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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 Players
12+ 3-6

Designer(s): Steve Kendall, Gary Dicken

Manufacturer(s): Hasbro, Avalon Hill

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  • Please note that due to manufacturer restrictions, we are unable to ship HASBRO products outside the United States.

Product Description

History of the World is a 3 to 6 player game that recreates the major empires of the world through seven Epochs (rounds), starting with ancient Sumeria and ending with World War I. During an Epoch, each player plays an empire trying to assert its might. Empires expand, then slowly fade during later Epochs.

History of the World was one of the most popular games published by Monarch Avalon Hill and one of the most requested remakes for us. We have worked with the original inventors to shorter gameplay, balance Epochs, and provide a more challenging game to new and old players alike. We have also added plastic armies (seven different types), plus plastic monuments, capitals, and forts for a visually stunning game.

Product Awards

Deutscher Spiele Preis
9th place, 1993

Product Information


  • 20" x 30" Gameboard
  • 3 Card Decks:
    • 49 Empires (7 each of 7 Epochs)
    • 22 Greater Events
    • 49 Lesser Events
  • 7 Historical Armies:
    • Egyptian
    • Persian
    • Roman
    • Byzantine
    • Mongols
    • Spanish
    • British
  • 30 Plastic Capitals/Cities
  • 32 Plastic Forts
  • 36 Plastic Monuments
  • 12 Coins/Fleets
  • 8 Pre-eminence Markers
  • Score Charts
  • 5 Dice
  • Cardboard storage container

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5 in 15 reviews

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Great! Great! Great!
August 06, 2004

I bought this game after bad expirience with Lord of the Rings, so, because the price isn't low, I thought about it for a long time. So decided to buy it, and I can say, I'm not dissapointed.

The concept of the game is great. I won't forget the first game we played; at the first epoch, we were all confused and didn't know what to do, but later on, we all understood everything. So, it isn't very hard to learn. In the same game, I was on last place for long time, but then I got 20 armies in one of the epoches, and I took the lead. This is the second good side of the game: everybody can win.

The monuments, cities, capitals and forts make the game more interesting, so I don't have anything to say against this game. If every game would be so perfect, I would buy more board games.

Great fun
January 21, 2003

One of my all -time favorites. Educational too, as you learn about tons of major and minor powers throughout the course of history, and see which dominated their epochs and to what extent. What's particularly fun is to see how the players rewrite history inside the mechanics of the game-- like Portugal conquering Europe instead of colonizing the New World. Lots of options, lots of fun, lots of rivalry and treachery, and constant interaction among all involved. A must-have for anyone with the time to play.

variants? These are great!
October 05, 2002

Read the other reviews, you know that this game is very fun, but what to do to make it better?

The only things that bothered me about it were:

Why spend an army point on a fort in a game with less than 5 players when it is more advantageous to just expand?...

Instead of building a monument, I have made a house rule that one may build a fort instead. Since we count monuments as 2 points instead of one, this is a great trade off.

Why, in the advanced rules, would I triple-up or even double-up the army count in a territory when those troops are better used expanding your epoch's empire?...

Instead of making it a straight two or three armies in a land that ablate through attack by enemies, count each additional army past the first as a +1 to defense rolls. Maximum armies in a land are still three. BUT... if your multiple armies are defeated, you lose all three, (or two).

Now this rule works well with my last house rule...

To give the defender more of a role in the game, you may decide as a defender to retreat instead of rolling. If you have an adjacent army to the defender from the same empire and epoch, and the space it occupies does not yet have three armies in it, you may move into it and relinquish the contested land to the aggressor. This bolsters a defensive postion without affecting your own score for the Epoch. I find that this gives the players who aren't playing out their Empires something strategic to do on an enemy's turn.

This game is great, have fun.

Still One of the Very Best
August 31, 2002

I already bought this game about ten years ago, first the original from Ragnar Brothers (with a 'cloth' as gaming board), then the second edition by the old Avalon Hill. Some days ago we also bought the third version by the New Avalon Hill. I only tell you this so you would know that we're really hooked on the game.

In this third version we were happily surprised by the fine quality of the plastic pieces (one typical for each epoch) and the overall huge content of gaming material in the box. One lesser positive point is that the colour of the different regions on the gaming board could have been more luckily chosen. I mean that some colours are too much alike, a difficulty especially by neon light. But that's the only thing that could have been better.

The rules itself are explained very clearly, much less confusing to non gamers than the rules in the old Avalon Hill classic of the same name. There are also some improvements made to the original, including the event cards. Those are neatly balanced, although some are - of course - more powerfull than others. But that's no disadvantage, because it's extremely important to know exactly WHEN to play them. There is also a basic version of the game and a version for experienced players. Just begin with the basic version (which is very good in its own way) and then go over to the experienced version if you feel ready for it. Although this is no necessity, because the game is already very good in its basic version.

