Top 100: #94 Dogs of War

Some games just fall under the radar. Maybe Dogs of War simply came out before CMoN had gotten much notoriety. (They were the publishers for the game.) However, I will always sing the praises of this game even if it is massively overproduced.  Over a couple of rounds players will participate in different tug of wars as warring houses trying to gain loyalty and power.

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Each round begins with players spending money they started with or accumulated to purchase soldiers.  Once everyone has their soldiers, they will place a soldier and one of their pawns on the board. The places on the board to place your pawns sometimes have requirements to meet to support that lord. Most of the the spaces also give you specific bonuses as well. So sometimes you might support a lord you don’t have much invested in just to get the bonuses that they provide.

Once everyone is unable to play further, each battles is determined by which lord in each battle had the most military strength. The player with the most lords on the winning side gets the bonus prize for winning the battle, and everyone on the winning side gets one point per lord on the losing side. So players need to be wary of placing on the losing side for a good bonus. The noble that won the battle also gains power on the victory point track making those with loyalty to that house more powerful.

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After four rounds of helping nobles have skirmishes the players figure out which lord has been most influential in the overall war. Over the course of the game players will have acquired crests for different noble houses and those score equal to the point value that house acquired on the victory point track. So you want to earn the loyalty of nobles who are becoming powerful, but other players might attempt to cause those lords to lose value if you are too obvious in your collection of favors.

One of the reasons I like this game so much is that it has heavy conflict but it is never really against other players. They will definitely feel the effects, don’t get me wrong, but it is not like a game of Risk where I am literally destroying their units and claiming their territory. Some players have a hard time with games like that and can take it personally. This game allows for that level of aggressiveness without it being so personal.