As an adult, history has become one of my favorite subjects, and I'm always amazed by all the new things I learn. However, not all children have the same love of history as their homeschooling moms, but that's okay. There are so many ways we can make history exciting, and one of of the quickest ways to make it fun is through history games.
From Archaeology to World War II, there is a game that will make history tangible in a way books never can. So on the next rainy afternoon when you all need a break, find a new history game to take your gameschool to a new level.
The Wide Sweep of History
First, let's start with the games that provide a look at the broad sweep of history. These are games that focus on the big picture of history or archaeology.
Timeline Classic is one of our favorite games, and I was worried it would lose its play value after just a few games, but it can still throw us for a loop even after many plays. There are other versions such as Timeline Inventions and Timeline Events that would be great additions to your game rotation.
The Brain Box World History Game is another game which has a focus on the significant inventions and monuments in world history. This is so much more than a board game. The primary way to play is as a concentration type of game where everyone must study the card and then see who can recall the most facts from memory. However, these are such great cards, packed with information, and you could use these as sources of copywork or facts for notebooking.
With the History of the World Game, you command the great empires of history and compete by best utilizing your civilizations unique characteristics. What a terrific way to learn about the rise and fall of histories great empires.
Additional games, in this category are Archaeology and Queen of Thebes, which both have an archaeological theme, as well as World Monuments, in which you are the master builders of some of the world's greatest structures.
History Games for Studying Ancient Times
Now that we've looked at some games that cover history with a broad brush, let's narrow down our focus and see what fun we can find for our ancient history studies.
There are a few games that cover the whole of ancient civilization and make a great introduction to the entire ancient world. Here are some interesting ones to consider:
- 7 Wonders
- Professor Noggin's Wonders of the World
- Professor Noggin's Ancient Civilizations
- The Ancient World
Next up is Ancient Egypt with games such as Imhotep and Heir of Egypt. In Imhotep, you are battling to be the greatest builder and complete the construction of the Pyramids. It take strategy and luck, but someone will be Imhotep.
Heir of Egypt is a face paced card game that is based on the hierarchy and mythology of Ancient Egypt. There are different levels of the game to play, so once you master the basics, you can make it more difficult (and educational) by focusing more on the mythology of Ancient Egypt. For the younger kids, Ancient Egypt Go Fish is a great game that is easy to play but will easily introduce them to the art of Ancient Egypt.
Battle Line is next on the list as we move to Ancient Greece and Rome. Battle Line is a strategic card game that's theme is based upon Alexander the Great. This is a game that can be played with only two players, which is a bonus for some families with children that aren't as fond of games.
When studying Ancient Rome, there are a few fun games that will make history a little more interesting. First is Neptun, which focuses on the Mediterranean Sea and Roman merchants. As a merchant, you deliver goods to temples and cities along the Mediterranean coast.
Julius Caesar is the next game with a focus on the Roman Civil War 49-45 BC. Will Rome become a republic or an empire? From Cleopatra to Brutus, the notable players all make an appearance in this dramatic game.
The perfect follow-up game to Julius Caesar is The Rise of Augustus. Who would like to be Consul of Rome? In this game you mobilize you legions to gain control of the empire and the senators so that you can be crowed Emperor of the Roman Empire.
Medieval Games for Your Kings and Queens
Next up, the Middle Ages!
The first game on my list would be Professor Noggin's Medieval Times game. I have these listed in almost every category because they are more than just a game to play. The cards have three questions with increasing levels of difficulty. These would be great to use during morning time as a question of the day.
Next up are the fun castle themed games, since most children love stories and play about kings, queens, and knights.
Another game with the Medieval knight theme is Carcassonne. This game is a tile laying game in which you fill in the countryside outside a fortified city. I love that this is a fairly quick game for two to five players. We love some of more in depth games, but we don't always have that much time.
Pillars of the Earth isn't a castle themed game, but a game inspired by Ken Follett's book by the same name. In this game you are building a cathedral in England at the beginning of the 12th century. This is the perfect game when you are learning about these churches that so many lovingly labored on their entire lives without ever seeing the completion.
Cathedral is another medieval themed strategy game. It is a two player game where the goal is to acquire the most land within a walled city.
Finally, Kashgar is a quick playing card game with a focus on spice trading along the Silk Road. Everyone has a caravan traveling from Asia to Europe.
Enlightenment and Exploration History Through Games
As we move through history, we now arrive at the Age of Enlightenment and Exploration. Whether we're studying pirates, inventors, or exploration, there is a game that will bring those ideas to life.
First, we start with Go Fish! for Renaissance Artists. Not exactly the enlightenment period, but certainly a precursor.
Next, we have our games of exploration and expansion. There are several that have this theme:
What goes hand in hand with exploration? Pirates!
Jolly Roger is a game of piracy and mutiny. If you don't like the captain, stage a mutiny and become the richest pirate in Tortuga.
For more plundering fun, try Loot: The Pirate Plundering Game. Your goal is to storm your opponents merchant ships, seize their treasure, and rule the high seas.
Lastly, we take a look at inventors. Some of these would cross over to the modern era, and could also be included with your science studies. Newton is a game where the players are scientists in the 18th century who travel throughout Europe in search of scientific advancement and immortality.
In Legendary Inventors, each player recruits the ultimate scientific team gathering inventors throughout time. Each team battles to patent new creations.
Modern and American History Gameschooling
Finally we come to Modern and American history games that everyone will love.
First, I have my beloved Professor Noggin games. These can be played as intended, but the cards can serve so many more purposes in your homeschool.
When focusing on Colonial American history, Made for Trade is the perfect game. This game gives your a glimpse into colonial life as well as learning about bartering and economics.
Westward expansion and developments in transportation are the focus of the next three games:
Finally, we'll finish this list off with some games that focus on the 20th century, and particularly World War II. Axis and Allies is a battle between the five major forces of the Second Word War. Memoir '44 is also a World War II game with a focus on actual battles of the war.
Finally, we have The Manhattan Project which focuses on energy and resource management in the later 20th century.
Use Games to Bring History to Life
Fortunately, we can learn and experience history in so many ways. With books, field trips, and documentaries, you're sure to find numerous way to enjoy history.
However, adding games to your homeschool routine can give you the spark you need to ignite curiosity in your children.
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