Games-night 26th November 2009 … A Brief History of the World by Ragnar Brothers
Kendall and Dicken travelled all the way to Essen, Germany to meet Rob and Katrina, only to find they live ten minutes down the road in sunny Surbiton. A knock on the door and it’s ‘Welcome!’ to their first RB Games-night. Hopefully, there will be many more to follow.
Kendall has already set-up and, after a brief demonstration of his up-lighter the game is underway. Rob and Kristina shared the same hotel (as the RBs) in Mulheim, so several evenings were spent together in the games room. They learned BHOTW on the demo stand in the Spiel Fair, so rule learning is at a minimum this evening.
Empire cards and Event cards are chosen.
Rob is first to play as there is no Sumerian empire in the mix and he has Egypt. He confidently expands his empire from the capital in Nile Delta, and builds two pyramids courtesy of the Empire feature. He also uses his Event to build a fort in Levant. He collects 4 gold for his capital and monuments, 4 gold for dominance of North Africa and 3 gold for presence in Middle East.
Meanwhile, one large packet of crisps has been binned (sell by date September – see review of Canal Mania - 2007). Another has been opened along with humus.
Rob spent just a few minutes on his turn and Katrina takes even less time on hers. The Indus Valley empire starts with two armies and only the Event (Allies) causes deliberation. Kendall’s Event is Canaanites, a kingdom that springs up in Levant and, in so doing demolishes Rob’s Egyptian fort. The Shang Dynasty is a formality. And finally, Dicken enters the fray with the Aryans. Against all expectation he sends his armies through Caucasus and Anatolia, before attacking the Cannanites. Dice are rolled and the Aryans are successful. Being barbarians, they claim 1 gold for reducing the city (one of the many new rules). The final army is used to gain mastery of the Middle East
Dicken’s points tally is considerable and he takes the best of the three Bonus tokens.
The epoch ends.
Now much of this will sound familiar to those who have played one of the earlier versions of History of the World. But this is A Brief History of the World and there are loads of changes. If you want to know about these then go to the Design Notes on this web-site.
This first epoch may take twenty minutes with first-time players, but an experienced group should breeze through in half that time. A 4-player game takes about two hours to play; earlier versions would be about an hour longer. More speed is matched by better history…. But you’ve probably just read all this. On with the game….
- Epoch 2 sees Kendall rolling desperate dice to create a pathetic Vedic empire, Katrina’s Greeks dominate the Mediterranean, Rob’s Carthaginians overtake the Greeks, Dicken’s Scythians build an even greater barbarian empire. The lead stays with Dicken.
- Epoch 3 and Rob’s inexperience allows Dicken to be first up with Maurya, claiming massive amounts of gold. Katrina takes over China with the Han Dynsaty. Rob makes a very unimpressive fist of it with the Goths, managing to roll snake eyes on two occasions! Kendall is equally useless in India (again) as the Gupta’s barely scratch the Mauryan empire. Dicken leads by 30 gold – and has three top Bonus tokens
Desperate days, call for desperate measures – or at least more crisps. Rob brought extra supplies in the form of Kettle Chips, but Katrina and Dicken are declining the nibbles. Kendall’s children will not go hungry this week.
- Epoch 4 the fight-back commences. Kendall’s Huns over-run China, before more wayward dice rolling at the gates of India (again). Katrina builds a neat and tidy Byzantine empire. Dicken conquers China with the T’ang. Rob ponders the options for the Vikings before settling them in Brazil (!). He also manages to fox the Ragnars by landing an army in Crete (only one army can use the Atlantic navigation) – typical Viking treachery. Dicken leads still, closely followed by Rob.
Rob’s pondering has slightly slowed the game but there is also a dice rolling issue. Several players are of the type that prefers to roll second, and battles where two of those types are involved take considerably longer than normal. Names will not be mentioned … on this occasion. The psychology of rolling dice is interesting and perhaps we will dwell on this longer at another time….
- Epoch 5 and Kendall is first up again. This time the Mongols are doing what they do best! Dicken’s dice rolling deserts him and Kendall’s first attack yields the maximum 8 Invasion points – Dicken hangs his head in despair – what a time to roll a one!. The T’ang are rolled up, Genghis marches into India. Turning to the West the Mongol armies crash through to Egypt (all done in four attacks and about five minutes – marvellous!). Dicken’s Portuguese add a few precious lands in different areas of the World. Katrina is more specific; the Spanish wrest control of the America’s. Rob struggles in India (again) this time with the Mughals. Kendall now leads.
- Epoch 6. Rob plays USA, Dicken next with France, Katrina has Britain, Kendall finishes with Germany.
All very close Kendall leads, then Katrina, then Rob, then Dicken. Bonus tokens and the final result is ….
1st – Rob, 2nd – Kendall, 3rd – Dicken, 4th – Katrina. The bonus tokens have done the business for Rob!
Ah, but for the failure of Germany to land in India (twice!).
Ah, but for the Vikings in Crete!!
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