Ancient Empires Lux

Alea Jacta Est (Without the Dice)

System Requirements:
Win 95+ or OSX 10.2+ or Linux w/Java 1.4 installed /

Nobody does Risk-like games as well as Sillysoft; Lux Delux, their flagship product, offers hundreds of different maps, along with a plugin downloader that can pull down hundreds more made by fans. Sort of taking the basic dynamic of Risk and doing everything possible to extend it into the Internet realm.

What Ancient Empires Lux (like its predecessor, American History Lux) does instead is provide you with a series of levels based on historical conflicts--along with notes on those conflicts--and lets you play them out.

The first scenario starts in ancient Sumeria, and the last with the Roman Empire; in between are the Indus Valley civilizations, the Babylonian Empire, China under the Zhou (and later under the Han), the Greek city states, the rise of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, and the Maurya in India.

Since the basic gameplay in each level is still Risk (albeit many scenarios have special rules or features to increase the degree of realism), this isn't a hard-core simulation, but does teach something about the history--and is entertaining for what it is. Might make an excellent gift for a high-schooler studying the period, in fact. And be fun for those of us with an interest in history, even if long out of high school.