If you love a good blast from the past, these history board games are the perfect additions to your shelf! Some of them test your knowledge of days gone by, while others are an excellent springboard to learning more about eras and cultures. Whichever type of game you're in the mood for, these history board games offer fun and engaging options for every age and interest level.
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The concept of this cooperative game is simple enough to master in minutes. One player chooses a card from the deck of gorgeously illustrated historical figures. They mix that card with others from the deck and lay them out on the table. Then, they give clues using other cards from their hand, all based on whether the other figures are similar to or different from their chosen character. The other players work together to eliminate cards one by one, until they guess the correct figure (or not!). This quick game definitely requires some knowledge about the historical figures included, along with strategy and quick thinking. (2+ players, ages 8+)
This is one of those history board games that's become a classic since its release in 1991. Each epic session of this game spans the history of the world from the early days of civilization through the recent past. Players strive to take command of historic civilizations and keep other out of their territories, working to build the biggest empires. Plan to set aside several hours (at least) for this one. (3-6 players, ages 14+)
7 Wonders is one of the most popular history board games, with more than one thousand 5-star reviews on Amazon! Once you've mastered the rules, you can play a round in half an hour, and it's easy enough for kids to get in on the fun. Each player takes on the role of the leader of one of seven ancient cities. Throughout three "ages" (rounds), each leader plays six cards to amass points by gathering resources, developing trade, and building their military strength. At the end of the three ages, the player with the most points wins! You don't need a lot of history knowledge to play this one, but it's likely to spark an interest in learning more about these times and places. (3-7 players, ages 10+)
You'll need some knowledge of historical dates to succeed at this game, but that won't necessarily guarantee you a win! After all, you may know Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in 1863, but do you know whether decaffeinated coffee was invented before or after that? These are the skills you'll need to build your chronological timeline of 10 cards to win the game. Quick to learn, with lots of replayability, Chronology is a game any history lover will enjoy. (2+ players, ages 12+)
World Fairs were once some of the greatest spectacles around. People from around the world came together in one city to display the best their cultures had to offer. In this game, you'll work as one of the 1893 World Fair organizers, attempting to build the grandest exhibits and establish the best reputation. You'll definitely learn as you play, since real historical figures like Frederick Law Olmstead and Ida B. Wells are there to help you along the way, and cards feature actual exhibits, buildings, and artwork from the fair. (2-4 players, ages 10+)
Civilizations rise and fall throughout history, and throughout this game. Each player is the leader of their own civilization, carrying it through six rounds of game play that span the ages. Through careful strategy, players work to keep their civilization strong—or decide it's time to let it fall so another can arise. Unlike many other civilization games, this one takes only about 30 minutes to play. There's a solo variant too, so you you can enjoy it on your own. (1-4 players, ages 10+)
Naval history buffs, this one's for you! Play as the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, or become an adventurous pirate as you battle it out on the high seas. In this fast-paced 2-player game, each side plays one card at a time, representing historical events, battles, or actions. Choices become more limited as the game proceeds, with players competing to capture gold, ships, and allies before the war ends. (2 players, ages 14+)
Edison and Tesla are two of the most fascinating and influential names in history. Their battle for electric supremacy in the "War of the Currents" changed the very way we live, then and now. Choose the famous scientist you'll play, then outbid each other as you attempt to recruit others and leverage their technologies alongside your own. Build your way across the map, spreading propaganda and establishing a strong reputation to attempt to claim victory. Fans of STEM history will get a real buzz out of this one! (2-5 players, ages 14+)
For those who can't get enough of political scandal, past or present, Watergate gives you a chance to get in on the game. Two players go head-to-head, one as a journalist and the other playing the Nixon administration. Through card-based play, each tries to outwit the other. The journalist works to connect two informants to the president by a trail of evidence. The Nixon administration does their best to downplay the allegations at every turn, attempting to ride things out until the scandal dies down. (2 players, ages 12+)