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History of the World

History of the World
Year Published
Avalon Hill

In History of the World, players take control of various empires and try to score the most points by conquering land and building monuments. The game lasts for 7 turns, or epochs, from ancient history to the early 1900's.

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(Updated: April 30, 2019)
(2018 edition) I've played History of the World several times before. I've also played A Brief History of the World. But this new edition is different enough from both to warrant inclusion.

Much of the basic gameplay is the same: choosing empires, placing armies, swarming, scoring, then retiring. But some of the changes from Brief have been introduced and some new changes have been added.

There are only five eras now, fewer territories, and fewer armies. There's an absurd "catapult" component that exists just to give you bonuses on failed but continuing attacks. Caravans are like fleets, except for inaccessible areas. An interesting minor tweak to the scoring is included.

I don't remember enough about Brief History, but I remember feeling that it didn't quite measure up. If I wanted to play HOTW I wanted to play HOTW and if I wanted to play something shorter, I'd just play something else. I didn't get that feeling with this.

There's a lot of competition in this arena now, but a lot of it is caught in the "more is more" design bloat. There's definitely room for this in the mix, though. It's much more streamlined than a lot of other stuff, while still delivering a fun experience.
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Simple and fun, but long
(Updated: October 21, 2008)
It is similar to Risk, only without a lot of stuff I don't like about Risk. All players are playing until the end, it has an epic civilization-building theme, and the game has a 7 turn limit. Players gain points by amassing land, conquering cities, and building monuments for their civilization. Unlike Risk, it is hard to go attack a specific player in HotW, since you only get one civilization each turn, and it is hard to control where your civ first appears. The biggest thing that keeps this from ever being played, though, is the long play time (one to two hours per player).

As a Risk-replacement with a cooler theme, it's great, but for the amount of time needed to play, it just can't compete with AT games with more depth.
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