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Subject: 5-Player session from 1994 rss

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Phil Alberg
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I am donating my copy of the game to a charity auction, and while sifting through the box I discovered this session report from 1994.


Five Shogunators (Greg, Joe, John, Pete, Phil) convened at the Casa del Joey y Donner on January 29 to play a game of History of the World (HotW). The game began at 12:33, and concluded at 6:15, with a half-hour break for lunch.

The game was won by Joe, whose commie-red counters occupied much of Africa and the Middle East for most of the game. The consensus was that HotW is a lot of fun, and is certainly more fun than watching the Super Bowl.

Rules Summary
In a nutshell, each player controls one of seven empires in each of seven epochs, with each turn consisting of one epoch. The weakest player (in terms of strength) draws an empire card, then decides whether to pass it or keep it. If a player was already passed an empire, then he must pass the empire he draws. By the empire order of appearance, armies, fleets, capitals, and forts are played onto the board, with the goal being to maximize victory points (VP, which are earned for occupying areas, capitals, cities, monuments, and seas). A monument may be built if the current empire controls two resource centers, so it is desirable to occupy lands with resource centers. Once played, a counter is no longer moved (unless to remove it from the board). Victory points are earned for lands occupied by both present and past empires, so if an empire remains stable, it continues to earn points in subsequent turns. Conflicts are resolved as a player is placing counters on the board; the attacker rolls two dice, the defender one, with the highest number winning (ties are re-rolled). The defender rolls two dice if the attack is made over difficult terrain, and adds one to the die roll if a fort is present. Each player also has nine event cards that may be played (max of 2 per turn) that change the circumstances for that turn (such as disasters that destroy monuments, leaders that allow the attacker to roll three dice, minor empires that earn additional points, etc.).

Epoch I
Pete passed the Aryans (Strength = ST = 5) to John, Phil kept the Shang Dynasty (4 ST), John passed Egypt (5 ST) to Joe, Joe passed the Minoans (4 ST) to Pete, and Greg kept the Indus Valley (4 ST). Babylonia (4 ST) was not played. Joe was first to play, and gained 12VP with the aid of some event cards. Pete played next, and successfully destroyed Joe's capital in the Nile Delta, and earned 6VP. Greg then played, and carved out a nice niche in India worth 5VP. Phil then played, and with the help of a Trade event, made his mark in China for 7VP. John played last, and since he had no capital, managed only 3VP.
=-=-=-=-=
VP Total: Joe = 12 Phil = 7 Pete = 6 Greg = 5 John = 3
Strength: John = 5 Joe = 5 Greg = 4 Pete = 4 Phil = 4

Epoch II
Phil kept Persia (15 ST). Pete kept the Greek City States (9 ST). Greg passed the Scythians (7 ST) to Joe. Joe passed Assyria (8 ST) to John. John passed Cathaginia (8 ST) to Greg. Chou Dynasty (6 ST) and the Vedic City States (6 ST) were not played. John went first, and occupied a good portion of the Middle East to earn 15VP. Pete played next, and succeeded in occupying parts of Southern Europe to earn 23VP. Joe then played, and defeated most of John's Assyrians to earn 12VP. Greg then played, and blitzkrieged across Africa to earn 18VP. Phil played last, and occupied parts of the Middle East and India, and all of China, to earn 24VP.
=-=-=-=-=
VP Total: Phil = 31 Pete = 20 Joe = 24 Greg = 23 John = 18
Strength: Phil = 19 John = 13 Pete = 13 Greg = 12 Joe = 12

Epoch III
It was during this turn that things started to get interesting. Joe kept Macedonia (20 ST). Greg kept the Romans (25 ST, largest in the game). Pete passed Maurya (10 ST) to Phil. John passed Hsiung-Nu (7 ST) to Pete. Phil passed the Sassanids (9 ST) to John. The Celts (8 ST) and the Han Dynasty (12 ST) were not played. Joe played first, and rampaged through Northern and Southern Europe to earn 20VP. Not quite the way Alexander the Grape went, but Joe already had dominance in the Middle East. Phil played next, and thanked Pete for his gift. The Mauryans succeeded in overtaking the rest of India and Southeast Asia, and, when combined with previous holdings in the Middle East and China, earned 39VP. LESSON#1: Never pass an empire to a player who can use it to augment their present holdings. Pete played next, and managed to take a couple of bites out of China and India to earn 14VP. Greg then played, and succeeded in controlling all of Northern Europe and most of Southern Europe. While this earned him 32VP, he might have been better off concentrating on the Middle East rather than Northern Europe, as the area was worth more points and there were more monuments to occupy. John played last, and managed to wipe out most of Joe's forces in the Middle East. At the end of the epoch, Joe had just three counters left on the board -- one from each epoch.
=-=-=-=-=
VP Total: Phil = 70 Greg = 55 Joe = 44 Pete = 43 John = 34
Strength: Greg = 37 Phil = 29 Joe = 27 John = 22 Pete = 20

Epoch IV
LESSON#2: You better maximize the VP you attain while playing the Romans, for their high strength forces you to draw either fourth or fifth for the rest of the game. Pete kept the Goths (10 ST) (probably not a good idea, for they are the third lowest in strength and have no capital). John passed the Byzantines (12 ST) to Phil. Joe passed the Guptas (8 ST) to John. Phil passed the Arabs (18 ST) to Joe (I had to, as I already had an empire). Greg kept the Khmers (5 ST). The Huns (14 ST) and T'ang Dynasty (11 ST) were not played. John played first, and wiped out most of Phil's forces to dominate India, and retained his Middle East holdings, to earn 30VP. Pete played next, and knocked the Romans out of Northern Europe to earn 18VP. Phil then played, and swept through Southern Europe to earn 26VP. Joe then played, and with the aid of some Saharan Barbarians who completely devastated Northern Africa, controlled Northern Africa and dominated the Middle East to earn 26VP. Greg played last, and took what he could in Southeast Asia to earn 19VP.
=-=-=-=-=
VP Total: Phil = 96 Greg = 74 Joe = 70 John = 64 Pete = 61
Strength: Joe = 45 Greg = 42 Phil = 41 John = 30 Pete = 30

