it felt like the game dragged a little bit.
After writing this preview, the creator shared that the gameplay was modified so players can choose a shorter length game. There are also a couple adjustments that make the game lean more into strategic hand management along with half a dozen new cards. These are all positive changes in my opinion.
While the game plays well with kids and adults, some of the items you collect may not be a good fit for some families. Parents should know going in that players can collect lace underwear and dirty diapers during the course of the game. As a parent, this is a call that you need to make.
Canine Kleptomaniacs is a cute party game that relies a lot on luck with a trading mechanic thrown in. If this sounds like a game that would be a good fit for your gaming group or family, you can find Canine Kleptomaniacs on Kickstarter now through mid-August 2019.
Matt Jones provided us with a prototype copy of Canine Kleptomaniacs prior to the Kickstarter campaign. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game. Previews are a glimpse into an upcoming game with the pros and cons that we experienced prior to production of the game.