Shiba Inu loves sitting on top of the dog house, dreaming of pork chops and more pork chops. Shiba Inu also dreams of a new dog house. Shiba Inu House is a game of pattern recognition and tile laying that’s fast-paced and frantic. You don’t want fail your dog! Who’s a good doge?
At a glance
Shiba Inu House is a game from Renegade Game Studios for 1-5 players, aged six and up and plays in 15-30 minutes. It makes its way to store shelves today and retails for $20.00.
45 Shiba Inu cards (five sets of nine cards, one for each player)
10 Level 1 Dog House cards
15 Level 2 Dog House cards
15 Level 3 Dog House cards
5 Scoring cards
45 point markers in three denominations
The cards are good quality and decorated with fun patterns and vibrant colors. The artwork is playful and you can’t help but smile at the dogs. Each Shiba Inu card has a roof with a dog on it, located at the bottom center, and two lower halves of the dog houses in the upper corners. Each side of the cards has a unique dog on it, either sleeping, playing, or daydreaming of pork chops. The cards are two-sided, with different designs on each side, and cards all have icons at the bottom to differentiate between player sets.
The Dog House Cards present one to three complete Shiba Inu houses, depending on the level being played. A Dog House card presents the goal to player, beginning with the dog, the roof color and the colors and patterns of the walls of the dog house. The scoring cards are equally bright and cheerful with the place on the front and the points awarded on the back — the more points you score, the more (and better) food your dog gets. Finally, there is an abundance of scoring markers, 140 points worth.
How to Play
Each player gets nine cards with the same symbol on them (dog house, bowl, paw, ball, or bone). Each set is identical and the symbol just helps to separate the sets. Depending on the number of players, some Dog House Cards might be removed before being shuffled and arranged by level. Set the Scoring Cards beneath the three piles of Dog House cards.
You’re now ready to play.
Each player begins with a level one Dog House Card, which are all flipped at the same time. Players then frantically try to replicated the house on their Dog House Card, using their Shiba Inu House Cards. The dog on the roof must match, as well as the color, pattern, and orientation of the house’s walls. The first player to complete their task grabs the highest ranking Scoring Card, the second, the next Scoring Card, and so on.
Some dog houses have portions of their walls on the same card as the roofs. Make sure you match these up or you’ll lose your points! Other houses just show the roofs on a card and can have different walls. Pay attention because slow recognition, one poorly placed card, or missing a solution will mean the difference between lots of pork chops and just a bone.
Cards may be placed either horizontally, matching the orientation of the card with the roof on it, or, for walls, vertically. (See photo example.) In fact, to match some Dog House Cards, the walls must be placed vertically to match the demanded dog house.
When everyone is complete, players should check their opponents’ cards to make sure the dog house was built correctly. Incorrectly built houses lose their Scoring Cards. After the check, players take back their Shiba Inu House Cards, exchange their Scoring Cards for Point Markers, and take another card from the current level of Dog House Cards. If the current level is exhausted, move up to the next level with more dog houses and more challenge!
The game lasts eight rounds (regardless of number of players) and the player with the most points wins.
Why You Should Play
Shiba Inu House isn’t a deep game, but it sure is a fun one. When I first broke it out at a game night, I pulled three different games from my bag, all new, and not on shelves. Shiba Inu House is the only one that got everyone’s interest — and not just with an “I want to play that” buzz, but bouncing up and down in their seats and squealing “SHIBA INU!” So the theme is a great one and the game is pretty good too.
The puzzle of deciphering what’s needed, quickly shuffling through your set, examining front and back for the right cards that fit the solution, assembling your dog house, double-checking your work, and grabbing a scoring card before your opponents finish is a real rush. Plus, all of it combines to make for a more complex game than the simplicity of its rules suggest. It all makes for a very good time.
Every collection needs a number of short games to play, either to break out while you’re waiting for people to show up, as an appetizer to warm your group up, to play between bigger games, or just for when you don’t have time for a full blown hour or two game. Shiba Inu House fits the bill nicely.
The game plays out with two rounds of a single house (to warm you up) before three rounds each of two and three houses. It moves very quickly, which is fine because just when you finish, you’ll want to take another crack at the game. Shiba Inu House is available beginning today.
Disclosure: GeekDad was sent a sample of this game for review purposes.