Tabletop Review: ‘Dog Crimes’

‘Dog Crimes’ from ThinkFun. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

With 2020 now well underway, the first sweeps of new game releases are starting to hit. ThinkFun has already brought out a few new titles,  and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of logic-based puzzle Dog Crimes to review.

What Is Dog Crimes?

Dog Crimes in a logic-based game that includes a series of 40 challenges where players use clues and deductive reasoning to sort out which dog has been a good boy or girl and which dog was was up to no good. The game is intended for a single player age 8+ and each challenge seems to take up to 3-5 minutes or so. The game has an MSRP of $14.99.

Dog Crimes Components

The components for ‘Dog Crimes.’ Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Dog Crimes contains the following:

  • 1 Game Board
  • 6 Dog Tokens with Stands
  • 6 Crime Tokens
  • 40 Challenge Cards with Solutions
  • Instruction Booklet

Overall, the pieces are really decent and solid, especially for a game that’s fifteen bucks. The Game Board is two layers of seriously thick cardboard with very fun illustrations of a tile and carpeted area and a series of objects like rawhide bones or socks that can be referenced as clues in the challenges. The Dog Tokens are about the size of my hand and are also made of pretty sturdy cardboard (as are the stands) that should withstand the stands being pulled on and off between play sessions. The dogs depicted clearly represent particular breeds and have other little clues worked in (like bandanas, bows, tail colors, etc). The Crime Tokens are the same thick cardboard with equally fun art of things the dogs might have destroyed. Overall, I think the cardboard durability should withstand many sessions of play with kids. The Challenge Cards come in their own little box and are about the thickness of playing cards. They have the same great artwork on them, and the solution diagrams on the back look exactly like the game layout making it easy to comprehend.

How to Play Dog Crimes


The goal of Dog Crimes is to use clues and deductive reasoning to solve the 40 different challenges and figure out which dog committed the dog crime such as eating homework or going potty in the house. The challenges start off at the Beginner Level and gradually move up to Expert Level.


A game set up before a Challenge Card is selected. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Setup is pretty fast and simple. The Game Board is put in front of the player. Then, each of the dogs is placed on a dog stand and set nearby. The Crime Tokens are also set out nearby. Finally, the player pulls out the Challenge Cards, selects one, and gets to sleuthing.


The Challenges

Examples of Challenge Cards. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Each round is quick, simple, and from our observations, it usually takes minutes to play. With everything out and ready, the player is guided by the Challenge Card. First, set the correct Crime Token (as described by the Challenge Card) in place. Then, read the clues and start placing the dogs around the Game Board as the clues dictate. A dog out in the yard is not placed by the board. The clues may tell you directly where a dog goes, what items they are in front of, what dogs they are near, or certain characteristics the dog does or does not have. Once you believe you have the guilty dog placed in front of the crime token, check the solution on the back of the Challenge Card. Then reset and move onto the next card.

The player has placed the Dog Tokens according to the clues and can now deduce the guilty dog. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Game End

Dog Crimes is so casual that the only true end is if you solve all 40 Challenge Cards. However, the nature of the game is one where you can do a number of the challenges one play session and some more in another session.

Why You Should Play Dog Crimes

I love logic games, especially as an activity for kids who sometimes need something calm and quiet that doesn’t require a lot of commitment to set up or clean up. Both our kindergartner and our third-grader have started picking up on logic games, and this one is going to be a great addition to our collection.

The pieces are decently sturdy, the artwork is appealing for kids and adults both, and the whole box is small enough to take as entertainment on a family vacation or to any other place where you have roughly a table setting’s worth of space to play.

Setup is quick. The first time we played, we did have to punch out cardboard pieces, but that was super easy. Clean up is equally fast, and any kid old enough to play should probably be able to handle both parts without issues.

The gameplay is quick to catch onto as everything follows a particular pattern. The real challenge is in the reasoning you use to work out the clues. The further along you go, the less directly you can rely on the clues, and the more deductive reasoning you need to apply. This is where the game really gets its value, and I feel that logic games that promote critical thinking are really good for kids (they’re fun for grown-ups too). I tested the game on A, our nine-year-old, and he happily played for around an hour leading up to bedtime and got through twenty of challenges with a rare instance of a little bit of help from me.

With an MSRP of just $14.99, this game is super affordable and really reasonable for gifting too. The game can be pre-ordered for delivery in early April via Amazon. You may also wish to check out Cat Crimes on Amazon for $12.95, which is ThinkFun’s previously released feline counterpart to Dog Crimes that won a number of awards.

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