Dogfight - Air Battle Game of World War I


Dogfight is a game of plane to plane combat in World War I. The players are the pilots and commanders of air squadrons from the war.

There are two squadrons for each side and each squadron has three planes. One plane from each squadron can be in the air at any one time. Planes which are flying are identified by being placed on a stand; other planes are on the ground.

When a plane takes off the pilot of that plane takes four cards from the stack for their squadron. These cards will be used for air to air combat. Once in the air the pilot cannot get more cards unless they land again. There are three types of cards; Burst, Loop and Roll. Burst cards are used to attack, Loop cards are used to avoid being attacked from behind and Roll cards are used to defend against being attacked from the side.

Planes move by rolling dice and moving the number of squares shown. Planes may move any direction except diagonally. If a plane ends its move by exact count facing an enemy plane combat ensues.

Combat begins with the attacker playing a Burst card. If the attack is from the rear the defender must play a Loop card or be shot down. If a Loop card is played the attacker and defender exchange places and now the defender can attack.

In a side attack the defender must play a Roll card or be shot down. Finally, in a head-on attack, both players play a Burst card. Whoever plays the Burst card with the highest value is the winner. Planes which are shot down are removed from play.

Players which successfully shoot down planes and safely return to base are Aces. Aces get more cards when they take off giving them a better chance in combat.

It is also possible to attack planes on the ground, but the attacker must fly over Anti-Aircraft guns in order to do so. Surviving planes can destroy planes on the ground by playing a Burst card.


Dogfight is a very simple game with some subtle options. The limited number of combat cards makes for some careful planning since pressing an attack too long can leave a plane defenseless as it tries to get back to its home airfield. While much simpler than a standard wargame it is an interesting game all the same.

This game is part of the American Heritage series which was produced in cooperation with American Heritage magazine. It includes an educational booklet on historical WWI air combat. Other games in the series included Broadsides (ship to ship combat in the age of sail) and Battle Cry (US Civil War combat).

32 comments on Dogfight:

Steve, Chris, John & Rob at October 21, 2013 08:06 said:
My brothers and I loved this game and built 1/72 scale airplane kits, got a huge piece of cardboard for the game board, made our own decks of cards and had six planes per person and could fly all of them at one time "in the air". I still have most of the plastic models we painted, decaled and numbered for ease in keeping track of which plane went with which deck of cards. We were into this game big time.
John at July 26, 2013 14:29 said:
I agree with Bill Cannistra, "Dogfight" allows for player creativity and innovation in devising new rules for more advanced play. As an example, my brother and I used to place airplanes shot down on the square where they were defeated. No other aircraft could occupy that square even if just flying over.
Jeffrey at January 29, 2012 12:00 said:
Wow...used to play this and Battle Cry with my brother all the time...<3
mlewxav at October 29, 2011 20:45 said:
rules question... once opponent gets access to an airfield by manding on a miss space, can he just move on the the open 'landing space' the next turn (by exact roll) and shoot the next plane on the ground?
....... at September 7, 2011 00:33 said:
Iv got the game
Tex from Karratha at January 29, 2011 11:46 said:
Thanks, brought back some great memories of a miss-spent childhood playing this in country new zealand, used to pester the hell out of all family members to play it with me - great days..... at December 27, 2010 12:34 said:
I bought this game in 1968. I still have all original pieces in excellent condition. It has not been used in about 20 years.
Robert at December 26, 2010 08:17 said:
The war game that started it all for in the hobby of war gaming. Still have my copy sitting on the shelf. It comes out about once or twice a year to play. One of the best introductory war games ever to hit the market. Nice to see a website that is trying to keep this game alive.
jeffrey budd at December 19, 2010 07:22 said:
Anyone!!! Who has this game and it is in decent shape and would like to sell it please e-mail me at I would love to have this game again. Thanks Jeff
George K at November 6, 2010 17:01 said:
I loved these games -- and they were great at teaching history! I'm looking for them to play with my ten-year old twins.

eddy ,,g at October 17, 2010 02:10 said:
i love these game ,, please tel me were to get it,, ,,
BK at July 3, 2010 16:51 said: has original and restored Dogfight games for sale. Very laid-back website that only does Dogfight. The guy is OCD or something and jokes about it. Worth checking out if you're having trouble finding a game on e-bay.
John Tuminaro at March 10, 2010 11:52 said:
Where can I purchase this game?

