Argentina, 1985: Making Memory
Argentina is at a crossroads. A military dictatorship has ended, a democratically elected president has taken office, and the nation begins to address its violent past: repression, political violence, labor unrest, "disappeared" citizens. This game brings these national debates to a secondary school that asks its students to seek information, tell a story about what happened at the school, and determine a path forward.
Wrestling with the Reformation: Augsburg, 1531
As a member of the City Council of Augsburg in 1531, you will have to balance the competing demands of the citizens and the Emperor, while considering the implications of various Reformed positions for the city’s military defense, economic growth, and spiritual purity.
The Crisis of Catiline: Rome, 63 BCE
Rome, 63 BCE: a tumultuous year of urban and rural unrest, economic instability, sensational trials, and electoral misconduct. Rumors that Lucius Sergius Catiline is plotting to violently seize control have created a frenzy. You are a Roman senator. Can you save the Republic…and yourself?
Korea at the Crossroads of Civilizations: Confucianism, Westernization, and the 1894 Kabo Reforms
Reform has swept through East Asia following the irruption of Western imperialism in the second half of the nineteenth century. Set in the Deliberative Council, a body established by the Korean court in the midst of the Sino-Japanese War to discuss and implement measures to restructure government, economy, society, and education.
The Prado Museum's Expansion: The Diverse Art of Latin America
With an eye to diversifying its predominantly national Spanish-centered collection, the Prado Museum decides to curate a new gallery of Latin American paintings from the 20th and early 21st century. Artists and art dealers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay have arrived in Madrid to advocate for their paintings' stylistic and historical importance.
Rage Against the Machine: Technology, Rebellion, and the Industrial Revolution
Players are faced with different choices about how to live and prosper at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Do you resist or embrace this new technology? Players must use new economic theories, parliamentary commissions, and news reports to debate the pros and cons of factories, the role of the government in the economy, taxation, workers’ unions, and the extension of political rights down the social order.
Russian Literary Journals, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy in St. Petersburg, 1877
Editors, writers, censors, and businesspeople will compete to produce a successful literary journal, which requires a nuanced understanding of political philosophies and writing styles as well as solid finances and social connections. Roles, will give students the option of producing their own creative work, analyzing an existing work, or commenting on social issues in Elena Shtakenshneider’s literary salon.
Students experience the unfolding of America’s most dramatic constitutional crisis of the 20th century: the investigation of the Watergate burglary and its subsequent cover-up. With the world’s most powerful person barricading himself within the walls of the White House and threatening to take the constitutional order itself hostage to ensure his political survival, how could well-intentioned leaders pursue truth and justice without risking collateral damage to the nation’s foundational principles and institutions?
Ashoka: Becoming the Dharma King
Ashoka returned from his successful war against Kalinga, grieved at the great suffering and loss of life he had brought to the land. He was determined to become a better Buddhist and a king who ruled not through force, but through the Dharma (literally “law,” but it comes to mean “true teaching” and “order of the universe”). As members of the Council, students represent the major traditions operative at Ashoka’s time: Brahmin Traditionalists, Jains, Ajivikas, and Buddhists who must advise the King on the policies that will help him become the Dharma-king.
Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, and the Dawn of Computing
Should Charles Babbage be awarded funds from the British government for the development of his Difference Engine and/or Analytical Engine? Intellectual collisions concern the conflict between imagination and reason, the nature of science and scientists, and whether and to what degree science and engineering projects should be subsidized by the government.
Bacon's Rebellion, 1676-1677: Race, Class, and Frontier Conflict in Colonial Virginia
A conflict within the colonial Virginia gentry---the elite planters have been rewarded for loyalty to the established order but are in disagreement over Virginia’s governance. With a powerful elite class ever increasing their authority and landholdings, the lower classes of Anglo and Afro-Virginians have become increasingly restless, difficult, and dangerous.
Politics, Religion, and the Birth of the Public Sphere: England, 1685-1688
Places students in the turbulent political and religious debates of late seventeenth century England, debates that were fundamental in shaping modern civil society. Concludes by simulating the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of late 1688, resolving important player actions throughout the game.
