Games: Odd Dog (Mod)

(pic from
(pic from


Odd Dog is a rule modification for the original board game Dog. The mod was inspired by "Challenges for Game Designers" by Brenda Brathwaite, as well as practical needs that became evident after several gaming sessions.




Dog has some similarities with pachisi but there are some important differences that give it much more depth:


  • Movement is not determined by rolling dice, but by using one of a set of (random) cards, that you're given at the beginning of each phase. This allows for more strategic gameplay. Some cards also have special functions, such as allowing you to move backwards or exchanging two pawns' positions.
  • It is team-based (2 or 3 pairs), both where the win conditions are concerned, as well as in allowing team interaction and manoeuvres. Most importantly, at the beginning of each phase, team-members must exchange one of the cards they have been dealt. E.g. one player might hand his team-mate the card he will need to leave the starting zone, or devour an opponent's pawn.


Design Goal for Odd Dog

The design goal and main challenge was to maintain the core mechanics and dynamics of the original game while allowing for odd player numbers (3 or 5 as well as the original's 4 or 6). This way, Dog can be played no matter how many friends you have over! :)


Odd Dog "Teams"
Odd Dog "Teams"

Odd Dog

a) 5 players

Basically, the modified rules turn the team-based game into one of dynamically changing alliances. There are now various ways of winning, either alone, or sharing victory with others.


You still exchange cards (this time with both players across from you) and thus can influence what will happen on someone else's turn. Your "teammates" have slightly different win conditions from yours, though, so some times they will help you, other times you will want to give them bad cards.


Test rounds have proven to be a lot of fun, with some crazy situations emerging from the modified rule system.


b) 3 players

In this variation, everyone exchanges one card with everyone else. Only one player can win, but the card exchange allows the players to change their opponents options and form temporary alliances against the currently winning player.


Both variations also introduce some balance changes/improvements.

download the detailed rules here:

Dog and Odd Dog Rules.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 213.4 KB