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History of the World
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History of the World

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Product Awards:  
Deutscher Spiele Preis
9th place, 1993

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 180-270 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Steve Kendall, Gary Dicken

Manufacturer(s): Avalon Hill

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Product Description

What do Hammurabi, Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible and Napoleon all have in common? They all appear heading the dominant cultures of their time in this game of world conquest.

History of the World traces the progress of mankind from the dawn of civilization to the threshold of modern times. One is reminded of the flickering passage of centuries in H. G. Wells' classic Time Machine as the history of mankind unfolds before your eyes in a few scant hours. Starting 5,000 years ago with the ancient Sumerians, a succession of 49 empires rise and fall with the rapidly passing centuries across the entire width of the globe in a panoramic view of the history of man.

This is a game of world conquest with a difference. No single power can conquer the world. Instead, each player commands seven different empires -- one per Epoch -- during their all too brief day in the sun. Each, in turn, rises to its fullest height of power only to fall before the sands of time and the next emerging, dominant nation. Empires vie with armies and fleets to spread their culture and build lasting monuments to their glory. But events such as earthquakes, civil wars, barbarians, plague, treachery, and great enemy leaders conspire to tear asunder past achievements.

History of the World is an extremely easy game to learn, but difficult to master. When all the on-board generalship and maneuvering as said and done, the game is really won in the seven Empire Distribution rounds wherein each player draws the next Empire card and decides to keep what he's drawn or pass it to another player in hopes of being passed a better one. Simple? It would seem so, but the factors influencing that decision are myriad. Strength, order of appearance, geographic location, the current score, Event cards, the current holding of the leader, and the remnants of past holdings all play a role in making a simple decision to pass or play an Empire card truly an agonizing one.

Every corner of the globe is included -- from the Minoans of Crete to China's Chou Dynasty, from Alexander the Great's Macedonia to the Guptas of India, from the exotic Khmers of Southeast Asia to the fanatic Arabs at the height of their power. Mongols, Aztecs, Zulus, Vikings, and even the American Indians play their roles right up to the emerging colonial powers of the 19th century. And, unlike other games of its ilk, History of the World is easily playable in an evening and suitable fare for the entire family. You will learn more in one game of History of the World than in an entire semester of World History.

Product Awards

Deutscher Spiele Preis
9th place, 1993

Product Information


  • 1 6-page illustrated rules folder
  • 1 6-page illustrated sample game
  • 1 32 x 22 in. mounted mapboard
  • 1 plastic counter tray
  • 4 sheets of die-cut playing pieces
  • 5 6-sided dice
  • 48 Empire cards
  • 64 Event cards

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 5 in 2 reviews

"History" should repeat itself
November 05, 2000

I sure am glad I purchased this game when it first came out. Let's hope Hasbro has enough sense to put it back on the market. It is one of my all-time favorite games.

To me, the game is far more interesting and challenging then Axis and Allies or Risk. A neat twist is the ability to assign civilizations (armies) to your opponents at the start of each round.

Certainly the playing pieces/map could be improved to make the game more visually appealing, but for those used to the Avalon Hill approach to games it isn't difficult to get used to.

It does take a while to play (2-4 hours) but once players are familiar with the game, it plays more quickly and the resolutions of territorial battles keeps everyone involved.

Definitely good entertainment for an evening.

"History of the World" Shouldn't be History
June 29, 2000

This is a classic game with simple rules and a reasonable length of time. While the rules keep the game close until the end, those who think that luck is the major factor in the game should put theie money on the table and see what happens. I was hoping this would be one of the first games Hasbro does, plastic monuments and well done markers like Axis and Allies would improve this game greatly. For those who play it, no convincing is needed. For those who haven't, no description will be convincing.

In my mind it shares with Risk, Civilization, and Diplomacy, the honor of being one of the best abstract multi-player games of all time.

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