Brown Dog Statue

Brown Dog Statue

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Brown Dog Statue
Designer: Josh Hadley
Players: 8-10
Stuff required: A box of about 100 toy animals / animal tokens. Name and role cards. A brown dog statue. 7 mats. A single dice.
Crew required: one narrator
Preparation: 5 minutes
Time required: 30 minutes, hopefully
Place required: a room
Activities: bluffing, deduction, counting.
Discuss this game
This is an untested game. Its rules are written, but it hasn't been tested out yet.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

Each player starts with 3-5 toy animals. The goal of all of the anti-vivisectionists is to release their animals into the wild. The goal of all medical students is to covertly dissect their animals for science. Each player also has a personal goal which they can openly or covertly prosecute.


Each player draws a role card and a name card.

The role card will say whether the player is an anti-vivisectionist or medical student, and should be kept secret. The exception will be the Animal Liberator, who must reveal themselves immediately. The Animal Liberator is an anti-vivisectionist; their role doubles as their name card, so they should not draw one.

The name cards have various roles – for example, the Anarchist, the Suffragette, the Member of Parliament. These are somewhat for roleplaying flavour, but also contain personal goals – for example, the Suffragette will want to end the game with more animals in front of her than the Member of Parliament; the Anarchist will pick a player at the beginning of the game, at random, and will aim to have the exact same number of animals at the end as that player; etc etc.

Finally, in the middle of the table will be a large statue of a brown dog. At the beginning of the game it will be on a mat with a big 0 (zero) on it; there will also be three mats (labelled 1, 2 and 3) pointing from the dog towards the Animal Liberator. There are then three other cards (-1, -2 and -3) heading in the opposite direction.


Each player starts by introducing themselves in character. At this point they can chose to disclose their mission or not, or lie, as they wish.

Each round is split into two halves.

Part 1

In the first part, each player may publicly dispose of any number of their animals. They do so by placing them (ostentatiously, and with loud protestations about how much they hope that their animals are to be well-treated) in a cup in front of them, which the narrator then gathers, mixes well, and sorts them into one of two areas – one representing green fields upon which the liberated animals will gambol and hop, and the other representing the clinical laboratories in which the animals will be tormented… in the name of science. Smart players will observe how many animals are in area a, and how many in area b, and draw their conclusions thus.

Part 2

The second part can take one of two forms.

In the default case, the players can take it in turns to perform one of several actions. The first player to perform such an action shifts one space to the left each round; the person to start the round is referred to as the “firebrand” for reasons that will become clear.

The actions that a player can perform are as follows:

• Attack another player’s facility. The player can assign the animals in front of them to attack another player. If there are more attacking animals than that player has in defence, the attacker may take one of the defender’s animals.

• Assign defenders. Animals may be assigned to defend against attacking players.

• Rustle animals. The player may roll a dice to gain 1-3 more animals (based on a dice roll), provided that there are still animals in the pot. Medical students secretly take their animals from the liberated animal pile rather than the pot; in practice, they take their extra animals from the pot and the balance is corrected by the narrator at the end of the turn. Animals gained in this way cannot be assigned to attack or defence this turn.

Each of these actions must be done in turn, except for assigning defenders – this can be done reflexively, so if a player who has already moved has animals left over, or a player who has not yet moved, is attacked, then they can use their spare animals to defend themselves.

A player with 1 animal may not be made the target of attack. They may rustle animals if they wish, or may attack one other player for free, automatically succeeding.


However, instead of all of this taking place, the firebrand can declare a riot. In order to do so, they specify another player to be the target of the riot and put a number of animals of their choice next to the statue of the dog. First, the Animal Liberator must announce whether they oppose or support the riot. The other players then, each in turn, declare their allegiance, either to the firebrand or the target of the riot, adding animals as they see fit to either side (although each player of course keeping track of how many animals they have contributed).

Once all players have declared an interest and committed their animals, the side with the largest total of committed animals wins. Each player who contributed animals to the winning side may take one animal from a player on the opposing side of their choice. Again, a player with only one animal may not be made a target in this way.

The dog statue

If the Animal Liberator chose to be part of the winning side, the dog statue moves one space towards them. If they were on the losing side, it moves one space away. If the dog statue is on the mat marked 3, then the medical students can no longer rustle liberated animals – they must take from the pot like anyone else. If the dog statue ends up on the mat marked -3, then the anti-vivisectionists must take their animals from the liberated animal pile as well.


The game lasts for as many rounds as there are players, i.e. everyone has one turn at being the firebrand. After the last turn, there is one last Part 1, allowing players to free or vivisect their remaining animals as they wish.

Following this, the scores are tallied. Each team gains 1 point per animal in their area, plus 3 points for every player who achieved their personal goal.