TABLETOP GAME REVIEW: Dog Man: Attack of the Fleas

written by David Steffen

Dog Man: Attack of the Fleas is a cooperative children’s board game released in 2019 based on Dav Pilkey’s popular ongoing Dog Man series of books about a hero with the body of a policeman and the head of a dog (Dav Pilkey is also the author of the Captain Underpants series).

The board game follows some of the plot of Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas (previously reviewed here) wherein some of the main villain Petey’s enemies from his childhood resurface and come back to terrorize him and the city in a robo-brontosaurus. The heroes of the game are the Supa Buddies: The Bark Knight (Dog Man’s superhero alter-ego), Cat Kid (his friend Lil’ Petey’s superhero alter-ego), and Lightning Dude (their mutual robot friend 80HD’s superhero alter-ego), and their enemy is the fleas piloting the Robo-Brontosaurus.

The fleas act as a sort of a non-player character in the game, starting on one end of the board and traversing to the other side of the board as you spin the wheel for them as if they were another player. They take turns with the other players who play as members of the Supa Buddies and their friends. The Supa Buddies have to explore the board to find items that may help them on their way, some items helping movement, but most importantly the shrink ray. When a player gets a shrink ray and can land on the same square as the fleas, then they can use the shrink ray to destroy one of the three parts of the robo-brontosaurus. When all of the parts are destroyed, they have to return home quickly to win the game.

The game is pretty fun, though driven more by the randomness of the spins and the item placement than by any skill. It is nice to have a cooperative, rather than competitive, board game for kid’s this age, especially since they’ll be more likely to get frustrated.

The overall game dynamic works pretty well, but in my opinion the “get back home in a limited number of turns” rule is both absurd and kind of wrecks the balance of the game. When your movement on the board is determined by randomly spinning the wheel it’s hard to get anywhere both ACCURATELY and QUICKLY unless you hoard a movement card for it, which seems like it would be harder for kids in the target age group to decide to do. (you could always make your own house rule to ignore this of course).

Early grade school or preschool would probably like this the most.

Mostly based on chance, with a bit of strategy about hoarding movement card for the end.

Session Time
Pretty quick, probably 10 minutes.

Except for very young players, I think the novelty would wear out pretty quickly, though those players especially if they are fans of Dog Man, may like it for quite some time.

Of course much of its appeal is in the character branding, I thought the dynamic was interesting with the adversary acting as an independent character.

The MSRP seems to be about $20–if you’ve got a kid who’s a big fan of Dog Man and in early grade school, you might want to give it a try.

Published by

David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

7 thoughts on “TABLETOP GAME REVIEW: Dog Man: Attack of the Fleas”

  1. How did you learn to land on the RoboBronto’s current position rather than land on the “robobrontosaurus’ space” which could be the space with its face on it? The game’s instructions are really ambiguous about this.

    1. Oh, hmm… my assumption that, with the RoboBronto having its own 3-dimensional avatar, that it, like you, is represented by that 3-D avatar and your job is to stop that avatar’s progress, and so you do that by destroying the avatar directly? To me it seems counterintuitive to go to the space with the static space with its face rather than pursuing its dynamic avatar? But I could see how someone could conclude otherwise.

      1. Searched the internet after attempting to play this game with our kiddo and the grandparents. All in agreement that the rules do not define whether you attack the Bronto space itself or the Bronto as he moves in the board. I like your interpretation of the rules and will adopt. Also the rules do not make it clear that the only way to knock the Bronto apart is by having a Shrink Ray token. So thank you for that as well. They need to clean up the instructions. Loved the art work and simplicity. Next time less confusion will make game play more fun.

  2. If you land on the same space as the brontosaurus do you remove one part or only when you use a token like the shrink ray?

  3. These rules don’t make sense. If you have 2 people playing, it’s almost impossible to win. More players is easier since the monster moves less frequently. Seems flawed.

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