A Summer of Reacting
June - August, 2021 | Online, wherever you are
Last year's emergency pivot to a online-only progam proved beyond a shadow of a doubt not only that RTTP works in a remote, socially distanced world, but that it serves an an antidote to many of the particular challenges and pitfalls of teaching and learning online.
The board and administration of the Reacting Consortium have decided, in order to continue their mission in these very uncertain times, to offer a variety of games over the course of the summer, allowing faculty around the country (and the world!) the opportunity not only to play more than the standard two games one can fit in at the Annual Institute, but also to experience RTTP online,
Our hope is that by providing a broad array of games and methods for using them, faculty--whether seasoned veteran or brand-new to the pedagogy--will be able to plan more effectively and confidently for the coming academic year, no matter the circumstances.
Each week two games will be offered; one is suitable for all experience levels, and the other intended for those with some experience of RTTP. The following games will be featured during Part I of the Summer of Reacting:
June 7- 12
- The Trial of Anne Hutchinson: Liberty, Law, and Intolerance in Puritan New England
- Peacemaking, 1919: The Peace Conference at Versailles
The majority of July will be reserved for our Game Development Conference activities, after which he following games will be featured during Part II:
- The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.E.
- 1204: Fourth Crusade and the Remaking of the Medieval World
August 2- 7
- The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the "New Cosmology, and the Catholic Church
- Changing the Game: Title IX, Gender, and College Athletics
- The Black Death Comes to Norwich
- Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence
For more info on the respective game schedules, open the drop-downs below. All times are Eastern, and are subject to change slightly.
To navigate this webpage, click the header links on the column to the left.
Featured Games, Part I - Registration is open now!
Offered Monday June 7 - Thursday June 10 from 11am-12:30pm and 2:30-4pm each day
Gamemaster: John Moser
In Europe on the Brink, 1914: The July Crisis, students portray political and military leaders of the European powers, and must decide how they (and their governments) will respond to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. In that capacity they will decide within their factions whether the crisis can be settled peacefully; if not, whether to enter the war or remain on the sidelines; and whether, how, and against whom to mobilize their armed forces. If war breaks out, the decisions made by the participants will have a direct effect on the course of the war in its initial months. Players’ decisions will be influenced by a number of important texts related to international relations, including works by Francois de Fenelon, Emer de Vattel, Richard Cobden, Heinrich von Treitschke, Giuseppe Mazzini, Nikolai Danilevskii, Norman Angell, and Friedrich von Bernhardi. Excerpts from all of these are included in this gamebook.
Game author: John Moser
Gamemaster: Patrick Coby, Smith College
Offered Monday June 7- Wednesday 9, from 12:00-1:30pm and 2:00-3:30pm each day
This game transforms players into English lords and commoners during the tumultuous years of 1529 to 1536. The king has summoned Parliament in the hope that it somehow will find the means to invalidate his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, thus freeing him to marry his new love, Lady Anne Boleyn. Matters of state also apply, because Henry has no male heir to carry on the Tudor line. But will Parliament be content with solving the king’s marital and dynastic problems? Some in Parliament wish to use the royal divorce to disempower the English church, to sever its ties to papal Rome, and to change it doctrinally from Catholicism to Lutheranism. Others, however, oppose the divorce, oppose secular supremacy and independence from Rome, and oppose this heretical creed filtering in from the continent. The king himself is ambivalent about the reformation unleashed by his divorce campaign, and so the conservatives are loosed to prosecute reformers as heretics, while the reformers are loosed to prosecute conservatives as traitors.
At issue in the game is the clash of four contending ideas: traditionalist Christianity, reformist Protestantism, Renaissance humanism, and Machiavellian statecraft. Depending on the outcome of this contest, the modern nation-state will, or will not, be born.
Game author: Patrick Coby
Gamemaster: Rebecca Livingstone, Simpson College
Offered Monday June 14 - Wednesday June 16 from 12:00-1:30pm and 2:00-3:30pm each day
Set in Paris, 1919, "Peacemaking" 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. Students will grapple with complex ideas about: peace, the League of Nations, and tensions about international cooperation and national sovereignty; just war, self-aggrandizing war, and acceptable conduct of war; national self-interest versus the greater good; collective security or the balance of power; self-determination, nationalism, democracy and imperialism; moral responsibility versus legal culpability in war; disarmament; the rights and treatment of minority populations; the rising fears about Bolshevism.
For this game, students work primarily in topical subcommittees charged with recommending course of action to the Council of Five. This council comprised of the leaders of the Great Powers determine the final draft of the peace treaty, choosing to accept, amend, or reject the recommendations of their subordinates and/or insert their own conditions. The result will be a treaty by many hands, many visions, and many competing interests. The immediate question will be whether the treaty will be acceptable to the individual nations, particularly Germany. The long-term question will be whether or not the treaty brings about the peace its creators hoped for.
