Grant Whitton
United Kingdom
Edinburgh
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The session : 4 players - 3 of whom have played History of the World (Avalon Hill) and me who has never played.

Rules : I felt these were poor. The component list doesn't tell you how many of each piece there should be. The Area Value chits are supposed to be placed 'face down' without telling you what is the 'face' and what the 'back'. Each player gets a Leader and a Weaponry card from the Event card deck ... actually these cards are marked 'Initial Events' but the rules don't say that. Area Values are to be placed in the appropriate area circles - but it doesn't say 'face' up or down. There's no real explanation of what the symbols on the Empire cards mean - so when told to put the number of armies onto the army space of your Array its not apparent how many to put. A monument can be built when you take control of pairs of resource symbols - the rules don't tell you what these are and whether this is 'any' pair or the pair in each region (although Australia only has one). The rules are very unclear about how Event cards are played and how long they last ... You may play any number of Event Cards during your turn , Only one may be 'in play' at any one time , Some allow the Event to be used continuously. Aaargh! Bonus tokens - the player with most Gold picks up the three tokens 'selects' a token and passes the rest on - is this a blind selection or can you look at them ?

This lack of clarity in the rules meant that when I tried to play singly as a learning exercise I was pretty stumped. Some things I worked out for myself logically or by putting two-and-two together after reading the ruleset as a whole, but others needed to be explained by my buddies who had played 'History' before. I'm pretty cool with most rulesets but there were multiple frustrations with these that set my opinion back a bit.

Card Stock : The Empire cards have a grey background and the Yellow empire in each Epoch is printed in a washy yellow on this grey background which makes it almost impossible to read.

Okay - that's got the grumpy old man bit out of the way.

I really enjoyed this game. This was our first play and we finished it in around 3h15m so we'd expect to knock up to 1/2 hour off that next time. I managed to go the whole game without picking up a single Bonus chit , and the leader won by a mile. I think a second play would yield a much closer result. My buddies all said that the slimming down of mechanisms made it flow more easily than the original. Still , that's 6 turns (epochs) in around 3 hours - early turns were quick, later turns were slow (40-45 mins). Plenty of down time for making cups of tea and drinking whisky. It's an 8/10 rating from me (now I know how to play it) , keen to play again but with limited opportunity due to the play length.
 
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I just read the rules too, and I agree that they were terrible. Let's see what happens when we play this for the first time...
 
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