American Heritage DOGFIGHT™ World War I Air Battle Game

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About Dogfight

Dogfight is one of the American Heritage games in the “Command Decision” series of wargames published by Milton Bradley in the early 1960’s:

  • Civil War (1961, Dealing with, predictably, the American Civil War)
  • Broadside (1962, Age of the Sailing Ship Naval Battle)
  • Dogfight (1963, WW1 Aerial Combat)
  • Hit the Beach (1965, WW2 American Pacific Campaign)

The American Heritage series games have been described as being “war themed” games since they are not really “wargames” in the traditional sense of the term, and simply place the usual basic gaming mechanics into a war setting. The games in the series adapted elements of history into family-strategy style rules. The primary emphasis was on “game,” with the “history” coming principally through the convenient, somewhat accurate, historical booklets containing excerpts from American Heritage books.

In 1975 Milton Bradley released “Skirmish,” which dealt with the American Revolution, along with three of the original American Heritage/Command Decision series games from the early sixties (Civil War was now released as “Battle-Cry”; Hit the Beach was not re-issued because it apparently sucked). From the American flag motif on the new box covers, it would seem that their re-release was motivated by America’s bicentennial celebration, and Skirmish made for a timely addition to the series.

Definitely not for the hardcore wargamer, but still a lot of fun, Dogfight is a light version of WWI air combat. The Germans and Americans each get 6 biplanes divided into 2 squadrons of 3 planes each. Each squadron gets a hand of combat maneuver cards and players move one plane from each squadron engaging and evading each other. For each plane shot down, you receive an ace token that entitles you to hold a larger hand of cards. Anti-Aircraft guns guard each home squadron and the lucky flyer has the opportunity to strafe the enemy’s planes on the ground. Dogfight is a great introductory wargame with easy to learn rules. For a more articulate overview of Dogfight, go to

Why a Site for a 50 Year Old Game?

You must be incredibly bored or have WAY too much time on your hands.

Long story short, I used to watch a Stearman biplane take off and land at Cochise College when I was 7 years old. That, combined with living in the flight line of Davis Monthan AFB and watching Corsairs and U2s fly low over our house piqued my curiosity about aviation.

I had the usual boyhood fascination to catch things (like lizards and the ever elusive birds) which entailed my watching black tailed swallows for countless hours, being fascinated by their agility in moving in and out of their mud huts.

At age 9 I happened across a book titled “Heroes and Aeroplanes of the Great War 1914-1918” at the library, and checked it out (or had a friend check it out, because you were only allowed to do that twice in a row) every two weeks consecutively for the next couple of years. I paid enough late fees to have bought the book outright, but was simply not the type of kid to consider “losing” it.

I was hooked. First on just the planes and the guns, but then later on the stories of combat and the concepts of honor in armed conflict and aerial chivalry captured my imagination. Paper airplanes and the Guillows balsa “Sleek Streak” rubber band powered monoplanes (I must have gone through a hundred of them) were prominent through my grade school years, and I gained a fundamental understanding of lift, drag, and the basics of aerodynamics by first hand experiments.

At age 11 I discovered a late 60’s paperback copy of Rickenbacker’s “Fighting the Flying Circus” during summer break, and a short time later I spent an entire day bumming around a 7/8ths scale flying replica of an SE5a at a local air show (Vickers, Lewis and all), finally being allowed to sit briefly in the cockpit (there was simply no other way to get rid of me). That same summer I discovered “Dogfight”, which I played obsessively. I remember paying my siblings to play it with me long after they had lost interest.

Friends and family suffered alike. When I couldn’t convince anyone to game with me, I spent my time building every model airplane manufactured by Monogram and Revell. In seventh grade “The Blue Max” aired on T.V. (in three parts), and I don’t believe I have had as strong an interest about anything on the little screen since.

Eighth grade brought “The Great Waldo Pepper” but, alas, my hormones came on line suddenly, along with high school, and my interest turned to motorcycles, cars and the fairer sex, along with seeking employment to support these diversions. This phase took me through many years of hot rodding, street racing, retail sales, corporate management, college, MT training, business, college (again), med school, and residency.

Now into my thirties, married and starting a family, I happened across a copy of “Heroes and Aeroplanes” in an Antique store in Sedona, along with a small collection of books dedicated to First World War aviation — I emptied the shelf.

At first a nostalgic and welcome break from scientific medical literature, it soon became a rekindling of my early passion. My brother found an old “Dogfight” game at a swap meet, and gave it to me for Christmas 2003. It was missing a few parts, and I was totally miffed that I couldn’t find a toy dealer or Hobby shop online that carried spares. Ebay was it, and no one was selling pieces then. To wrap this up, that frustration eventually led to the creation of this site, in hopes that there might be at least one other person out there with a childhood memory of “Dogfight” as skewed as my own.

Happy Gaming!

— Brian Becker M.D.

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Updated: July 9, 2010
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