Finding Joy in Dog Park: A Game All About the Good Dogs

Oct 26, 2023 | Sessions | 6 comments

Find all sorts of adorable dogs to take for delightful walks in the calm, relaxing world of the outdoors in Dog Park.

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last brought Dog Park to my solo table! This is a simply wonderful game all about dogs. But it’s very clear that this isn’t about collecting dogs. Rather, the goal is to succeed as a dog walker by finding ability synergies and winning group awards… Yet I think the winning strategy is to go after maximum cuteness!

Game Overview

Game Name: Dog Park
Publication Year:
 Lottie Hazell and Jack Hazell
 Kate Avery, Holly Exley, and Dann May
Publisher: Birdwood Games
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game

Gameplay moves very quickly over a total of 4 days. A staggering amount of unique dog breeds may be found here! With an interesting and simple bidding mechanic, dogs join the home board and prepare to head out on walks through the park. It’s fun and absolutely adorable!

A Simply Lovely Space to Pick Out Dogs to Walk in Dog Park

First Play

November 14, 2022



Latest Play

October 21, 2023



Setup Time

5 Minutes

Lifetime Plays


Play Time

30 Minutes


High Score



Game Area

40" x 22"


Low Score


Fantastic Artwork

The art style here is simply wonderful. Some dogs might not look exactly like the specific image we each have of the breed, yet I haven’t seen one I don’t love. Dawgies!

With over 200 breeds represented, it’s all about the dogs! I’ve spotted ones that remind me of the dogs in my life, both past and present. Just so lovely to look at.

I’ll add that although the base game includes purebreds, an expansion with mixes and rescues is coming!

Give me tiny puppies in the future, and this is guaranteed to be my favorite dog-themed game in the world. Ha ha!

The Fantastic Artwork of All Sorts of Unique Dogs Present in Dog Park

Great Resources

If the dogs aren’t enough, the resources themselves are simply fun. Balls, sticks, treats, and toys make up the requirements to take the various dogs on walks.

That little smiling octopus has to be the cutest thing out there! I do love games that are about feeling cozy and happy, so it’s no surprise that this one clicked with me.

Gameplay is also quick and breezy. Plenty of decisions are present, along with a variety of difficulty levels.

But the worst-case scenario is a group of dogs and a low score. I don’t consider that much of a loss at all!

Some of the Cutest Resources Possible for the Canines of Dog Park

Leashed Up

Being able to take dogs out on walks is essential, and collar tokens mark the walked dogs. I didn’t manage to take out the Maremma Sheepdog this time. Demanding!

Walks are the main way to generate the resources to walk other dogs. A lot of abilities chain together to provide even more resources, which can be quite helpful.

However, a lot of dog abilities have to do with end-game scoring. There are challenging choices of who to pick!

Nothing about the game is terribly novel, aside from the artwork, yet it really works well and plays smoothly.

The Final Assortment of Happily Walked Dogs in Dog Park

Walking for the Day

The dog walker meeples are enormous and pretty great! Although they tend to fall over a little too easily, I just use that as an excuse to say the dogs pulled too hard. Ha!

Not a lot of variety is present in this step, and this might be the weakest part of the game. Still, I like how it’s a pretty calm phase that doesn’t involve too much thinking.

However, later rounds often involve careful decisions about swapping out dogs. Never a dull moment here.

I had to maneuver around the pair of solo opponents a few times, losing reputation a few times. Oh, dog walkers!

A Simple Walk Along the Paths of Dog Park

The Simplicity of a Game That Brings Smiles

What does this game do so well? It makes me smile. Literally. Just looking at the box art brings me happiness! At the same time, it isn’t one of my favorites simply because I like how it looks. The mechanics complement the joyful art in a way that keeps it all adorable. These dogs are here to look cute without any pressure or stress.

