Hello again to everybody out there! We’re back this week to continue our post about me, Pug Life, and our blog. We covered a lot about who I am, my love of games, and what I’ve done to improve myself as a designer, but I want to spend this post talking a bit about the game beyond the more quick description you can find on the official Pug Life page. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
Let’s talk a bit about where the idea for this game came from. You can find a bit of this in Our Story, but I want to expand on what made me think this was a good idea in the first place. Outside of the absolute love my fiancee has for pugs, we both love dogs pretty heavily. This, I think, is a pretty common sentiment around the world because dogs generate lasting memories. They’re our best friends. They help us get through the best times and the worst times, whether it’s getting a dream job or finding a partner for life, to having your heart broken or losing someone close to you. Dogs are always there, always consistent, always wanting to make people just feel better. They are incredible emotional support, and they bring joy to anyone who builds on that relationship and lets it grow into something beautiful. Capturing that essence was a huge part of what made me want to make this game; that loving relationship between a dog and their human is a special, exceptional bond that I (and many others) treasure.
In a lot of ways, I think pugs exemplify this relationship. Let’s be real – they’re a bit of a disaster. They can hardly breathe, they can barely walk, they’re top speed isn’t much more than a brisk walk for most people, they’re extremely greedy eaters and therefore tend to be fairly overweight, they have pretty horrible intestinal fortitude, and, yet, people love pugs. Pugs are the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met. They love being around people, and they have a plethora of personality. They don’t want anything more than to be around their humans, eat, sleep, and play. They just love the relationship they have with their people, and that love they have for us is felt just as strongly back. Because of this, pugs seemed like the optimal choice.
With that in mind, I began to plan out the game. I settled on a card game because I wanted something quick and easy, the same way it’s quick and easy for someone to fall in love with their own pug. I wanted it to be all about the three core tenets of living the pug life – eating, sleeping, and playing. Any pug that is successfully getting all of those three things is extremely happy. I then began laying out cards and ideas for this, creating cards that would allow players to earn these points. From eating pizza to sleeping in that one spot where the sun shines, each card should be something that reminds you of a special moment with your pug. Trick cards and disasters were also introduced pretty quickly, as they provided some variation to the structure of the game, and allowed players to interact with others, and also go for bigger, riskier plays. As I wanted players to individually have a unique feel (as owning any one pug is different from owning another), I introduced unique abilities and allowed them to be activated by giving your pug a treat. Lastly, I wanted to really create interesting decisions and interactions, albeit from a more design oriented perspective, with adventures. These really shake up the game and allow for players to make extremely interesting decisions.
All in all, there are a two important things that should come out when playing the game. One, thematics should be stellar. Players should feel completely engaged by the cards and feel of the game as they play. It should really feel like you’re giving your pug some bacon, teaching them a trick, or dealing with smelly farts for a couple turns. They should invoke memories of your own dog when you play the game. Two, the game should have a ton of replayability, primarily driven through the uniqueness of the pug abilities and different styles of play they require. Decisions should be constantly evolving, and those decisions should grow deeper and more complex as the game progresses. Additionally, dependent on the number of players, the game should be wildly different in execution. It wasn’t until I felt absolutely positive these things are clearly present and applicable that I finally began looking into production of this game, which is why we’re here now.
I hope this helps shed some insight into what really went into creation of the game, and why I chose some of the major concepts involved in the game. While I know pugs can be rather volatile, I think that pure love of dogs really shines through with them representing the game. Tell me about your special moments with your dog, whether it’s a great moment, a moment where your dog helped you get through a tough time, or a moment where you knew you loved your dog and your dog loved you! That’s all I’ve got for now, and we’ll continue with one last part about the future of the blog within the next week.