Debbie Gore at July 10, 2009 17:11 said:
I would like to buy this game. Where might I be able to do that? please, someone let me know. thanks
manfred von ricthofen at April 1, 2009 07:20 said:
where is there a place in england i can buy the game
Rocco at March 22, 2009 08:30 said:
The game has 2 loops, 3 barrel rolls.

There are either 3 or 4 of each burst (burst 1, burst 2, burst 3, burst 4, burst 5) Unfortunately, I do not remember off the top of my head.

Question: There seem to be a lot of ambiguities in the rules. Is a more detailed rule book available anywhere?
rcbigal at January 26, 2009 20:48 said:

other than ebay, this guy has lots of games for sale as well as pieces needed to complete the game. I love this game as a kid growing up and have some sets on ebay to re-kindle the fire. Always fun to have some old memories around to share with family. A super fun game to play with family that is if you still have all the pieces!

Flu-Bird at December 3, 2008 00:37 said:
I can remember this game in Jr High i remember playing aginst some other a was a american pilot i shot down some those germans
Todd Gamel at October 18, 2008 02:36 said:
have the board and rules, missing the cards does anyone know how many loops, rolls, and burts numbers the cards were in the original set?

bob elston at October 3, 2008 00:16 said:
i had this game as a kid also and was surprised to see it displayed in the smithsonian on a recent visit
Bill Cannistra at September 12, 2008 23:15 said:
This 1963 game was a great entry-level game I used to ease into the world of the more complex war games put out by Avalon Hill of SPI later in the 70's.

The rules were easy to understand and learn. I eventually devised some cloud-cover extensions and game rules that we used to simulate attacks from above out of the sun. These game extensions worked great!
Steve Carter at May 24, 2008 12:17 said:
Dogfight was one of my favorites when I was a child. I used to play it with my brother and friends. I also had Hit The Beach, Battlecry, and Broadsides, and I sure would like to see PC versions of any or all these classic board games! Thank you for this website.
Vickaronomie at May 8, 2008 10:01 said:
Still have this! It's in good condition, too. Was my father's and now my brother and I play it when he's on leave. We also have Sub Search and Shenanigans somewhere. :D
Sioux City Tim at February 6, 2008 20:28 said:
Played this game which we got for Christmas in about 1964. The planes had nomenclature and you could fly different ones. The aerodromes were "Jagdstafels" or something like that. We used to litter the battlefield with crashed planes which were shot down. rex is right that kids don't enjoy the board games as much now that they have electronic stuff.
Rex Herman at February 3, 2008 00:39 said:
This game was so fun to play as a child. Before the Atari 2600 ruined children\'s imaginations, Dogfight was the top of the notch. Great memories!!
Bill at January 30, 2008 21:31 said:
Any place to order replacement parts? My son, now 9 and I, now 43 started playing the game over the holidays. My dad, now 78, and I use to play it "back in the day". Anyway, thanks for this posting. The directions were missing but he LOVES flying the planes and shooting down his old dad, the evil GERMAN!! HAHAHAHAH!!
FrankLJ at January 8, 2008 22:04 said:
How many cards in each stack, and what type?
Dennis, The Gamepiler at January 7, 2008 10:43 said:
Yes, Aces get 6 cards and double Aces get 8. You can find a copy of the rules (in PDF format) at
Greg at January 2, 2008 18:09 said:
My brothers and I played this game as kids. My brother claims an acegot 6 cards and a double ace got 8 cards.
Dave at December 4, 2007 20:57 said:
I used to play this game with my cousins when I was a young kid. Easy to understand, and it was fun.
Robert at November 27, 2007 15:53 said:
Were can i get a "Dogfight" board game from? Don't want one from Ebay.
Bob G. at November 24, 2007 16:22 said:
Thank you!

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