The Fast Pug is another of the original pugs I created when I first made the game. He’s moved back and forth between the concept of stealing cards and other people’s hands, until he’s arrived where he is today. Sometimes, rarely, a design is pretty solid from the get go and sometimes it hits the fantasy you’re looking for pretty quickly. With that said, let’s spend some time looking into what went into him and how we got to where we are. Let’s roll!
Part 1: Inspiration and Design
The real inspiration for the Fast Pug was Peach when she was a puppy. Probably more than just about any of the other pugs in the game, she loves to be the fast pug. Her absolute favorite game is tag, and she loves both chasing other people/dogs and being chased. Pugs are naturally not known for being very fast dogs (I’ve looked it up, they’re supposed to have a top speed of like 5 mph), but I know she’s absolutely breaking the 10 mph limit at the very minimum and might even be topping 15 mph. When she gets really excited she’ll grab leaves or a toy and then sprint full force in circles around you. It has to be one of her most adorable little mannerisms. Anyway, that’s the basis for the inspiration. As far as design goes, the Fast Pug originally could swap a card with another player before a card was revealed. Given there wasn’t much going on as far as decisions or counterplay goes there, I pivoted to trading hands with another player. Responses still found the ability pretty boring, and so when I transitioned to the every fourth round ability activation, I let the Fast Pug steal one card from every player. From there, it became steal a card from an opponent, but then give the opponent a card back. This was ok, and potentially would give players cards they didn’t want, but, again, players felt like they didn’t have much control and given you had to do it with every player ended up taking much longer than intended. Around this time we moved into the concept of treats, and the Fast Pug gained a new ability – steal a card from an opponent’s hand and if you have a similar type, play both cards. That’s been his ability since that point, with only a small adjustment for balance purposes in a larger game, giving him the ability to steal one card from all players. While that might sound crazy and super easy to match, in a larger game card values are generally reduced and given the cards the Fast Pug might be able to play are random, the reduced card value is about perfectly offset by the increase of landing a pair of cards. It was a nice little part of balance that I was happy to implement, especially as the Fast Pug was a little less exciting than many of the other pugs in a 4 player game.
Part 2: Tips and Tricks
The Fast Pug wants to steal cards from opponents and use the matching cards to get double value every time they play a treat. There are a few good pieces of knowledge you should keep in mind when playing a treat, though.
-Try to have a diverse hand when using a treat. If you have all disasters in your hand, the likelihood of matching something is heavily reduced (you have 3 disasters, there are only 3 disasters left in the game meaning you have, functionally, a 3/36 chance of someone else having a disaster and you grab it). Those are pretty terrible odds.
-On the flip side, having a trick and basic in your hand is usually a great plan. Those two card types make up more than half the cards in the game, and so stealing a card gives you a pretty decent shot at matching at least one of those things.
-In two player games you’ll want to err towards having more tricks in your hand when stealing as opposed to disasters, while the other way is true for 4 player games. Tricks are much more likely to fail with more cards on the board, while disasters are much more likely to be successful.
Although the Fast Pug can’t control exactly what they steal, they can successfully prep their hand before they steal a card and the pre-prep can go a really long way in ensuring success. If you love stealing cards and making matches, this pug is definitely for you!