Pulling a seat away from the table and then sitting I do not feel nervous at all. Which is odd since it’s human nature to feel some tension before a competition begins. I’ve been here before. Glancing slightly up and to the left I notice the alpha suit for the first hand has not been posted yet. I mentally run through my usual routine of how to handle my pack of pups. The announcement comes; “Work dogs will be the alpha suit,” for the first showdown. The competition is about to begin.
Reaching down with both hands I scoop up my 7 pups. I’m one of those competitors that likes to arrange my pups by type. My eyes immediately focus on the three work dogs I got. Ruby the German Shepard will probably be especially good for a trick. This is not to say that Wolfgang and Zeus won’t come in handy. They very well could be good for tricks of their own. We’ll see. Unfortunately I also happened to pick up Khaleesi and Piglet. Khaleesi is a Cocker Spaniel. Though a lovable family dog I’m not sure Khal will be very useful in the first showdown. Same goes for Piglet the English Bull Terrier and the other two pups in my hand. The fact that I didn’t pick up any mutts is not lost on me either. How many tricks are these pups worth? Decision time. I know exactly what I’ll do.
I pick up the At Least 2 bid card. I’m confident of winning at least 2 tricks for this showdown. This is a two player game of Pups and if my competitor also goes for the At Least 2 , Exactly 2, At Least 3, or Exactly 3 bid card the rules state they’ll start the first trick in the Showdown phase. Who goes first is important in Pups. So she’ll likely start the Showdown but that’s okay as I think there’s a good chance at getting at least 2 in the Showdown.She takes the At Least 2 card and so will start.
For this first Showdown I’m thinking my opponent will be aggressive for two reasons. First, she’ll want to make sure she gets at least two tricks. Second, she’ll try to get the Top Dog card which is worth one doggy treat and you get to be the leader for the next Showdown. This is exactly what she tries. Because of the Mutt cards involved with this Showdown there are 5 tricks to be had. She got those two and I took the last three. Score after the first showdown my opponent has 2 I have 3. Although I’d love to be aggressive my hand isn’t all that great and I have a lead and would like to keep it if possible. You know the quote from Lewis Grizzard, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the view never changes.” seems to fit here. In the second Showdown she goes for the At Least 3 bid card. So she starts the second Showdown. She misses her bid and that means penalty poos for her. I repeat what I did the previous Showdown. Another 3 for me for a total of 6 to her -1. The third Showdown shows how quickly Pups can turn around. She re-bids her missed At Least 3. My hand is so bad my left hand picks up the top Exactly 0 bid card. I think, “My view is about to change.” We both make our bid. The score is now tied at 6. Indeed after round 4 I am behind by 3. The score is now 7 to 10.
There are still Showdowns 5,6, and 7 to go yet. Little chance that any bid stacks will run out so very likely that Pups will go all 7 Showdowns. Showdown 6 and I need to risk a bit here. Fanning the 7 cards I see not a great hand, but, a chance to go for an exact bid card. Exact bid cards will give you twice as many doggy treats as the At Least bid cards. Though I make the exactly 2 bid I gain no ground and remain 3 points behind. Score is 11 to 14. Definitely don’t like the view now. Showdown 6 gives me hope. I place the At Least 3 bid down in front as I’m aware that I have the exactly 0 bid card to use if I only take 2 tricks. It’s worth the risk. It pays off as I make my bid and get the Top Dog card for an extra doggy treat. She makes her bid too. I’m still down one point. Score after Showdown 6 is 15 to 16. This might have been a lost opportunity as I could have taken exactly 3 and so should have used the Exactly 3 side of the bid card. Had I seen that possibility I could have had 3 more points from Showdown 6.
One Showdown left. Looking at my final 7 Pups. All 7 are lovable, but, not much to work with. I go for the At Least 2 bid card as I know all I have to get is 1 and can use my Exactly 0 bonus to make the 2. I know I’m in trouble when I see her take the At Least 3 bid card. I also know because I’ll be lucky to get one trick. This means I have to make my bid knowing full well how tough that’s going to be while at the same time I have to try to prevent her from making her bid. Yeah.
Indeed one of us made their bid and one of us did not. My final score was 13.