(Hinduism, Sanskrit: maha- "great" + raja "king")

A king, Emperor, etc. However, more often used as a title of respect to one's spiritual master... e.g. one may say "my Guru Maharaja has instructed ... ".

Maharaja is a board game published by Avalon Hill in 1994. It is a game for 3-5 players based on the same system as Britannia; each player controls an ethnic group ("nation")1 in the history of India. The nations are distributed among the players in a pre-determined way, so that each nation is (mostly) surrounded by opposing players' nations. The game starts with the invasion of the Aryans and ends with the (possible) conquest of India by the British.

The game is organized (like in Britannia) so that all nations score points for specific victory objectives, usually holding specific areas at given times. It doesn't matter who was biggest, killed the most enemies or who was left at the end of the game, only the points scored along the way count towards your victory. This makes it difficult to see who is winning at any given time.

The biggest difference between Britannia and Maharaja, is the introduction of factories, built by the European powers (Dutch, Portuguese, French and British on the coast of India. The factories produce arms which can be given to allied nations, making them a lot better (giving them the same bonuses as the Romans in Britannia).

Unfortunately, Maharaja has a serious flaw. Whereas Britannia is very well-balanced, Maharaja is most definitely not. Not only does the yellow player struggle to gather enough points to win, but about half-way through the game he won't actually have much to do anymore. Some critics say he might as well go home at this point. Some adjustments should probably be made to make up for this.

All in all, I think Maharaja is best suited for hardcore gamers, and preferably people who have played and enjoyed Britannia.

Note 1: Like Mughals, Marathas, Guptas, Muslims, Sikhs, Cholas, and many others

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