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!