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Dog game rules

There are different sets of rules. Here I will explain my favorite one:

The game begins. The players sitting opposite eachother are team mates; thus Jesse and Sonja play together and Simone and Peter play together.
Object of the game:

The first team with all marbles lined up in the goal wins.

Peter must move his marbles from his home to the starting-bench and from there counterclockwise around the board into his goal.
Now I will give an example, how the game could develop:
Jesse deals the cards. He gives each player 6 cards.
Each player passes one card face down to his team mate. A player may not look at the card passed to him until he himself has passed a card away to his team mate.
The game begins.
1.) Peter shows an ace from his hand and puts it into the pool. He moves one of his marbles from his home to his starting-bench.
2.) Sonja plays a king and also moves a marble to her starting-bench..
3.) Simone has neither an ace, a king nor a joker. She can not move and must put all her 6 cards into the pool.
4.) Jesse plays an ace and leaves home.
1.) Peter plays a 10 and moves his marble 10 steps forward.
2.) Sonja plays a 4. A 4 may be used to move either forward or backward. Sonja moves her marble 4 steps backward. That puts her just 5 steps away from her goal saving her from having to go all around the board..
3.) Jesse plays an 8.
1.) Peter plays an eleven (Swiss: Junge) which forces him to exchange his marble with another marble. He exchanges his marble with the green marble. That brings his marble much closer to his goal.
2.) Sonja plays a 6 and moves her marble into her goal.
1.) Jesse plays a 3.
2.) Peter plays a queen. That fits precisely.
3.) Sonja plays an ace and starts a new marble.
1.) On her last move Sonja moved a marble from home to the starting-bench. As long as she leaves her marble there her starting-bench blocks all other marbles from passing. Jesse doesn't have a card small enough to move without beeing blocked (a 2 for example). He also has no king to start a new marble and no 4 to move backward. Therefore he has to put his remaining cards in the pool.
Note: Sonja's marble on her starting-bench also blocks her own marbles from passing.
Note: A marble only blocks other marbles when it has been moved from home onto the starting-bench. It does not block if it has been moved to the starting-bench from anywhere else. Then other marbles may pass it; or they may hit it and send it home as they can do with any other marble too.
2.) Sonja plays a 4 and choses to move backward.
3.) Peter plays a king and starts a new marble.
1a) Sonja plays a 7. A 7 is worth 7 single moves. Sonja moves her first marble two steps ahead to the end of her goal.
1b) She uses the remaining 5 moves for her other marble driving it into her goal. Jesse's green marble is hit and sent home. (Sonja has unbelievably good cards!)
Jesse deals 5 cards to each player. Then 4, 3 and finally 2. Then it's Peter's turn to deal. He first deals 5 cards, then 4, 3 and finally 2. Then it's Sonjas turn to deal.

After every deal team mates exchange a card.

Note the following special situations:

Peter's hand (red) holds the cards 2, 5 and 7.
  • If he plays his 2, he can hit Sonja's marble (yellow) and send her home. 
  • If he plays his 5 he passes Sonja's marble without sending it home.
  • If he plays his 7, then he must move 7 single moves. He therefore hits Sonja's marble and sends it home.
Peter's hand holds only a 5. The marbles in his goal can not be passed. He must play a card if possible - even if he would prefer not to. So he is forced to play the 5 which sends him on an extra journey around the board. Tough luck!
Peter plays a 4 and choses to move backward. Now he can finish up with a 2.


  • A 4 may not be used to move backward into the goal.
  • A 4 may be used to move backward to the starting-bench in order to use the next card to move into the goal.
Sonja (yellow) has a marble on the starting-bench coming directly from home and therefore blocking all other marbles from passing. It's Peter's turn and his hand holds only a 5. Cards must be played if possible. Therefore Peter must move his marble which hits his other marble sending it home. How awful!
Peter already has 3 marbles in his goal. He plays a Joker and makes it a 7. With 4 single steps he moves his last marble into his goal. With the remaining steps he moves Simone's marble. Thus he and Simone as team mates move the blue marbles together as soon as Peter's marbles are all in his goal.

Note: A card may only be used if all its steps can be moved. If Peter had not been able to finish his move with Simone's marble then he would not have been able to use the card.

End of the game: Simone plays a 4 and moves her last marble into her goal. The game is over and Peter and Simone win.

Note: A team's finishing move (moving the 8th and last remaining marble into the goal) may not be achieved by using a Joker.

Tip: Remember the face of the card that you gave to your team mate. Try to save the card you received until your last move into the goal. Your team mate will prepare your last move since he knows which card you have in your hand. Example: Peter knows that Simone has kept the 4 he gave her. So he can play a Joker and move 4 steps close of the goal.

  Further notes:
  • Team mates may not discuss their strategy. Expressions such as "why not play a 4" or "Remember the card I gave you..." are not allowed.


Cards and their values in the Dog game:

Card Value

Ace Move a marble to the starting-bench or
11 steps forward or
1 step forward

King Move a marble to the starting-bench or
13 steps forward

Queen 12 steps forward

Jack (Swiss: Junge) Exchange an own marble with someone elses

10 10 steps forward

9 9 steps forward

8 8 steps forward

7 7 single steps. Each step may be moved by a different marble..

6 6 steps forward

5 5 steps forward

4 4 steps forward or backward

3 3 steps forward

2 2 steps forward

Jocker Any other card


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Peter Maerki