I don’t know about everyone else, but Peach loved digging into the garbage when she was a puppy. Any time you’d head to the bathroom, she would follow right along and immediately bolt for the trash and start pulling out tissues and paper towels. It must be something about her natural pug instincts, but, regardless, it was a source of inspiration for the Garbage Pug, a pug all about finding awesome treasure in unlikely places.
Part 1: Inspiration and Design
Well it’s pretty obvious a portion of the inspiration came from Peach digging through garbage, any chance she got. I don’t know what her fascination with it is, but every time I take out the trash she comes with me. Every time I go to the bathroom, she’s ready to sift through the garbage. And every time I put in a new bag for the trash can she’s right there, excited like crazy, ready for me to open it up and put it in the trash can. Why? I couldn’t tell you. The other portion that really inspired the concept was the Treasure Map from Dominion. For those that haven’t played Dominion, it’s a deck building game where players use cards to buy new, stronger cards, and then use those cards to eventually buy victory points. One of the cards in the game is called the Treasure Map, a card where if you are able to get two in your hand at the same time (your hand is constantly being discarded and re-shuffled) you can play both to earn a ton of gold (a card). Anyway, that was the basic concept for the Garbage Pug. I also wanted to implement something to do with the treat beyond just doubling it up (particularly if you had something like Land Speed Record), giving the player a decision about whether or not they’d like to play the treat immediately to get an impactful card or to wait until they were able to get a second one and earn a huge pay day. I really loved that decision and theme for the card, and from it’s introduction (as the first pug added to make it officially more than just 4 pugs) it has hardly changed. The only change it has received since conception was reducing the point gain from 5 points down to just 3 points. It’s also undergone a lot of wording tweaks because no matter how I worded it people always wanted to bury a treat and then play a treat and reveal the buried treat to use both at once. YOU DON’T NEED TO DO THIS! I mean you can if you want, but you’re just losing out on extra points because showing that second treat is a free move. I hope at this point it’s clear how it works, but new playtesters always seem to find new ways to play the game that never occurred to me. Hopefully I’ve got it ironed out at this point, though, and I haven’t had issues with it for a while.
Part 2: Tips and Tricks
The Garbage Pug has to choose between patiently waiting for that next treat to show up or playing the treat immediately to grab an impactful card. She’s great at making a huge play (consistently scoring more points than just about anyone), but she also needs to know when to hold a treat, when to use it, and what to dig for.
-Don’t dig for treats ever. Digging for a treat removes a treat from your hand to get you… a treat. Digging for literally anything else can be worthwhile, and, while most players picked this up immediately (or after doing it once), it’s worth mentioning here.
-Specifically, digging for adventures is a great use of the secondary ability. Although you’re sacrificing a turn to get the adventure, adventures are usually powerful enough to offset the loss of a turn to get it.
-Digging for Land Speed Record, in particular, is a pretty cool combo. If you play Land Speed Record while you have a treat, the Land Speed Record is discarded and when the time comes for your treat to resolve, you can put the Land Speed Record right back in your hand. Basically, a treat and a Land Speed Record means you get to play Land Speed Record twice. If you’re lucky, you’ll draw a second treat as well and get to do it all over again, although it’s extremely rare.
-Generally, save the early treats and use them for the big point gain early, but use the secondary part as you near the end. If you know what’s in the deck, it can be a great move to get the extra points from the two treats early, then use the secondary ability to finish off a game quickly. It might suck to wait for that second treat to come up, but, generally, that’s going to be the best way to win. You just get more value from playing two treats than from doing any other move you could possibly do with the treats, short of winning the game.
The Garbage Pug is one of my favorite thematic creations and for a long time was my favorite theming on a pug in the game (until I made the Cute and Brave Pugs). I still think the theme is on point and I love the different play style you get, patiently waiting then scoring the big play. Digging through the discard pile is always a bundle of fun too, especially when you get to decide which of the awesome cards you want just for yourself. If that all sounds great to you, try out the Garbage Pug next chance you get!