A fun way to learn history can be just by playing a game. That is correct. You can play a game and learn some history. And a great game to learn history with is History of the World by Avalon Hills.
I was first introduced to this game when my husband played with a few friends. We fell in love with and bought one for ourselves. We have had a great time with our children playing this game and learning much about history.
When you first open up the box, you might be slightly intimidated by all the figures in the various color sets. It seems too complicated as you begin to read the instructions, but once you figure it out it might become the greatest family game night choice.
The premise of the game is to watch the various civilizations wax and wane over the various eras of world history. All players start off with smaller empires that are limited to the central part of the board where historically civilization started. Each player is given so many cards that give them some chance outcome like a plaque or stronger armies over mountains. These cards can only be played once and some of them are restricted to specific eras so that the “reality” of play will appear in the appropriate period.
The first era might have very little action as the players put their men on the board and see if by chance any of the civilizations will butt heads in order to claim land. At the end of each turn, the points are totaled up based upon number of territories, degree of occupation, cities, capitals, and monuments. The player who goes early in the era has the advantage as later players may conquer territories but their points have already been awarded.
The players’ civilization cards comes with a little bit of a history lesson on capital, location, and leader. The players will visibly see where the empires start and the strength they had during the era. They will learn if they are strong from the sea or if they were more powerful in number.
As the game is played multiple times, discussions begin to center about the actual history of each of the empires and how it really happened. Bring children into play and learn a little through the game itself and through the discussions around the board game.
One advantage of the game is the fact that not everyone is active the entire time. When one player has taken their turn, unless they need to defend their territory through the roll of dice, they are free to take a bathroom break or just grab a snack. The disadvantage is that this is not a game that can be played in just a couple of hours. It is not uncommon for the game to be an all-nighter. So, keep that in mind.
The game is not that easy to come by except at specialty game stores, but is well worth the time and money for the fun and education that can accompany the entire family. If you see where it is priced over $100 keep looking. There are many that are priced between $40-$70.