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A Brief History of the World

with 2 comments

Five of us played A Brief History of the World in 3½ hours last night. I played it a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I didn’t want to pay a lot of money on eBay, so I have been waiting for this new version.

History of the World has been around since 1991 and has been published by four different companies. Only classics survive this many reprints.

This new version cuts a bit of playtime from previous versions. The design notes are pretty readable and worth a look.

Rather like Small World, you control several empires taking them to their decline and fall. With simple, intuitive rules you get a flavour of the entire history of the world.

We had a great game with plenty of friendly chatting and I enjoyed drawing parallels to real history – like the Arabs invading Spain or Alexander cutting a swathe through the Middle East.

Duncan remarked that the game feels like a history lesson that plays you. He wanted more strategy. I see his point, but we didn’t use forts or combine events with empires effectively. For me, long multiplayer games needs to be gentle and free-wheeling. Sitting around for hours knowing you have lost at ridiculously over-long games like Britannia or Twilight Imperium 3 is no fun.

My main complaint is that the rules were unclear. At no point is the card layout explained for example. For a game this simple, there are a few too many threads in the rules forum at the BoardGameGeek. I may put together an FAQ.

This is a game for low-brow historians like me. 9/10

Written by Iain

December 31st, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Posted in boardgames

Tagged with ,