Christine de Pizan and the Querelle des Femmes, 1413
Christine de Pizan and the Querelle des Femmes examines the power, authority, and roles of women in the 1413 French court. Debates over misogyny in literature, legal theory, and political roles demonstrate the centrality of both women and gender to major issues in late medieval France./font>
After a Long Battle: Congressional Response to the AIDS Epidemic, 1982-1985
Asks players to put themselves in the shoes of those living at the height of the AIDS epidemic in America when next to nothing was known about the virus. By taking the roles of congressional representatives, government epidemiologists, doctors, researchers, gay activists, preachers, journalists, and citizens, students can understand the radical changes to society when a new disease caught the country unprepared.
Diet and Killer Diseases: The McGovern Committee Hearings, 1977
Many trace the origin of the low-fat diet craze to the Senate hearings of the McGovern Committee in 1977. This game examines the scientific evidence available in 1977 by expanding the hearings to include a larger range of voices than were invited to the actual hearing. Students will take the role of senators and the media while examining scientific evidence at the time linking dietary fat to health.
Progressivism at High Tide: The Election of 1912
Places students in the midst of one of the most fascinating political events of U.S. history--the presidential election of 1912, in which all of the candidates described themselves as "progressive." But what did it mean to be "progressive"? Students must question the basic principles of progressivism, and how could one apply those principles into specific policy questions.
Ending the Troubles: Religion, Nationalism, and the Search for Peace and Democracy in Northern Ireland, 1997-1998
After 30 years of bloody conflict, the British government convenes Multi-Party Talks to try to establish a new relationship within Norther Ireland. Players will represent the major parties in Northern Ireland as they reconvene at the Multi-Party talks in 1997 to confront what to do about the issue of decommissioning and to try to make progress on discussion of the three Strands. Much is at stake for another failure could lead to a full resumption of the civil war.
The Enlightenment in Crisis: Diderot's Encyclopedié in a Parisian Salon, 1750-?
The story of the Encyclopédie is one of epic struggle, with colorful characters both famous and obscure. Participants will have to immerse themselves in salon culture, figure out who potential allies are, do written and oral work toward victory objectives, and build toward making ultimate decisions about their relationship to the Enlightenment as a whole and the Encyclopédie in particular.
U.S. Investment in Liberia, 1926-1932: "Mr. Firestone, What Are You Up To?"
The ambitious investment by the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in the West African country of Liberia is at a crossroads. Recent reports of slave labor in Liberia have come to the attention of the League of Nations and US State Department and the international attention given to these reports could have a grave impact on the future of the Company. The League of Nations has investigated the labor issues in Liberia and has called witnesses to London to provide their testimony: should the future of this troubled country include a role for the US company or is it time for Firestone to leave Liberia?
Food or Famine, 2002: The Debate over Genetically Modified Crops in Southern Africa
Set in an African conference at which nations facing famine are confronted with the choice between accepting genetically modified (GM) corn from the USA and the risk that they will not be able to export their agricultural products to the EU as a result or allowing people to starve. Students learn about GM foods and the controversies over their safety, both for health reasons and ecological reasons.
Philosophy, Politics, and Diplomacy in China, 223 BCE
This game takes place at the end of the Warring States period in China, at a time when Qin state has already absorbed two of the previously existent seven states, and is threatening the remaining four states of Chu, Qi, Zhao and Yan. The simulation is structured as a debate amongst the four most influential philosophical legacies of the Warring States era: Confucianism, Naturalism, Legalism, and Mohism.
The Mongol Qurultai of 1246
This game brings together the rival members of the Mongol royal family and representatives from across Eurasia to debate the legacy of Genghis Khan, appoint a successor to the Mongol throne, promote interreligious dialogue between Islam, Buddhism and Christianity, and plot where the vast Mongol Empire should expand next.
Church and State on the Road to Canossa, 1075-77
Religious and secular powers clash as Western Christendom must decide who holds ultimate authority, the Pope or Holy Roman Emperor. Students will explore the intricate workings of the medieval church and how it interacted with the state in a tumultuous time.
Guerrilla Girls in our Midst: 1984-1987
The booming 1980s New York City art scene saw the emergence of a feminist art collective known as the Guerrilla Girls who exposed contemporary art world sexism and racism. Major questions for debate range from whether the art world is sexist and should embrace affirmative action to whether artistic quality even matters, who gets to determine such quality, and whether one can legitimately tie quality to sincerity of expression within a postmodern world.
Harlem, 1919: A Question of Leadership
EDDIE's is a fictional barbershop where men of all social stations converge to discuss the news of the day. EDDIE’s barbers vie to persuade the clients that their favored leader’s point of view will take the community into the next decade. Although the barbers support W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and A. Philip Randolph, other ideas –both traditional and radically new—will emerge as the game unfolds.