This is a 'must have' for every serious gamer, it HAS to be a part of your gaming collection. And this is the case for non wargamers and wargamers alike! We played it numerous times and in our gaming collection (we own almost 600 games) it is still on our list of top five games. The fact that this new version is also extremely beautiful to look at, can even enhance its already big popularity among (avid) gamers a few steps more. Or isn't that possible with a game already very high among most gamers favourites?

So FIVE BIG STARS to this 'jewel'!

Best World Conquer game Ever made!
June 05, 2002

Must have game! I hve no regrets about buying it! I had played it at my uncles house along time ago. Ive been searching for the game ever since! I played the game as soon as i got it. Iplayed through and was surprised it had benn 5 hours! Good price, to.

A True Classic and Fun to Play
February 02, 2002

I do save 5 star ratings for only the best games. This game is a true classic. Most of the highlights have been covered in the other reviews. However, I will restate the fact that this game does a great job of somewhat balancing the players throughout the epochs. In most cases, the leader at the end of one round, ends up with a lesser empire for the next. This allows players in last place the opportunity to catch up at almost any time. The replay value is great, as well. My gamimg group has played this game 20+ times and it is still a great game to base an evening around. I will say that this game creates a lot of thinking, sometimes resulting in long turns. But so much happens in an epoch, that this is to be expected. I have found that more players seems to be more entertaining than few. Also, game sessions seem to average around a few hours. To conclude, this is a great addition to your gaming collection and ranks with Settlers as one of my all time favorite.

Excellent tactical game with high replayability
January 22, 2002

This is truly a remarkable game. At its heart, History of the World is a simple conquest game like Risk. What sets it apart, though, are several random factors that alter the way the game progresses, keeping players engaged throughout the game and also making each new game somewhat fresh and interesting.

First and foremost, players receive a new empire to control at the beginning of each of the seven Epochs. What this means is that a player's strength varies throughout the game. The lowest-scoring player at the beginning of each Epoch is the first to draw an empire card. He can either keep it for himself, or give it to one of the other players. Players then continue this process in ascending score order. This most often results in the current leader getting a weak empire for that Epoch (since he draws last), which helps balance out the player strengths a bit. There is also a good strategic choice to be made with this mechanism: the empires take their turns in a fixed order in each Epoch. Going last in one Epoch and then first in the next means you will get to score your empire twice before anyone else can take territories away from you to reduce your score. So, while the first empire in an Epoch may not be the most powerful, you still may want to keep it for this reason. There is a lot of fun, agonizing decisions made each Epoch as players try to balance going early in the turn versus getting a more powerful empire.

The second random factor is the event cards. There are 71 different cards, and only 10 are dealt out to each player. The event cards do everything from giving a player more armies or enhanced combat capabilities for a turn, to wreaking large-scale destruction via a plague. The variety of ways that these cards can be combined and utilized results in very different effects each game.

The last major random factor is the combat system itself. Like in Risk, getting several bad die rolls in a row can ruin any emperor's plans for domination, and a single territory that manages to resist capture can prove to be a stepping stone to a counter-invasion in the next turn.

I am enamored with the game's mechanics, obviously. But the real point to be made is that History of the World is a lot of fun to play. The random elements keep things interesting right up until the end of the game. There is room for negotiation and diplomacy, which can be a lot of fun. Neither of these factors overpowers sound tactical decisions and planning, however, so winning is usually a matter of skill (making the most of what you have), not luck.

The low complexity of the rules means the game can be enjoyed by both kids and adults, and it is a reasonable family game if you can spare the time (game length is about an hour per player). Although some people may not like conquest games, History of the World is a bit different in that it isn't too personal. You expand your empire as best you can, score your position, and then move on. Unlike Risk, you start in different locations each Epoch, so it often doesn't make any sense to 'pick on' a particular player or foster a perpetual war with someone. This aspect of the game increases its appeal, especially with people who do not like overt confrontation.

I heartily recommend History of the Word. The historical theme is very well done and adds richness to the game that is not often found. It has a nice balance of tactics and luck that keeps things interesting while rewarding good game play. Well worth the time investment to play it.

A Classic Game Finally Makes Prime Time!
November 15, 2001

This game is one of the best of the Civilization-genre games ever made. Hasbro took it from its cardboard pieces to the high production level it deserves. Those who call it 'complicated' are mixing up depth with width. The rules are simpler than most games of its type. The play and the scoring are a different story. While snob gamers will sink for nothing less than Advanced Civilization or Britannica, and family gamers will say it's as hard as splitting the atom with a toothbrush, the fact is this may be the best game of its type, with a relatively smooth system of play. It is exciting, despite its length. It hasn't received the attention it truly deserves.

