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The Ancient Art of War

DOS - 1984

Also available on: Mac - Amiga - Amstrad CPC - Apple II - PC-88

Alt name Sun Tzu's L'Art de la Guerre
Year 1984
Platform DOS
Released in United States (1984)
United States (1985)
United States (1987)
Genre Strategy
Theme Historical Battle (specific/exact), Real-Time, Wargame
Publisher Brøderbund Software, Inc.
Developer Evryware
Perspective Top-Down
Dosbox support Supported on 0.58
4.29 / 5 - 81 votes

Description of The Ancient Art of War

Before Dave Murry and Barry Murry designed the seminal The Ancient Art of War in 1984, best-selling wargames like SSI's Kampfgruppe bear no resemblance to best-selling strategy games like M.U.L.E. As a result, strategy gamers and wargamers are two secluded camps who don't speak the same language.

The Ancient Art of War united the two camps in one masterful stroke. Here, at last, is a wargame that wargamers would enjoy for the excellent engine based on the classic war treatise by Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu. Implementing tactics based on Sun Tzu's words becomes the key to victory. Strategy gamers were drawn to the game for its colorful graphics, the chance to match wits with 8 of the most famous military leaders in history in their most important battles, and intuitive command interface.

Here is your chance to challenge the goddess Athena, Alexander the Great, Geronimo, Crazy Ivan, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Sun Tzu himself. As in the first game, battle locales are varied and historically important. You will wage wars in the Sherwood forest, ancient Rome, Asgaard, Custer's Last Command, Napoleon's France, ancient China, the Appalachians, and Mongolia.

The game, like chess, is simple to learn, yet hard to master. The lack of campaign mode is just about the only criticism I can think of. Suffice it to say that anyone who's never played this game is missing out an important chapter in the history of war and strategy gaming. Two thumbs up!

Review By HOTUD

External links

Comments and reviews

SnowdogBob 2020-07-10 2 points

So many happy hours in computer lab in college avoiding school work by playing this

Anunaki 2020-01-31 3 points

I think the EGA version is bugged. So I heard. So is the apple version. Get the CGA version.

I don't know about the Amiga version... Its in French

Peregrino 2019-07-02 12 points

This is a true clasic that still retains full playability. Why no one has ever done a remake is lost to me.

About the campaigns included in the game, five are races to the enemy flag:
- Race for the Flags and Contest of the Gods are about learning to maximize your unit's speed.
- Pharsalus and Custer's Last Stand are about defending your flag while your side detatchment runs fast to take the enemy's. The lessons learnt in Race and Contest will help you to achieve the latter.
- The Spy is about maneouvering among the enemy troops to reach the enemy flag. Avoiding the enemy is an useful skill to learn for later battles. When you have an objective in mind, do not let enemy troops lure you away of it.

Sherwood Forest is a siege. You must take the villages to cut the fort from getting supplies and starve the enemy. The position of your flag is randomized in each battle, which adds a dynamic element every time you play this campaign.

The other five scenarios are wars of attrition where you must defend your forts to build up your forces and take over the enemy ones.
- The Rivalry, being just one fort per side, is the easiest to learn. Defend your initial turf and let the enemy burn trying to assault you, then advance and move down.
- Wu vs Ch'u is pretty straightforward as you begin in control of your forts and the enemy begins in control of hims, so you can move on inmediately on to seizing villages and starving the enemy.
- Tale of Three Islands and Islands of Doom require you to maneuver quickly at the beggining of the scenario to seize as many forts as possible, then you can slowly starve down the enemy.
- War in the Mountains is the toughest one, as the enemy can move faster than you do, will get a lot more forts than you to spawn troops, and forts produce food so you need to take the enemy ones by assault instead of besieging them. Beating this scenario takes hours of gameplay.

The Eleven campaigns included in the game are fun to play, though the real thing comes with the Campaign Editor. Once you master the game, including understanding how the different AI Enemies react to situations, and all the exploits available to the player, you can engineer a lot of diverse challenges beyond the ones proposed in the basic campaigns.

Azrael 2017-08-19 0 point

awesome! cuando todo era tan simple este juego estuvo adelantado a su epoca,, Warcraft???

SoulSoldier 2017-01-10 3 points

If the installation doesn't work, you can go to

It gives downloads for the Ancient Art of War for multiple platforms, and also gives the manuals and some custom campaigns. It's a really cool website, give it a shot!

SoulSoldier 2017-01-10 1 point DOS version

I just discovered it and it should work.
To create a new campaign, in the location where Ancient Art of War is stored, create a new directory (folder for you non-tech people) named floppy (I actually don't know if it's name matters or not). Then, on DOSBOX:

mount a c:/dos/artofwar/floppy
mount c c:/dos
CD artofwar

Then run it. Go to the campaign selection and then create a new campaign. It should work.

Sun Tzu 2015-05-18 1 point Mac version

Thanks for this amazing game it brings back a lot of memories.

Unfortunately this download doesn't include Disk 2 ("Campaign Disk") that was included with the original, which allows editing and creating new game campaigns. If anyone knows where this can be downloaded please post a link. thank you.

Griff 2015-02-26 0 point DOS version

I'm back in 1988

Edward 2015-02-16 -1 point DOS version

it's great to have this game again!

Hawabaz 2015-01-04 -7 points Mac version

Wow. This is blast from the past. used to love BroderBund games. I really wanted to try this and its sea version again. Thanks for providing the link. Can you advise how to play it on windows 8? Is there an emulator or a simple way to load the game and play without bugs?

Thanks a bunch.

Fucking Animals in their asses 2013-02-26 -17 points DOS version

This game makes my sack hard and allows me to cum buckets.

guest 2012-10-03 0 point DOS version

Review of The Ancient Art of War for DOS:

Aviad 2012-05-22 1 point DOS version

I spent most of my time on this game back in the 80s. Brilliant !!!

Ray 2011-11-22 1 point DOS version

One of the best games ever. The origin of the RTS gaming.

Rogueci5 2009-07-11 1 point DOS version

This game is one of the Classics! 8 /10

Alex 2008-10-08 1 point DOS version

This is the best RTS game ever made and no one has the hindsight to remake it?

Joe M 2008-06-06 0 point DOS version

Oh man I used to love this game back in the day. Could be the original RTS game.

Mike 2008-05-09 0 point DOS version

I absolutely love this game.

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Download The Ancient Art of War

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DOS Version

DownloadCGA Version English version 152 KB DownloadEGA Version English version 261 KB ManualEnglish version 9 MB

Game Extras

Various files to help you run The Ancient Art of War, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.

RefcardEnglish version 951 KB

Mac Version

Amiga ROM

Amstrad CPC Version

Apple II Version

PC-88 Version

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