Tuesday, May 16, 2006

History of the World, 15 May 2006

Dennis was kind enough to dig out his copy of Avalon Hill's History of the World (Hasbro version) and bring it to Dragon's Lair last night. I had seen the game played a few times on nearby tables over the years, and though always intrigued, I never managed to play the game. Based on random geeklists and other postings, my interest in the game has been rising recently, and I was quite surprised and pleased when Dennis suggested we play.

Chad, Dennis, Patrick (making a farewell SABG appearance), and I huddled around the colorful map of the world to guide our various civilizations through a classic epic struggle for global domination. After conducting one of the best rule explaining sessions I've witnessed, Dennis further took us to school by pulling out to a commanding lead. Chad and I were almost annihilated from the map during the first two epochs, and I was firmly in last place. Patrick put forth a solid challenge to Dennis by skillful play of the Roman juggernaut.

Eventually, after several epochs of solid three-on-one dogpiling on the leader, Patrick managed to move close to Dennis in score. However, Dennis had an impressive stack of globe victory point tokens from his early dominance, so we weren't very hopeful. The one bright spot for me was when I was dealt the Mongol Empire. Now, if you play very often with me, you may notice I am chronically afflicted with a disease called badluckitis. Not last night! My Mongol hordes charged out of the steppes to sweep the board, conquering China, Europe, India, most of the Middle East, and even getting in to Africa. I won around 20 straight battles without losing a single army. Unfortunately, this only brought me up to third place!

At this point in the evening, as we were about to enter the last epoch, I had to leave. We called the game and awarded victory laurels to Dennis, who richly deserved them for his fantastic play.

My overall impression of the game initially was sort of so-so, feeling it was like Risk, only with fewer armies and thus less fun. I also had a hard time getting over the sentimental attachment to my empires, which were vaporized each turn before my eyes by the various new kids on the block. However, as I began to see the grand sweep of the game, especially as we entered the later epochs, I gained a greater appreciation for the design. Because Dennis had an experience edge on us, I'm not sure we would have let him gain such an insurmountable lead if we had known better what we were doing. Still, by the middle of the game it did seem like we were just fighting for second place. Overall, not at all a bad American-style global dicefest of a game!


At 8:21 PM, May 16, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

By the way, Ra was just as good as everyone said it was. The hype was true! My copy arrives tomorrow. :)

I also learned I have a terrible poker face as the traitor. Michael and Patrick spotted me immediately as the Cop in Cash-n-Guns!

At 10:00 PM, May 16, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Great session report. Too bad I missed it.

At 10:25 PM, May 16, 2006, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

Little did Ben know...*nobody* was about to award me anything! So we played out the last epoch, with Michael standing in for Ben's empire choice, and the rest of us playing Ben's pieces by acclimation.

Chad drew first, and immediately said "Keep". No surprise, he had Britain.

I drew second and pulled Manchu Dynasty, which was good luck. I already controlled Northern and Southern Europe from being the Ottomans in the previous turn. With the Manchu I should be able to control China, and since they go second, as long as Russia wasn't drawn I would score Europe as well and run away with things. So I kept it. The only option was to pass it to Patrick (who already controlled China) and pray for Russia myself, but as no one would be silly enough to pass it to me unforced, that seemed a bad idea.

Michael (Ben) drew Germany, the last empire to move. As the Mongols, Ben had moved last in the previous turn, and so still had all of India and the Middle East under his thumb as described in his session report. Hoping to score those regions again before they changed hands, Michael wisely passed Germany to Patrick.

Finally Patrick pulled...Russia, which he had to pass to Ben. Sigh. Ben's forces easily swept Northern Europe (weakened by a Black Death in Epoch VI) for a massive score, followed by an even more massive score from Britain. But Patrick's German navy gave him Presence in enough regions to just stay in the lead, and having now won Epochs V through VII, he was uncatchable.

Final scores: Patrick 223, Chad 204, Ben 202, Dennis 200

The moral of the story -- no lead is safe in History of the World!

At 6:05 AM, May 17, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Holy cow! Now that's a switch. I'm sorry I missed the climactic ending. My initial post is totally bogus in its assessment of the game!

At 6:12 AM, May 17, 2006, Blogger Rick N said...

Dennis explains rules better than anyone I've ever met.

The last game of HoW I played, there was last turn, come from behind victory. I am truly sorry I missed being part of the action since this game so rarely appears.

Out of curiousity, how long did the game take?

At 9:59 AM, May 17, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I will third Dennis' fantastic rules explanation and enthusiam for gaming.

Battlestations report later...


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