Module:Source of the Nile

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Source of the Nile thumb.jpg
Publisher Avalon Hill Era Industrial
Year 1978 Topic Exploration
Players 1 to 8 Scale Abstract
Length 180 minutes

Files and Module Information

Filename Filetype Size Date Compatibility Developer Other Contributors
Source of the Nile - AH 1978
Source of the Nile AH 1978 1.3.vmod Module 20.23 MB 2020-05-11 3.2.17 clanmacrae9 clanmacrae9
Source of the Nile v1.01
Source_of_the_Nile_v1.01.vmod Module 6.46 MB 2012-02-20 3.1.18 brian448 brian448
Source of the Nile Rules.pdf Rules 11.29 MB brian448
Using the Source of the Nile Module.txt Play Synopsis 3 KB brian448


From BGG ...

Designed to be an educational and challenging game in which players compete primarily with Nature and with each other, luck tends to be an element in the game, but can be overcome by careful play. Because the situation is forever changing, there is no single best strategy; however,players must weigh risks against gains with every decision they make and good judgment will pay off.

The game is played on a mapboard showing Africa from Khartoum to Capetown and Lagos to Mombasa. The periphery of this map, showing the territory known ca. 1820, is filled-in; the center is blank. A hexagonal grid is superimposed on the map to regulate movement and to delimit territory explored. In the course of play, each player moves a token (representing his explorer) from explored hexagons to blank hexagons one at a time.; terrain, native tribes and other discoveries within the hexagons are then semi-randomly determined, with allowance made for previous discoveries in adjacent hexagons. The player interacts with the discoveries (e.g. negotiates with new natives for guides) and records them on the mapboard using wax crayons. The mapboard surface is erasable. If the explorer dies before returning to Europe to publish his discoveries, all hexagons which only he has explored will be erased and "subsequent explorers will find that his discoveries were only rumors"; i.e., when other players explore the erased hexagons later they will have to generate new discoveries there.

When explorers do return to civilization, however, they may publish their discoveries, after which they are safe from erasure. Players may also emulate real explorers by withholding some of their discoveries since they will enjoy some advantages when moving through terrain or dealing with natives known only to them. Points are scored for discoveries as they are published and once scored will not be lost if the explorer dies or is retired by his player. A player may retire his explorer at any time and then start a new explorer in Europe.

Before each trip to Africa, explorers will have to raise money to support their expedition. New explorers with no discoveries to their credit must do this by drawing chance cards for several turns until they feel their finances are adequate. Experienced explorers can accelerate this process by publishing discoveries, which allow them to draw additional chance cards.

See BGG for more information.
See Demonstration video 1 to view part 1 of the demonstration video for version 1.1.
See Demonstration video 2 to view part 2 of the demonstration video for version 1.1.

Modules ...
There are two versions of the module -

  • Source of the Nile - AH 1978 version 1.2 Module by clanmacrae9
  • Source of the Nile v1.01 Module by brian448
  • About the Source of the Nile - AH 1978 module by clanmacrae9:
    • Source of the Nile - AH 1978 version 1.3 includes the following upgrades:
      • Corrected the problem where the Blank Labels changed to whatever the next label read.
      • All version 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 characteristics.
    • Source of the Nile - AH 1978 version 1.2 includes the following upgrades:
      • All version 1.0 and 1.1 characteristics.
      • Includes terrain options to indicate when an explorer team color has visited that individual terrain hex.
      • Includes numerous card typo corrections
    • Source of the Nile - AH 1978 version 1.1 includes the following upgrades:
      • All version 1.0 characteristics.
      • Corrects the problem with card 70 which rendered the module 1.0 unplayable.
      • Adds intelligent player logs that calculate expedition costs, portage costs and transport capability.
        • Players may now use the player logs to actively build expeditions while the log automatically calculates the total expense of hires and items purchased.
      • Adds blank labels to document spectacular discoveries on the map, such as mountain waterfall height.
      • Synchronizes data between the player logs and the expedition log. Expedition log is now a passive document that updates automatically as each player log is manually updated.
      • Additional visual enhancements such as player pieces icons to identify the expedition color for each player log.
    • Source of the Nile - AH 1978 version 1.0 included the following characteristics:
      • This version (1.0) of Vassal module for Source of the Nile gives the Avalon Hill classic a touch up, with some new touches and an attempt to incorporate the original map with charts.
      • First a thanks to brian448, whom I have not coordinated with, but want to make sure that I acknowledge that I began with his module as a template to build on. Much of the internal structure of the module remains from his initial module build and using that as a starting point proved a great time saver throughout the process of creating this module:
      • Fundamentally this module works the same as brian44's module. Grab pieces, place where needed, move as needed, and so on. Grab terrain when needed from the pieces menu and place in the desired hex, then right click to choose the specific characteristics for that hex's terrain as dictated by the rules.
      • Player logs are essentially unchanged mechanically, but I have separated and spruced up the Expedition log and the Tribal log under their own separate menu buttons. I have added new graphics for most of the game to include the map, game pieces, terrain, discovery tiles, and probably most importantly, the cards.
      • Map: I decided to use the original map that included the charts because due to the shape of Africa, the charts do not cost any extra space to the rectangle shape around it. Furthermore, I removed the original hex lines and used the Vassal hex option instead to reduce (but not eliminate) any loss in synchronization between the terrain pieces and the hexes. It was virtually impossible to produce a map without incongruences from the original 3 separate physical map pieces. That said, I am very pleased with the resulting map which I feel is both faithful and enhanced at the same time. At any rate, I was able to nearly eliminate all of the distortions tied to the multiple connecting three boards.
      • Cards: I have reconstructed them as standard 3.5" by 2.5" poker style cards, as Avalon Hill would have if they had wanted to invest more money into this game back in the day. Reconstructing the cards was a relatively painless process and a relatively difficult process all in one. That is to say, I reproduced the cards into editable format fairly easily, but the transition required word for word restructuring in MS Word to get the text aligned properly. In the process, spelling and character checks for each word were required. I am sure I have missed some of the errors so if you see them please contact me at
      • I increased the board for the cards to allow viewing and sending to the discard as well as returning to the main deck as necessary. I have put the responsibility of shuffling in the players hands instead of automatic shuffle. Just right click to shuffle.
    • Some functional changes include:
      • Charts automatically magnify when you hover over them.
      • Movement trails are automatic
      • Overview map added
      • Hide Pieces button added (Note that hide pieces also hides the terrain as the terrain are pieces too.
      • Right click to increment tribal numbers as assigned.
      • Right click to increment cache number as assigned.
      • Single and double dice are available and visible graphically in the menu buttons as well as the chat window.Avalon Hill 1978

  • About the Source of the Nile v1.01 module by brian448:

Module Created by: Brian Mason

Contact me at

Converted from the Cyberboard module hosted at

Boardgame Geek Page

Version History

  • 1.0 02/18/12 Initial offering.
  • 1.01 02/20/12 Added Special Discovery Counters

Screen Shots


  • brian448
  • richinq
  • CashelSpeke
  • clanmacrae9
  • davidk64