This is also a good example of a solo game I love that misses the mark on one of my favorite elements: A strong narrative. I mean… I’m walking these dogs? Ha ha! Yet it’s still one I love because it provides a very strong emotional reaction. It’s not trying to be this giant, complicated thing hidden beneath cute dogs… The cute dogs are the game!

Session Overview

Play Number: 13 & 14
Expansion 1: Dog Park: European Dogs Expansion
Expansion 2: Dog Park: Famous Dogs Expansion
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Intermediate Difficulty Level
Outcome: 46 & 59 (2 Wins)

Such a great time! My second attempt saw me fall just shy of my current goal of 62 victory points at the intermediate difficult level. So close! I learned some more strategies, saw a lot of new dogs, and had myself a grand ol’ time. No bones about it… This is a solo game I completely love!

The Absolute Joy of Putting Together a Group of Adorable Dogs in Dog Park


10 Plays


Price & Value



Challenges & Mechanics



Design & Theme



Components & Rules



Achievement & Enjoyment



Distinctness & Randomness


+ Pros (Positives)

  • All of the dogs are unique, which doesn’t necessarily mean all different abilities, yet the visuals are adorable.
  • Gameplay moves along quickly and smoothly without a lot of excitement, yet this maintains the calm atmosphere.
  • Resources provide the important ways of planning which dogs to walk, and the wooden tokens are very cute.
  • Choices aren’t always as obvious as they might seem with bids, group rewards, abilities, and synergies to think of.
  • Important information is easy to spot at a glance with the different color schemes and group names on every card.
  • Various difficulty levels allow the game experience to be a simple walk in the park, or more of a major challenge.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • The amount of required table space feels extra large for what the game offers, courtesy of an oversized board.
  • Some luck is required to pick up dogs with abilities that work together, and missing out can lead to low scores.
  • Certain components, like the collar and location tokens, feel a little out-of-place among the wooden resources.
  • With so many cards, the stack is rather unruly and requires a multi-stack approach to shuffle properly.

More Dog Park

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Victory Conditions

Complete the Objective

  • Overall Goal Progress 50% 50%

Goals and Milestones


Score at least 62 points at the novice difficulty.


Score at least 62 points at the intermediate difficulty.

Continue the Conversation

What do you like about Dog Park? Have you had any interesting ability combinations? I discovered some neat strategies with earning more reputation throughout the game and giving up on the expensive group awards… Seems like I’m on the right path! This one is simply delightful, lovely, and joyful to get to my table, and I look forward to playing again!


  1. Funny how many games decide to provide a mix of cardboard tokens and plastic ones. Lost Ruins of Arnak is the same way and I have encountered other ones that did the same.

    Wingspan, Ark Nova and many others have huge stacks of cards. It’s fun, albeit not very practical to manipulate for sure.

    Glad this game clicked for you !

    • It’s definitely something to note with the mix of components! I remember the days when cardboard tokens were the standard, and I almost prefer the uniform appearance to having just a subset upgraded. Not the end of the world, but still something of note.

      The trend of having huge stacks of cards definitely continues! I love the variety, too, but I tend to spend a lot more time carefully shuffling multiple stacks to ensure I give every card a chance of showing up. Ha ha!

      I’m glad I loved this game, too! So cozy and happy!

  2. Some are multi tasking. I am multi stacking in that kind of games. I shuffle only a portion of the whole stack goe one play.

    • The only reason I don’t do this is because I love all the cards too much and want to give them an equal chance of showing up during each play… Completely silly of me with the way the deck is balanced, but one of my little solo gaming quirks! Ha ha!

  3. Just played this game this week! Soo cute!

    And yeah, that big stack of cards. I sleeved them in slippery matte Gamegenic and then proceeded to have them all slip to the floor. Oops!

    • Sleeved cards can have a mind of their own! Perhaps, this was the game’s attempt to teach you how adorable dogs can be… And also messy. Ha ha! Hope your stack doesn’t fly all over again anytime soon!


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