Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 30, 2012.


Dog Eat Dog is a fun, compelling game about colonialism and assimilation in the Pacific Islands.

Thanks so much for everybody's support -- I'm really overwhelmed by your generosity! If you got here a little too late but you're still interested in pre-ordering Dog Eat Dog, check out the Liwanag Press website

UPDATE 3: We've reached $6,000 and will release May the Odds be Ever In Your Favor as a free PDF! Thanks again for your generous support! If we can make it to $7,000, I will write a lesson plan for using Dog Eat Dog in an educational setting and donate twenty-five copies to schools voted on by the backers!

UPDATE 2: We've reached $5,000 and will be providing Asocena in print or PDF form to all backers! Thanks so much! If we can make it to $6,000 before the end, we'll be releasing MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR, a hack by Elizabeth Sampat letting you play out the Hunger Games using the Dog Eat Dog system!

UPDATE 1: Dog Eat Dog has reached its first goal! See below for the $5,000 stretch goal -- ASOCENA, a book of scenarios for play with the game!

Dog Eat Dog is a game of colonialism and its consequences. As a group, you work together to describe one of the hundreds of small islands in the Pacific Ocean, defining the customs of the natives and the mores of the outsiders arriving to claim it. One player then assumes the role of the Occupation force, playing their capable military, their quisling government, and whatever jaded tourists and shrewd businessmen are interested in a not quite pacified territory. All the others play individual Natives, each trying in their own ways to come to terms with the new regime. The game begins when the war ends. Through a series of scenes, you play out the inevitably conflicted relationship between the two parties, deciding what the colonizers do to maintain control, which natives assimilate and which run amok, and who ends up owning the island in the end. The game will come in the form of a book, with the full rules, author's notes that explain the design process, and a brief historical overview of colonization in the Pacific.

I originally began working on this game in 2005, thinking about my own history as a second-generation half-Filipino growing up in Hawai'i. I playtested it with a few of my friends and tried it out at a couple of local conventions, and got great reviews as well as great feedback for future drafts. It lay fallow for a while as I ran short of time to work on it, but I've decided I'd like to finally finish developing it and get it out there.

Here are some comments from people who've played it:

"Dog Eat Dog isn't a game about how colonialism steals resources; it's a game about how colonialism steals identities.  Who you were, who you are, and who you can be?  That's what gets stolen, and Dog Eat Dog is about how much of that you can hold on to." -- Chris Chinn, Deeper In The Game

"Dog Eat Dog is an extraordinary breakout game....It presents colonialism stripped bare of any fantasy, without apologies or excuses. Playing it is an emotional roller coaster of power and suffering, presenting both the unconscionable consequences of a dysfunctional society and the violent consequences of breakdown." -- Ben Lehman, Polaris

"This game is fun. Really, really fun. Thanks to the pervasiveness of institutional racism(!) and systematic oppression in science fiction, this game is a great fit for sociological sci-fi in a rules-light, super accessible package."* -- Elizabeth Shoemaker Sampat,

"Dog Eat Dog shook me to the bones. The first time I played it, it hit me so hard that I couldn't sleep that night....It's a game, an experience, a work of theory and a work of art. It's also a lot of fun. It should be required playing for activists, thinkers, politicians, marginalized communities, students, and dreamers." -- Jennifer Flowers, International Development Project Designer

The funding raised by this Kickstarter will go towards layout, professional art, and the initial print run.

* We played DED at a margarita party last month. It turns out the game also works for playing the Green Lanterns conquering Earth.

UPDATE 1: We've achieved our first goal! Thanks so much for everybody's help!

I want to keep creating more content for Dog Eat Dog, so here's the plan. If we can get to $5,000, all my backers will receive a copy of ASOCENA, a collection of brief, one-page Dog Eat Dog scenarios to allow you to play out colonialism in space, in medieval Europe, in the Fire Nation, in Soviet Russia (where natives occupy you), or wherever else we can think up. This collection will include contributions from such exciting guest authors as Elizabeth and Shreyas Sampat, Dev Purkasthaya, Joshua Hall-Bachner, Mark Truman, Jonathan Walton, and more. Supporters who are getting books will get a printed copy of Asocena, and all supporters will get a PDF.

