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A Brief History of the World
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A Brief History of the World

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Ages Play Time Players
14+ 90-180 minutes 3-6

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  • WARNING: Choking Hazard - Small Parts

Product Description

A Brief History Of The World is just that: a sweeping ride through the history of mankind in the space of just a few hours. The game features fifty of the mightiest Empires ever known, from the dawn of Civilisation through to the Twentieth Century -- Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece and Imperial Rome, the Huns and Mongols, the Arabs and the Ottoman Turks, the dynasties of China and kingdoms of India, Incas and Aztecs, Portugal and Spain, France, Britain amd Germany. Can you take on the mantle of Alexander or Caesar, Genghis Khan or Napoleon? Can you write your name into the pages of history and lead your Empires to victory?

Product Information


  • Giant Map Board
  • 180 plastic playing pieces
  • 130 card counters
  • 42 Empire cards
  • 54 Event cards
  • 6 Epoch maps
  • 1 Epoch chart
  • 1 Array board
  • 6 Dice

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.6 in 18 reviews

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by Rick
Kudos for BRIEF History of the World
January 24, 2010

Loved the original version of History of the World, but only played about an average of once every other year - rarely had time to invest 7 hours plus in a game. Played Brief History 2x in 2 weeks. First time out of the box took a little over 3 hours w/3 players - including unpacking, reading rules and stopping every time a new scenario came up to doublecheck the rules. One week later, same 3 players finished in about 2 hours. I can see this remaining a family top five for a long time.

PRO's - shorter/faster playing time than original, keeps you thinking and on your toes. Not having different sets of armies for each epoch MAJOR plus. Epoch by Epoch distribution of event cards also an improvement.

CON's - rulebook is sometimes unclear/ambiguous, I really miss the chart on the board showing value of each area in each epoch - lack of chart gives experienced players major advantage over newbies in trying to think 2 and 3 epochs ahead. Also, if you lose an area value token there is no place to reference the info. There should also be more copies of the Empire Charts for each epoch - I suggest making copies.

Overall, printed materials/game pieces give too much advantage to experienced players which may limit ability to retain/attract new players to your circle of gamers.

Suggestion - Make a few crib sheets for new players to level the field, this will also decrease "downtime" in allocation phase of each epoch and allow players to expand with an eye to remaining on the board (for instance, a list of where future empires will have their start lands to avoid concentrating monuments and/or forts in a location where you will be automatically displaced next epoch).

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.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
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.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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