Mare Nostrum

Simulates the creation of modern civilizations. It comes with an introductory scenario that, while not balanced really, does a good job of showing the key issues in developing an empire in the ancient world. It is also great fun.

Phoenix

This would be very good to have in a 5-6 grade class level for rainy days and indoor recess. You have to move pieces to get them in the same order as the pieces in the board’s center, except both players play cards to switch pieces in order, back and forth AND the order in the center!

War of 1812

Not a normally covered area. Hard to get lots of students involved. “the Columbia block games” all use similar systems, so familiarity with one WILL make the others much easier as well.

Call of Cthulhu

This is a role-playing game and free-form. It explores the horror mythos of H.P. Lovecraft which inspired Stephen King and other writers. References to Cthulhu are quite frequent, including Arkham Asylum in the Batman cartoon series.

Road to Osaka

The rules are ok while the supplements have good information on Japan’s feudal system. The advantage is the rules are simple. The disadvantage is that it requires having little figurines (although using Risk pieces work).