Beware the Ides of March: Rome, 44 BCE
Julius Caesar has been assassinated and it's up to the Senate to push Rome forward. Probable debates in the Senate fall under four general headings: public order, Caesar's powers, foreign policy, and government. By grappling with the complex issues of Roman power politics at a moment of crisis, students gain perspective on the dynamics of late Republican Roman history and can evaluate Rome's subsequent evolution.
Japanese Exclusion in California, 1906-1915
In the wake of the 1906 earthquake, a progressively-minded San Francisco School Board votes to remove Japanese schoolchildren from their regular schools in order to send them to the segregated “Oriental School” in Chinatown. This event occurs against a backdrop of violent attacks on Japanese people in California.
The Josianic Reform: Deuteronomy, Prophecy, and Israelite Religion
Set just before a monotheistic reform of Israelite religion (622 BCE), the game takes up several tensions within the Bible: “the one versus the many gods,” the nature of sacred text and prophecy, and the conflict of ideas within the Bible itself. The Documentary hypothesis—the literary-historical notion that the Torah grew out of a set of traditions, documentary “sources,” and editorial activity—takes seriously the competing idea sets within the Bible.
Kansas, 1999: Evolution or Creationism
Christian Conservatives on the Kansas Board of Education have deleted macroevolution and Big Bang cosmology from the state science curriculum. The game centers on the election of a new Board of Education which must, for legal reasons, revisit the decision. Questions are raised about the role of religion in American society, the power of religious fundamentalism in the modern world, and the nature of science.
Physician-Assisted Suicide: Autonomy, Ethics, Morality, and the End of Life
The California legislature, governor, and courts consider approval of the End of Life Option Act (EOLA) to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Players engage in the forty-year debate from 1976-2016 springing from the case of Karen Ann Quinlan, which raised questions about whether there is a right-to-die, the roles of family and physicians, and how the constitutional right to privacy is involved in end-of-life decisions
Radical Reconstruction in New Orleans, 1868-1876
At the end of the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, but this was not the end of conflict. As the largest city in the South, New Orleans was home to thousands of recently-enslaved Freedpeople as well as French-speaking Black Creoles, white unionists, German immigrants, and Yankee carpetbaggers. This game examines the ways in which these groups interacted with one another and contended with the myriad challenges of the Reconstruction era.
Radio Days and the FCC: Breaking up Broadcast Monopoly
The Federal Communications Commission is holding hearings on what to do about the perceived monopoly power that the major radio networks – NBC and CBS – exercise over their affiliated stations. Game sessions involve witnesses taking testimony on a series of six questions before the Commission and culminates in a final, decisive vote that will decide the future of the radio industry.
The Second Crusade: The War Council of Acre, 1148
Takes place at the War Council of Acre in 1148, as the Pope has called for a second crusade. The council must debate the idea of “crusading,” the justifications for holy war, who will lead it, and how it will be conducted. Players become the monarchs, barons, and religious authorities present at the council. They are informed by the New Testament and the Qur’an, as well as the writers who described it. At the end, players will find out if their crusade was a success!
Peacemaking, 1919: The Peace Conference at Versailles
Places students in the complicated and politically fraught peace conference that will bring an end to the Great War. Students represent nations as they seek to bring about peace not only for the present, but also the future. For this game, students work primarily in topical subcommittees charged with recommending course of action to the Council of Five. The result will be a treaty by many hands, many visions, and many competing interests.
London, 1854: Cesspits, Cholera, and Conflict over the Broad Street Pump
The local Board of Governors and Directors of the Poor of St. James Parish have convened a special emergency response committee to respond to the deadly outbreak of Cholera that has claimed the lives of more than 500 parish residents over the preceding eight days. This committee's decision and the events leading up to it are considered a defining moment in the development of modern approaches to public health, epidemiology and municipal waste management.
1349: Plague Comes to Norwich
It's January of 1349, and the bustling city of Norwich faces the rising threat of plague. Members of the community, including merchants, clergy, tradesmen, medical men, and bailiffs, must decide how best to respond to uncertain and rapidly changing circumstances. Should the city impose a quarantine? How can one balance the need for health measures and economic interests? What is the role of religion in protecting a community? You might win an argument, but will that save your life?