Great Game for a large group of Hard Core Gamers
August 24, 2001

Played this game last night. Had 6 people playing. First time playing for 4 of us. Started at 7 PM and finished at 1:30 AM. We were all shocked at the lateness of the hour--we hadn't looked at the clock the whole time we were playing.

Very engrossing game. Very dependent on luck. Each player draws a card and plays a different empire in each of 7 turns, called 'Epochs'. On a player's turn, he conquers as much as he can and scores points for areas occupied, monuments, cities, etc. both for his current empire and any survivors from prior Epochs. Event cards add additional, fun random-factors. Must buy for hard core gamers with historical bent who don't mind wild randomness. Wouldn't be much fun with fewer than 4 players. Not for serious strategists.

One of the best Civ games
July 11, 2001

Since the introduction of Civilization back in the very early 1980's (if memory serves), there has been a bit of an explosion in the sub-genre of empire-building games. The original, with its Advanced Civilization expansion, set the standard. Other games that have followed and made good showings of themselves have included [page scan/se=0874/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Tigris & Euphrates, Vinci, La Citta, and History of the World. All these games set a higher precedent on building your empire over trashing the opponent's.

History of the World is one of the most literal of this genre, using actual historical empires from many different eras of human history. Gameplay is quite abstract, but a number of event cards give it a sense of historical flavor.

This recently released edition is a joy to behold, with scads of miniatures for each era, each in bright, easy-to-identify colors. While the game is by no means a quick play, it is not an all-night event like its venerable ancestor.

Recommended for the serious strategy gamer.

a game for those who love the history and not too long games
July 07, 2001

I'll order this game as soon as it is released since I like History of the World so much. I've heard that it's not a long game like Diplomacy (which may take days) and [page scan/se=0431/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Axis and Allies (which is too complicated and needs 4 - 10 hours to complete).

History of the World is a fast, fun game. It's like the classical game, Risk, but more fun.

by Rich
Good fun game
January 15, 2004

This game can be fun for the entire family. Educational for kids, good play for adults, not too long of a game either (once everyone knows how to play) My only beef with the game is that there is a bit too much of a luck factor in the game. Otherwise this is a solid game everyone can enjoy

RISK with a script
August 28, 2001

History of the World really is a fast, fun wargame. Its only weakness is a slight lack of interaction and freedom. Games sometimes feel like a series of seven puzzles rather than a single campaign. Players can't really move or plot against each other over the long haul, and troops from previous epochs become mere placeholders after their turn is done.

Still, there's lots of strategy, fighting, and conquering to keep armchair generals happy. Not to mention hundreds of little soldiers and buildings to play with. Cool.

A good game, made a bit worse
September 06, 2001

The problem with History of the World has always been its playing time. It's much like the 'classic' American boardgames where you do something on your turn and then wait forever until it's your turn again. Very [page scan/se=0033/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Risk-like, with a touch of the ebb and flow of Civilization or, more recently, Vinci.

In its past incarnation (Avalon Hill, not Ragnar Brothers), it was about as well done as you could expect. It still took about 3 hours longer than a game should take, but at least the board looked good. You could be in epoch VI and easily see the few remaining epoch II counters strewn about the board and imagine some ancient civilization not yet encroached upon by modern hordes.

But the new offering makes it much more difficult to recognize the epochs. There's no bold, emblazoned Roman numeral to tell which epoch is which--only some little figurines which I call 'sword men,' 'guy goose-stepping,' or 'man with little knife.' Nothing about them jumps out at me as being of epoch IV or epoch VI. They're just pretty little army men.

So, in attempting to make the game prettier, the components became much less useful (in game terms). Had Hasbro spent more time on the re-development end and less on the figurine side, they could have found a way to scale back the game to a 'short' four hours. As it stands, their few rules changes may have turned a six hour game into a five-and-three-quarter hour game. That gain is more than offset by the less obvious playing pieces.

Interesting, but laborous
October 11, 2004

I was fascinated by the idea of History of the World, especially having enjoyed similar- themed games in the past (Advanced Civilization, Age of Renaissance, Vinci). But I think HotW is a distinctly inferior game, because the execution is needlessly complex. There are incredibly many specialized cards and units, and the game takes hours and hours (the first time we played, it lasted about 10 hours--really!). And ultimately it seemed that the game devolved into Risk. The player whose turn it was would sweep his armies across the map and gain tons of points while everybody else sat around bored; then the next player would come and do the same thing. And, oh yeah, there is a ton of dice- rolling.

Anyway, it's a neat idea for a game--a pleasing variant on a tried-and-true theme-- but I think the makers of the game went overboard and the result is an inferior product.

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