The Curious Pug was one of the first “new age” pugs I put into the game. When I first created the game I had four set pugs: the Smart Pug, the Strong Pug, the Cute Pug, and the Fast Pug. The Cute Pug was a complete disaster when I first made it, and I ended up completely removing it from the pool of pugs. In its place, I created the Curious Pug, a pug all about exploring. So let’s dig into a little history.
Part 1: Inspiration and Design
The Curious Pug was mostly inspired (unsurprisingly) by my pug, Peach. She was only a puppy at the time (about 6 months old) and so was constantly fascinated by just about everything she ran into. The absolute worst habit she had was running up to cigarette butts and trying to eat them, something we had to train her out of very quickly because of how it impacted her stomach. Needless to say, sometimes her curiosity led right to disasters. Anyway, the original pitch for the Curious Pug was looking at an opponent’s hand. Now, keeping in mind that pugs used to be able to activate their ability once a turn, this meant that the Curious Pug in a two player game literally knew their opponent’s hand permanently, certainly driving decisions out of the game. In the spirit of fixing the pug ability power (for all pugs), I made it so you could only access the ability once every 4th round but could instead look at all opponent’s cards. This of course fell flat (and was exceedingly boring), so we transitioned into a “scrying” method (for those that have played Magic); the player would get to draw the top four cards, keep one, then put the remaining three back on top. Essentially this allowed the Curious Pug to in a roundabout way know the cards in other people’s hands and, additionally, take a card that would fit well. Of course, at this point I realized the pug abilities just weren’t working in the current format and I transitioned into the treat based concept that we have now.
The first pitch was “The Art of Discovery” where the Curious Pug would play the top card of the deck, then guess a card type. If the card type guessed matched the next card pulled, the player would get to keep that card and try guessing again. Essentially, the player was being asked to consistently guess whatever the next card would be. This was fairly similar to the Smart Pug at the time, but quite a bit harder to pull off. The difficulty made it so unfeasible to have success, that we eventually increased the number to guessing the type of any of the next two cards; this still wasn’t working.
I put this one of the backburner for a while, though, and instead transitioned to other things – primarily the Brave, Cute, and Mischief Pugs at the time. One of the pitches for the Brave Pug arose while Savannah and I were out eating lunch – pulling cards from the top of the deck and continuing to pull until you hit something bad. If you pulled it off, you got to keep all your cards, and if you didn’t you lost all of them. While it was neat for the Brave Pug in the “daredevil” theme, it didn’t hit the support feels I wanted (and discussed in my other post). At the same time, I was pretty down on the Curious Pug and so after some internal discussions and talking to a few friends, we settled on moving that ability to the Curious Pug. It functioned fairly similarly, but simplified the rule and seemed prone to making significantly more exciting plays. The only major addendum to the Curious Pug at that point was transitioning from keeping all tricks to keeping all basics and adventures – a way to provide a little more consistency to the power instead of the more volatile tricks.
Part 2: Tips and Tricks
The Curious Pug is quite capable of making some pretty splashy plays, but he has to learn to be cautious. People who like to gamble and try to make good predictions about the future fit very well into this pug’s style.
-The Curious Pug has to be very careful about disasters. Although there are only six in the deck, they come up far more often than most people seem to expect. Be ready to bail after 1-2 successful cards and don’t try to get stuff like 4+
-This is especially true for adventures. If you pull an adventure, you should definitely consider stopping at that point. Adventures have a solid average value, and so only getting one adventure is still usually worthwhile.
-Be aware of the board. If you pull one basic sleeping card, but you know an opponent has a sleeping trick, consider stopping. You might not as much as you would hope, but now you’ve for sure stopped your opponent from earning those two sleeping points.
-For opponents, be aware of this treat. Playing disasters on the Curious Pug can be beneficial, especially if you think they’re going to play a treat the next turn. Since the Curious Pug has a little less control over cards that get played as compared to others, the Curious Pug is a solid target for disasters.