‘Dog Rush’: Tangled Tethers

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dog Rush cover

You’re just out taking your dog for a walk, when a rabbit zips by. Before you know it, several dogs have tangled up their leashes—can you figure out which leash is yours?

What Is Dog Rush?

Dog Rush is a speedy observation game for 2 to 6 players, ages 6 and up, and takes about 5 minutes to play. It retails for $9.99 and is available in stores now. The rules are simple enough that a 6-year-old can learn them, but I think generally older kids are going to have an advantage over younger kids, so some handicap rules may be helpful if you have a mixed group.

Dog Rush components
Dog Rush components. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Dog Rush Components

Here’s what comes in the box:

  • 6 Dogs on Leashes
  • 19 Bone tokens

The dogs are little wooden meeples—different colors and shapes—each attached to a vinyl cord with a wooden bead at the end. The bones are small cardboard tokens. Everything comes in a pocket-sized box that has a magnetic flap lid, along with a little rule sheet.

Although the dogs are different shapes, I think color-blind players would still be at a disadvantage because it may be hard to distinguish some of the meeple shapes if they don’t end up flat on the table. In that case, though, you could remedy this by marking the dogs with different patterns or letters.

How to Play Dog Rush

You can download a copy of the rulebook here.

The Goal

The goal of the game is to collect 4 bone tokens by correctly identifying the chosen leash.

Setup

Setup is simple: give each person 1 bone token, and then put the rest in a supply. The youngest player goes first.

Getting ready to drop the leashes
Getting ready to drop the leashes. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Gameplay

When it’s your turn, you pick up all the leashes together and hold them over the table. Then you call a color, and drop the leashes onto the table.

Dog Rush tangled dogs
The tangled mess. Which leash is attached to the blue dog? Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Everyone simultaneously tries to find the correct leash without touching anything. If you think you have the right leash, then you grab the bead, and everyone verifies if you have the right one or not. If you’re right, you earn a bone token. If you’re wrong, you lose a bone token. Either way, the round ends, and the next player picks up the leashes.

Game End

The game ends when somebody earns 4 bone tokens.

For a simpler variant for younger players, you can use 3 or 4 leashes instead.

Dog Rush looking for the leash
Looking for the leash. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Why You Should Play Dog Rush

I’ve played a number of games that involve speedy observation and quick reflexes, like Spot It! or Ghost Blitz (or the classic SET), and I tend to like them. They keep me on my toes, and they help kids practice reasoning and pattern recognition.

I’ve seen a number of games that involve following paths—usually lines on a board or a card—but Dog Rush is the first that uses the leashes to create 3D paths. As you can see from the photos, the leashes can get quite tangled up, so it can be difficult to figure out which leash goes to which dog. As it turns out, my 12-year-old is really good at it.

Dog Rush
Who has the right leash? Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The game is really portable, so it’s one that I took on our recent trip to Taiwan, where we were able to introduce it to my nephew and nieces as well. We didn’t end up with as much time for gaming as I’d anticipated, but Dog Rush only takes a few minutes to play anyway, and you can play just about anywhere. (Well, maybe not on a crowded subway.)

The downside is that, as with other skill-based games, some people are going to be better at others. I can try to compete with my 12-year-old (and usually lose), but my 6-year-old doesn’t really stand a chance against the two of us if we’re trying our best. I don’t know the best solution for this: perhaps give less-skilled players a head start in searching for the right leash, or raise the goal for players who tend to win.

searching for the leash
My 12-year-old spots the right leash again. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Despite the imbalance, though, my 6-year-old has still enjoyed playing Dog Rush with her older sister, and eventually she’ll probably be able to compete on a more even playing field as she gets older.

Dog Rush may not be my top quick observation game, but I like it for its portability and simplicity. Look for it at your local game store!


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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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