Sunday, April 27, 2008

A History of the World

Hello dear Reader!

Today I am reviewing The Avalon Hill/Hasbro game " A HISTORY OF THE WORLD!"

CREATORS: Gary Dicken and Steve Kendall

PUBLISHERS: Ragnar Games, Avalon Hill

3-6 Players, 180 Mins, Ages 12 and Up

GAME BASICS: As the game title states, A History of the World takes place on planet earth through various Epochs of its history. Players take on the roles of various empires and dynasties throughout the ages and through the waging of war, building of cities, and erecting of monuments, score points from Epoch to Epoch.

Each player chooses a colored set of soldiers, and through a half random/half strategic selection process, chooses an empire to play.

Various bonuses and penalties are applied to battle via such features as Terrain, Structures, Pawns and Cards.

The game is designed with two features that I enjoy:



Unlike a lot of games, this game has a finite amount of rounds to be played in. 7 total Epochs multiplied by the amount of players in the game. For example:

7 Epochs x 3 Players = 21 Turn to play.

7 Epochs x 6 Players = 42 Turns to play.

It also has the ability to KEEP PEOPLE IN THE GAME! Some competitive war/world expansion games can boot a player out in the first or second round, leaving them not much to do except raid the fridge or watch a movie. This is usually counter productive to a good game night.

In A History of the World, you WILL play your empire every turn. If your opponents destroy your empire completely, no fear, when the next Epoch arrives, you'll get a new empire to wage war with and gain those beloved victory points! This games scores high marks for making sure the "FUN" factor remains from start to finish!

Each Epoch end has players checking their score charts and seeing who dominated! Those who did the best receive an extra Victory Point score coin, who's value remains mysteriously hidden until the final round!

GAME DISSECTION: The guts and the glory!

ART: Rich in detail without distracting the player or making the board and pieces too busy, A History of the World is a great looking game! The BIG BOX boasts a gorgeous cover ( see above ) and fills up a shelf space nicely. You can proudly display it in your favorite game case!

PRICE: Sad to say, you're going to have to pay a pretty penny for this game brand new. Its not longer in print and the EBAY price brand new is 180.00$ + I bought mine years ago at the mall for about 60.00$.

REPLAY: I know what question you might be thinking....the collector's price.... is this game worth a dollar a minute? The answer... YES! Not just a YES! But a Tom Cruise jump up and down on the couch for Oprah YES! Calculate the fabulous art and detailed pieces, the finite rounds, the never-get-kicked-out underdog come-back factors and the mild history lessons to boot....and its not just a boardgame.... its a family/friend bonding event!

For 180.00$ or less and three hours of fun you can entertain 3-6 people. That's about the price that most people paid to have dinner, and to go see any of the Lord of the Rings movies. Most people after that had to run to the bathroom and then wait for the next movie to come out. After 4 plays of this game, you're down to .25$ per minute. Divided by 6 people, and you're almost stealing the game!

MECHANICS: In my house, I'm usually the one who reads the rules, explains them, and with the help of the rule book, makes the the judgement calls as to what is kosher or not while playing. Depending on the people you play games with , you might need the same, but by game 4....everyone from the 12 year old to your favorite Retired Lt.-Col. will know what's going on and have little or no questions other than "Can we order a pizza?"

The game keeps player interaction at a comfortable level. Many games are basically 6 people playing solitaire together, but not A History of the World. Weather you are waging war, being attacked, or planning your next moves, you should be involved through the whole game and not feel left out in any way!

Do you usually get dominated by other people in other games? A History of the World will give you the time and the means to make a dramatic comeback if you fall behind, or level the playing field so you know what its like to be the Big Dog!

FUN: The game's built-in 7 round design, means that even if you don't win at the end, chances are you'll have dominated one or two Epochs and will know the taste of victory firsthand! You'll have fun, your friends and family will have fun, and in the end, everyone should walk away saying " Good Game!"

WHO ARE YOU? The Gamer Profile:

Casual: This probably will not be your first choice in games. This game is possibly one that you'll play with someone who already owns it. You'll enjoy it, and it might even graduate you to the next level of gamedom...

ACTIVE: If you have a group of people that you regularly like to play games with, this could easily be a game you devote many, many nights and weekends to with ease. If no one in your group has a copy, check your local game store first. If they don't have it they might be able to get it at less than EBAY prices. Even if they cannot get it for less than EBAY, get it at the game store anyway!! Chances are your local store owner sponsors a gamer appreciation/loyalty plan that earns you in store credit with every purchase, and that's just a good gamer move no matter how you look at it!

GAMER: If you don't already own this game I would be very much surprised and will attribute the lack due to your school loan debts that you are paying off, or perhaps even you and your mate just had a baby. More than likely you DO own this game already and play it often. I would keep it in mind for nights where you might not be with your regular gaming group. Be the Game Meister and teach it to others, and thereby pass along the fun to people who might have otherwise gone without!

CREATOR: You could learn a lot from this game. In so many ways it stands alone as a paragon of good game design. It would be well worth your money to buy it, play it, tear it apart on the elemental gaming levels, and absorb the rich design energy that the game embodies. Its a game to emulate, not rip-off. I can honestly say, if I find out you're making games as good as this.... my money will be in your pocket, and I'll make sure other people know about it too!

FOR THE LADIES: Maybe you're just not the Pictionary type. Maybe your mate likes battle games and conquering the world....and maybe deep down you do too. This game allows anyone, to be the Matriarch or Patriarch of power!! Give your mate a run for their money.... make them sweat and see how formidable your powers truly are.... you can even let them eat cake.

ABOUT ME: I'm a Gamer, Game Designer, and above all, a good guy who loves sharing games with people! if you have any questions, write me at

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