Epoch V
At this point, Phil had strong holdings in China and India, Joe had strong holdings in Northern Africa and the Middle East, and smaller holdings were scattered for the remaining players. Pete kept the Seljuk Turks (12 ST). John passed the Sung Dynasty (9 ST) to Phil. Phil passed the Vikings (9 ST) to Greg. Greg passed the Franks (10 ST) to John. Joe kept the Holy Roman Empire (10 ST). Chola (8 ST) and the Mongols (20 ST) were not played. John played first, and dominated Northern Europe (and India from before) to earn 26VP. Greg played next, and defeated the Franks and did the Leif Erikson thing to North America to earn 27VP. Joe then played, and took over good portions of Northern and Southern Europe, and combined with this other holdings, earned 36VP. Phil then played, and managed to control China to earn 25VP. Pete played last, and chipped away at China and India to earn 16VP.
=-=-=-=-=
VP Total: Phil = 121 Joe = 106 Greg = 101 John = 90 Pete = 77
Strength: Joe = 55 Greg = 51 Phil = 50 Pete = 42 John = 40

Epoch VI
Momentum shifted this turn. John kept Spain (15 ST). Pete passed Portugal (10 ST) to Greg. Phil kept the Ming Dynasty (10 ST). Greg passed the Timurid Emir (8 ST) to Joe. Joe passed the Mughals (12 ST) to Pete. The Incas/Aztecs (4 ST) and the Ottoman Turks (15 ST) were not played. Phil went first, and secured all of China, but failed to defeat Greg's Khmers resting on China Beach, to earn 27VP. Joe went next, and dominated Eurasia, while establishing presence in India and China. This, along with his past holdings in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe, earned him a whopping 50VP! Greg then played, and broke Joe's monopoly on Northern Africa, but failed to drive him out of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. He also dominated South America, and earned 26VP. During his turn, while everyone was giving him advice on how to attack Joe, Greg actually said "Let's do what John said". This may be the first recorded instance in which he has agreed with John. Next, John tried a questionable attack on Brazil (losing more men than he gained with his expansion event card), and failed to do much damage to Joe. Thanks to previous holdings he earned 37VP. Pete played last, and managed to take most of Eurasia and part of China to earn 21VP.
=-=-=-=-=
VP Total: Joe = 156 Phil = 148 Greg = 127 John = 127 Pete = 98
Strength: Joe = 63 Greg = 61 Phil = 60 John = 55 Pete = 54

Epoch VII
The last epoch. Pete passed Germany (10 ST) to Greg. John passed the Manchu Dynasty (12 ST) to Joe. Phil kept Britain (20 ST). Greg passed Russia (12 ST) to John. Joe passed the Netherlands (8 ST) to Pete. France (15 ST) and the United States (10 ST) were not played. John went first, and attempted to sweep through Eurasia and Northern Europe. He played a leader card, entitling him to roll three dice when attacking. However, his leader must have been Ivan the Terrible-dice-roller; the only way to lose a leader card is by rolling triples, and John lost it on his first attack in the worst possible way -- by rolling triple ones! His remaining attacks (except those against Pete's forces in the Rhine, who tormented John for 5 or 6 attack rounds) were successful, and he earned 45VP. Joe went next, and managed to occupy enough of China and Eurasia to earn 44VP. Pete then played, and dominated Northern Europe to earn 29VP. Phil then played, and expended many forces trying to dominate Northern Europe. He also took North America and Australia, and won back lands to control China, to earn 39VP. In hindsight, I should have attacked Joe's lands in Southern Europe and the Middle East, where tons-o-monuments could have been conquered. Greg, seeing that it was inconceivable that he would win, abstained from taking his turn. It should be noted that the Sumarians, a neutral empire played at the beginning of the game, survived with one counter in the Upper Tigris.
=-=-=-=-=
VP Total: Joe = 200 Phil = 187 John = 172 Greg = 127 Pete = 128
Strength: Phil = 80 Joe = 75 John = 75 Greg = 71 Pete = 62


Observations
1. The way to truly maximize points is to control the empire that enters last in one epoch and the empire that enters first in the next epoch, especially if the first epoch is 3-6. If you can score well in the first epoch, then you get the same score plus additional points you attain with the next empire. Joe essentially did this between epochs IV and V, as he scored well at the end of epoch IV, the players who went first in epoch V did not attack him, and he added to his point total in epoch V. You can't plan on this, but it's a killer if you can pull it off.

2. Phil maintained strong command of China throughout the game because he was the only player to use empires that started in China. The only empires that encroached were those that started in Eurasia, but Phil always managed to come back as another Chinese empire and re-establish his dominance.

3. It is important to occupy at least one land in each area, as you get the presence points (1, 2, 3, or 4) for a single unit. Joe was a master at this.

4. Next time, each player will be required to count their own VP totals at the end of his turn. I felt like an accountant all day, which isn't much fun.

5. I suggest that, when tallying VP, we use the Area VP Chart as a reference and go left to right counting all VP for a given area, and at the end adding points for seas. This method should ensure that all VP get counted.

6. Players should read all of their Event cards before starting play. Certain cards, such as those which allow you to expand into unoccupied territories, are best played during the beginning epochs, while others, such as leaders, are nice to hold onto until you get an empire with a strong force.
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