Source of the Nile (board game)

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Source Of The Nile
Source Of The Nile box cover
Source Of The Nile (1979) by Avalon Hill
Players 1 or more
Setup time 15 minutes
Playing time 2 hours
Random chance Medium
Skill(s) required Tactics, Strategy
For the literal source of the Nile River, see Nile

Source of the Nile is a board game by Ross Maker and David Wesely. It was released by Discovery Games in 1977 and re-released by Avalon Hill in 1979. The inventors released a 25th anniversary edition of the game in 2003.


Set in the 19th century, the object of the game is to explore the interior of Africa, make an important discovery, and report it back to European civilization. The explorers must outfit their expeditions and choose a method of travel, be it canoe, camel or foot. At the outset of the game the map of the interior of Africa is blank. As explorers enter each unexplored hex, a card is drawn to determine the terrain and events, if any, that befall the explorers. Crayons are used to draw terrain on the map as it is discovered.

The explorers must confront dangers such as starvation, disease, river cataracts and hostile natives. The game is, in fact, highly lethal to explorers, but if a player loses an explorer he or she may create a new one who re-enters the game at a coastal port.

The player must choose a profession, and the amount of points a player gains for particular discoveries will vary depending on their choice. In particular:

  • Zoologists get points for discovering animals.
  • Botanists get points for discovering exotic plants.
  • Missionaries get more points when dealing with natives.
  • Geologists gain points for minerals.
  • Doctors gain points for medicinal items.
  • Journalists gain points for almost any encounter, even with other players.
  • Ethnologists gain points for discovering native villages


Source of the Nile won the Charles S. Roberts Awards for "Best Pre-20th Century Game of 1978" and "Best Amateur Game of 1978" in 1978.[1]


  1. ^ "Origins Award Winners (1978)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. 

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