Originally released in Germany in 2012 as Drecksau, Frank Bebenroth's Dirty Pig is a light family-friendly card game where the 2-4 players each have three, four or five pigs (depending on player count): cards that show a clean pig on one side and a dirty wallowing-in-mud pig on the other. You start off with all your pigs clean and you win if you are the first to have all your pigs flipped to their dirty side.
Players have a hand of cards with which to affect their own and their opponents' pigs. On your turn, you play a card and draw a replacement. Play a Mud card on one of your pigs to flip it from its clean to dirty side. Play a Bath Time card on one of your opponent's dirty pigs to flip it to its clean side. Play a Rain card and it will clean all of the out-in-the-open dirty pigs of all the players. Put a Barn card next to one of your dirty pigs and it won't be affected by the rain. It can still be cleaned with a Bath Time card tho' because the barn has an open door... Bar the door and the pig can't be affected by a Bath Time card. However, a Lightning card can set an opponent's barn ablaze, barred door and all. You'll need to play a Lightning Rod on your barn to protect it from a Lightning strike. It's only a dirty pig then that's in a barn with a boarded up door and a lightning rod that will be completely protected from being cleaned by an opponent.
This new edition of Dirty Pig from Kosmos adds optional expansion content to the basic game. This adds Pretty Pig cards into the mix. You play with only three pigs regardless of player count but you can win if all three of your pigs are Pretty Pigs, whether they are otherwise dirty or clean. This adds more strategy to the game, along with a push-your-luck element: you can play a Pretty Pig card on your own or an opponent's pig, whether it's dirty or clean. Playing it on an opponent may hamper their prospect of winning with three dirty pigs but you might find you are helping them if they are able to pivot to go for a Pretty Pig win. Mud, Rain and Bath Time cards have no effect on a Pretty Pig card but, as you might guess, there's a card (Great Escape) that allows a pig to rid itself of its Pretty Pig card. If you want to defend a Pretty Pig against a Great Escape card, you can do so by putting Lipstick on the pig! Also included in this edition are some variant 'tournament' rules and the option of playing with larger hand sizes.
Dirty Pig is a fun 'take that' game that replicates an escalating arms race, albeit transposed to a silly farmyard theme. The card actions are all pretty much self-explanatory so that children and adults alike can quickly pick up and play the game with barely any need for a rules explanation. For sure, there's a high luck factor over what cards you happen to draw, but canny players will usually be able to manage their hands to maximise the effectiveness of the cards they draw.
With its easy intuitive game play and appealing art, Dirty Pig is sure to be a filler-length family favourite.