Software Engineering’s Dogs of War was released in the late nineties as a knock off of the classically popular Milton Bradley board game, Axis and Allies. It is a basic game of strategy that can be played against the computer’s artificial intelligence, or a human opponent. The game was once a highly popular online game, but because Software Engineering did not have a licensing agreement from Milton Bradly or Hasbro, and Dogs of War bore such close resemblance to Axis and Allies, SEI was forced to withdraw the game or face a copyright infringement lawsuit from a much more powerful company. The lawsuit occurred just prior to Hasbro’s release of the PC version of Axis and Allies, which was actually of a poorer quality than Dogs of War.
The user initially has a choice of playing as one of the five major historical powers from the Axis and Allies game in World War II: Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Japan, and the United States. Dogs of War is basically a head to head two player game, but with allies can feature all five of the super powers. The game begins in 1942, the middle of the conflict. At this point in the conflict, all the battle lines have been drawn and the alliances have been formed or broken. Each power knows where it stands in reference to the others. The user is charged with the micromanagement of the chosen power, making decisions on all the logistics of the battles, including economic imports and tactics. The user must decide how much of his precious resources he wants to invest in research to improve his technology. Resources have to be meted out to drive the war machine without destroying the economic stability of his home country. There is also the classical positioning of the troops and standard military decisions.
The game play is definitely what makes this game. Based on a board game, its inspiration comes from plastic pieces, which are not conducive to flashy graphic displays. Moreover, the pixilation sometimes makes selecting units difficult. But overall, the game play is very very good. Dogs of War is really allowed to shine when playing against a human opponent. The computer’s AI is competent to a point, but with practice, the user will begin to note a level of predictability that won’t be present with a “real” adversary. It is highly recommended for download, especially if the user has a strategy minded friend to play against.
Written by: ~dorento1