Game Bites: Hot Dogs

In Game Bites we talk about fun food themed games and accessibility in gaming. My co-author is my son, Jacob, a non-nuerotypical aspiring chef. Every week we try a new game, he cooks a delicious related dish and shares the recipe, and we talk about the pros and cons of what we’ve played. So sit back, tuck your napkin in, and have a bite with us!

Its the annual rite of spring for millions of Americans – pulling the cover off the grill, fighting with a bag of charcoal, and throwing some frankfurters on the fire. Over 50 BILLION are consumed at baseball games annually.

In Jason Tagmire’s Hot Dogs (from wallet game maker extraordinaire Button Shy) you’ll compete to dress the perfect dog – from chili to coleslaw to mustard. Players take turns reading out the recipe from a ‘dog’, while the rest of the table tries to assemble ingredients in the correct order the quickest. Attention to detail and dexterity will be rewarded with the ‘Wurst In Show’ title!


This is a relish mom grew up eating. Its contents and name vary in different regions – in the UK its commonly filled with cauliflower and onion, in the American south you’ll find green tomatoes as a primary ingredient, and in India green mango and chili are considered essential.

Piccalilli is a type of pickled relish with a mustard base. You can use almost any vegetable in it, and it gives a sweet and tart punch to anything you add it to.


3 cups bite sized cut vegetables – bite sized
(I recommend onion, tomatillo, peppers, cauliflower, and/or zucchini, but definitely experiment with what you find locally!)
1/2 cup salt
1/2 gallon cold water
2 cup vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp ground mustard
1/2 tbsp tumeric

1 – Add salt to the cold water, stir to dissolve, then add vegetables and leave in fridge for a few hours to brine.

2 – Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl

3 – Drain vegetables

4 – Add vegetables and combined vinegar/spices to a large pot. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer til the relish is thickened.

5 – Pour into jars. (You can eat the relish at this point or just pop it in the fridge to eat over the next few weeks.)

– The longer it sits, the better it gets
– Be prepared for the smell of vinegar to permeate the entire house on cooking day! 

Jacob’s Game Thoughts

Hotdogs is a fast playing, matching game. The game is very basic at it’s core with only 12 ‘Ingredient’ cards and 6 ‘Hotdog’ cards, plus a rule book. Gameplay consists of picking up, putting in order, and placing Ingredient cards as fast as possible to match the ingredients on the Hotdog cards before other players do. You score points based off of the Hotdog cards you earn, but in return you will be put at a disadvantage whenever you win a round.

I thought the literal Hot “DOGS” were very funny! The rules were a bit hard to understand and explain; order of instructions and lack of pictures made it hard to pick up on, for me at least. I was not able to explain it to my mom and sister as a result. Fortunately, its not difficult to learn so after a few rounds of play we were all laughing and slapping down cards as fast as we could. I think it could use a few more dog cards; after playing for a while it was easy to memorize in what order certain ingredients were in. Additionally, picking up the cards and assembling them quickly was a little bit of a struggle – sometimes I did not have all my cards picked up before my sister was finished! I do appreciate that the cards themselves had pictures to help tell what the ingredients were. Also, it was VERY fast, so this would be could be a good waiting game for restaurants. If you are looking for a game that is fast to play and easy to carry, then Hot Dogs may be your taste!

AMJP’s Game Thoughts

We spent a lot of time admiring the hot dogs (each of which is a different dog). The rulebook could contain more details that might help different types of learners – pictorial examples would have come in handy, as well as some further explanation as to why certain actions were performed (although occasionally there is clarity later – for example, players lay their ingredient cards in front of them in a row. It is later explained that it’s because you won’t actually be holding your hand.) Some of the ingredient pictures are difficult to decipher, but having both the pictures and names of the ingredients on each dog card was helpful for assembly and visibility across the table. This also helped the game to be less language dependent. We ended up playing without redistributing the hands each round, as the cards all seem to contain the same info and changing the colors frequently would make it somewhat confusing for those who rely on pattern. Overall the game is quite easy to pick up, so with an already familiar player you could have a group playing in minutes. This wasn’t a perfect fit for us, but I can totally see how Hot Dogs would make a fun ‘sitting around waiting on the grill’ game for many.

Check out Button Shy’s full line of games and follow them on Facebook and Twitter! We’ll be playing more of their fun, food themed games (including Arcane Bakery and In Vino Morte) in the coming months!