UPDATE 2: We've reached $5,000! Asocena will happen! Thanks for giving it your all!

If we can make it to $6,000, I've got something else lined up -- Elizabeth Sampat's been working on a little project called May The Odds Be Ever in Your Favor. It's a hack that uses the Dog Eat Dog system to play out, you guessed it, the Hunger Games! At six grand we'll release it as a free PDF that requires a copy of Dog Eat Dog to play.

UPDATE 3: $6,000! Incredible! The Hunger Games hack will be released!

If we hit $7,000, I'll write a lesson plan for using Dog Eat Dog in educational settings, consulting educators and activists to make sure it offers a thorough and effective strategy for using the game to teach. I'll also give away twenty-five copies of Dog Eat Dog to schools voted on by the backers.


  • It's usually about half an hour to forty-five minutes. There's an accelerating effect that means adding more players doesn't make the game take that much longer. The Green Lantern playtest had six players and took about fifty minutes or so.

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  • Dog Eat Dog is played in a series of turns, in which each player comes up with and plays out a scene in reaction to or building off of previous scenes. Every player takes on the role of one of the Natives, except one, who plays all the Occupation forces. After each scene, the players come up with a new Rule, which collectively describe the tenuous relationship between the Occupation and the Natives. When players follow Rules, doing what the Occupation expects of them, they gain tokens; when players break Rules, they lose tokens. Because there are more Rules every scene, the situation becomes simultaneously clearer and more complex, and individual choices and actions become more and more important. Run out of tokens and die fighting (or, for the Occupation, leave the island); accumulate too many tokens and end up adopting the Occupation's values as your own. Want to keep your cultural values alive? You'll have to walk an economic tightrope to do so.

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  • I tried a few different ways to answer this question, but I decided it might be better just to show you:…

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    PALAU: A PDF of the finished game and thanks in the text.

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    138 backers

    FIJI: A PDF, a copy of the finished book, thanks in the text, and a handwritten personal thank you. Full disclosure: my handwriting is terrible. Please add $5 for shipping outside the US.

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    THE SOLOMON ISLANDS: Two copies of the game, five PDFs, thanks in the text and a personal note. Please add $5 for shipping outside the US.

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    RAPA NUI: A special reward level for retailers and other volume lovers! Four softcover copies of the book and an 11x17 poster advertising the game. Please add $10 for shipping outside the US.

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    GUAM: Alternately, the above but with thirty custom Dog Eat Dog ceramic tokens instead of dice, used during play to determine who's assimilating and who's about to run amok. Please add $5 for shipping outside the US.

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    SAMOA: Copy of the book and PDF, thanks in the text, a personal thank you, AND twenty custom-made dice with the Dog Eat Dog logo on them. Play DED in style, or use them to colonize your other games and drive out the dice that are already there! Please add $5 for shipping outside the US.

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    NEW GUINEA: Twenty custom dice AND thirty custom tokens, plus the game, the PDF, and thanks in the text and personally. Everything you need to play except some pencils and paper. Please add $5 for shipping outside the US.

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    5 backers Limited (20 left of 25)

    HAWAI'I: A special limited edition personally inscribed hardcover version of the game. There will be no more of these hardcovers made after the Kickstarter. A guaranteed collectible! Also includes the PDF and thanks in the text. Please add $10 for shipping outside the US.

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    5 backers All gone!

    THE PHILIPPINES: The Box of Color. (Previous box names were racially insensitive.) A lacquered wooden box, containing an inscribed hardcover copy of the game, a softcover copy for casual use, five PDFs, twenty custom dice, thirty custom tokens, a picture of me giving you a thumbs-up, and my mother's recipe for chicken sinigang. Supplies very limited, because I have weak thumbs. Please add $20 for (careful) shipping outside the US.

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Funding period

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