Pre-orders for Dogs BOND on Kickstarter will begin at the end of July 2020. Visit dogsbondgame.com and click “Join the Pack” to be included in occasional emails to keep updated on the status of the campaign.
Alex Lu is a Silicon Valley program manager by day and board game creator by night. He combines Fortune 500 management practices with a lifelong commitment to supporting animal rescues. He has created a new board game – Dogs BOND. Radiance Editor Gina Kegel sat down with Alex for an interview.
GINA KEGEL: Alex, you have created a fantastic board game that’s unlike anything else out there: Dogs BOND is a game where players take on the role of a shelter dog, collecting and sometimes competing for attributes to be adopted into one of six forever homes. Where did you find the inspiration for this game?
ALEX LU: Dogs BOND is a game created by dog people, for dog people. I love board games. Board games bring people together in a unique way, in friendship for an activity that builds lasting bonds. I’ve spent many nights at a dinner table, converted to a game table, with friends and family sharing a positive experience. The funny thing is that we often end up retelling the stories from that night at our next game night!
Like many people, I love dogs. When I talk to people about their family and loved ones we have a nice conversation. But when I talk to people about their dogs, their souls open up. Our dogs unlock our hearts in a unique and special way. They’re pure love, and take on such an important role in every pet owner’s life because they teach us to enjoy the moment.
By creating a board game that brings players through the dog’s perspective of a rescue journey, I want my game to do real good in the world. We are bringing people together and fostering positive conversations about dog adoption and responsible ownership.
I noticed that many games are about capitalism, greed, and war. I found myself wanting to play a game that just felt good
Interesting, so there is a social activism component. How does Dogs BOND achieve that mission?
Rescue organizations are generally run by big-hearted volunteers that sometimes get overworked. We have made a commitment to support the amazing work that dog rescues do with every sale of the game. We are also creating custom graphics and marketing materials to make it easy for our partner rescues to share our message to their existing supporters.
Through our initial raise on Kickstarter, up to 15% of profits will be donated directly to rescue organizations that have partnered with us. The percentage we distribute will be tied to the number of followers we earn on social media, so follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! More donations from sales will be made annually as long as we’re making and selling the game.
Putting the rescue journey at the forefront of the game was really important to me because there can be a negative connection between shelters, and adoption. I began with the clear intention to take this story of adoption and a second chance at a wonderful life and infuse it with joy, whimsy, and play. It allows us to raise the conversation from a place of hope and positivity.
Why is the game called Dogs BOND?
In my own game collection, I noticed that many games are about capitalism, greed, and war. I found myself wanting to play a game that just felt good. Also, through the process of exploring dog adoption for myself, I found that for many the decision tends to center around what the owner wants, and what the dog can do for their humans. I want people to consider the experience from the dog’s perspective. This game is about finding friendship and loyalty, but also the struggle the dogs go through to find their forever home. Dogs BOND does involve strategy and choice, but at the end of the game, there is a happily ever after for all players and dogs.
Why did you choose dogs, instead of some other animal?
I love all animals, but I’m a dog person first. Dogs can heal us in a way sometimes humans can’t. I have heard over and over people say, “My dog saved me.” You see bumper stickers that say, “You can’t buy love but you can rescue it.” There’s just something magical there. Not to discount the bonds people have with their cats! Following the successful launch Dogs BOND, we intend to create Cats BOND which focuses on cats and supports cat rescues.
I’ve enjoyed playing this game, but I’m an everything-fluffy person, and have rescued and adopted several dogs, so maybe I’m a little biased. Will cat people like this game?
Haha, yes! I’ve played this game many times with dog people, cat people, bird people, absolutely-anything-furry people, and people who are generally indifferent to pets. Regardless of their animal companion preferences, players find something in the game that speaks to them. I have found that after the last card is played, people tend to stay around the table to talk about their own animal friendships, usually about dogs or cats but sometimes frogs or birds or turtles. I think having pets and sharing stories about our animal friendships with one another makes us more empathetic people.
How can people get their own copy of Dogs BOND? And are you open to connecting with more rescues?
We are opening pre-orders for Dogs BOND on Kickstarter towards the end of July 2020. I invite readers to visit dogsbondgame.com and click “Join the Pack” to be included in occasional emails to keep everyone updated on the status of the campaign.
We welcome rescues of all sizes to contact us for partnership. We are completing our sign-ups for rescues before we launch on Kickstarter.