Lisa Bromiel and Dan FitzGerald are the two-person team from Chicago-based Trichotomy Games, and they're making a game about dogsledding. If the idea of throwing biscuits to a team of pixelated malamutes isn't immediately exciting, maybe reading Brian Phillips' 20,000-word opus about the beauty, drama, and danger of the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will perk you up. Either way, check out Dog Sled Saga.

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At its most basic, Dog Sled Saga is a sports management sim: well-fed dogs are happy dogs, and happy dogs are fast dogs. Your job as benevolent taskmaster will be to hire new dogs, manage rest times, pay league dues, and guide your canine compatriots to victory. Here's the wrinkle: different dogs have different traits and personalities, and the crux of the game will be sussing out which dogs are best suited for different roles on the line. Lucy, for example, is a "strong" husky that's good at catching mid-race treats to keep her endurance up.

"I would boil it down to the non-verbal pet relationship," FitzGerald told Polygon last year. "It is absolutely about getting familiar with an animal that can't talk to you. There won't be a lot of pop-ups that tell you about your dog, but there will be signs — [this dog] is clearly running slower, so he is struggling and I need to feed him. In the race, it takes the form of your run animation and their breathing."

Meanwhile, the actual races involve hurdling obstacles, throwing Milk Bones in long, parabolic arcs at your dogs, and using their special abilities at opportune times. Smitford the German Shepard, for example, is "competitive": seeing an opposing racer triggers a speed boost, which could affect how you dole out food for the next leg of the race.

Lastly, there's a "fame" mechanic at play, too: hurdling obstacles and winning races will make your pups popular, which could lead to endorsements and sponsorships.

Perhaps thankfully, Dog Sled Saga's purview doesn't extend to full-blown roguelike survival simulation: in a promo video from last year, lead designer Dan FitzGerald mercifully explains that your pups won't be dying in the snow like exhausted horses on a forced march. That's a relief.

FitzGerald and Bromiel actually funded the game on Kickstarter over a year ago and have (presumably) been working ever since. Mum's the word on a date for the iOS release, but Dog Sled Saga has already made it through the Steam Greenlight meat-grinder, and a playable beta has been offered to Early Access buyers. At the very least, Dog Sled Saga exists in the wild, and we'll keep you apprised of new info as we (hopefully) move closer to a release date.

  • rewind

    If you put "saga" at the end of the name, you're only asking for trouble. There is no reason that this game needs the word "saga" unless they are trying to show up in search results. Unlike "candy," this word is a huge staple in King games, and it's not as common. So I believe that the trademark should be enforced, especially against games like these.

    • Pete Osborne

      Really? You're actually fighting King's corner in this? It's a PC game first and foremost, the last thing it will be trying to do is ride off on Candy Crush's coattails; that would be the best way to get it laughed off Steam.

      Besides, the use of saga is meant to infer the epic scale of the distance you cross and the progress you make in-game as you gain experience and skill. King's use of the word Saga is unknown to me, there's very little grand in scale about matching sweets. Dawn of the Plow shows that they're a dev to watch so I'm not sure what "games like these" is meant to suggest.

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    • Stormourner

      oh like give us a break will ya!!! you must know there are games with the word "saga" came out long before Candy Crush Saga. go to mobygames and search for the saga and see it for yourself

  • NOEN

    I've been waiting for this game for what seems like forever now. Can't wait until it hits iOS.

    Haha, Oh, and King does not own the word "Saga". Like Pete said, the LAST thing these guys want to do is ride on the coat tails of King and their Match 3 games.

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