Game authors: Rebecca Livingstone and Kelly McFall
Gamemaster: Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Roger Williams University
Offered Thursday June 17 - Friday June 18 from 12-2pm and 2:30-4:30pm each day
"The Trial of Anne Hutchinson" recreates one of the most tumultuous and significant episodes in early American history: the struggle between the followers and allies of John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and those of Anne Hutchinson, a strong-willed and brilliant religious dissenter. The controversy pushed Massachusetts to the brink of collapse and spurred a significant exodus. The puritans who founded Massachusetts were poised between the Middle Ages and the modern world, and in many ways, they helped to bring the modern world into being. The Trial of Anne Hutchinson plunges participants into a religious world that will be unfamiliar to many of them. Yet the puritans’ passionate struggles over how far they could tolerate a diversity of religious opinions in a colony committed to religious unity were part of a larger historical process that led to religious freedom and the modern concept of separation of church and state. Their vehement commitment to their liberties and fears about the many threats these faced were passed down to the American Revolution and beyond.
Game author: Michael Winship and Mark C. Carnes
Gamemaster: Emily Fisher Gray, Norwich University
Offered Monday June 21 -and Tuesday June 22, from 11:30am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, and 3-4pm each day
This game brings you right into the place where difficult religious, political, social and economic decisions were made: the City Council of Augsburg, a free imperial city caught between the demands of the people for thorough religious reform and the will of a Holy Roman Emperor who intended to quash dangerous dissent.
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. Should you adopt the Augsburg Confession, a statement of principles presented during the 1530 Augsburg Reichstag by Martin Luther’s colleagues from Wittenberg? Or join the four “Tetrapolitan” cities that offered an alternate vision of reform influenced by Ulrich Zwingli? Or perhaps you should support the "Confutatio Pontificia," the strong rebuttal to the Augsburg Confession written by representatives of the Pope in Rome and endorsed by the Emperor? Decisions about religious practices in Augsburg could provoke a riot from reform-minded citizens or cause Emperor Charles V to make good on his promise to invade the city and revoke its independent charter. In this volatile environment, Augsburg needs allies, but alliances are dependent on the type of reform Augsburg chooses. As does Augsburg’s ability to feed its poor, protect its rapid proto-capitalist economic growth, and deal with the problem of Anabaptists infiltrating the community. The salvation of souls and Augsburg’s very survival are at stake.
Game author: Emily Fisher Gray
Gamemaster: Gretchen Galbraith
Offered Wednesday June 22-Friday June 25, from 11am-12:30pm and 1-2:30pm each day
Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791 plunges students into the intellectual, political, and ideological currents that surged through revolutionary Paris in the summer of 1791. Students are leaders of major factions within the National Assembly (and in the streets outside) as it struggles to create a constitution amidst internal chaos and threats of foreign invasion. Will the king retain power? Will the priests of the Catholic Church obey the “general will” of the National Assembly or the dictates of the pope in Rome? Do traditional institutions and values constitute restraints on freedom and individual dignity or are they its essential bulwarks? Are slaves, women, and Jews entitled to the “rights of man”? Is violence a legitimate means of changing society or of purging it of dangerous enemies? In wrestling with these issues, students consult Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, among other texts.
Game authors: Jennifer Popiel, Mark C. Carnes, Gary Kates
Featured Games, Part II - registration is open now!
Gamemaster: Jonathan Truitt, Central Michigan University
Offered Thursday July 23 from 11:00am-5:30pm, and Friday July 24 from 11:30am-1:00pm and 2:00-5:15pm
Although the game begins in March of 1912, Mexico has been at varying levels of chaos and instability since Francisco I. Madero called for revolution in November 1910. Porfirio Diaz, long-standing president (some say dictator) of Mexico, was forced into exile in May of 1911, and Madero has been in the office of the presidency since November of that year. The country is far from stable, as Madero's ability to rule effectively has been questioned and undermined--by foreigners and Mexicans alike--from the day he took office. Even some who rallied behind his cry of "Effective suffrage, no reelection" have begun to criticize him and question his dedication to his campaign promises, such as land reform.
The game is situated just after Pascual Orozco, Madero's one-time ally, has rebelled against him. Amidst the violence and chaos of the Revolution, players will grapple with socio-political ideologies such as Comtian Positivism, Social Darwinism, Agrarianism, Anarchism, Social Catholicism, Feminism, and Liberalism as they make decisions concerning federal versus state government power, land reform, labor reform, suffrage, women's rights, religious reform, foreign investment, and education reform. Throughout the process of negotiating Mexico's future, they must keep the questions of how to establish a national identity (relative to cultural and historic memory) and stabilize the country.
Game authors: Jonathan Truitt and Stephany Slaughter
Gamemasters: Verdis Robinson and Paul Otto, George Fox University
Offered Monday July 19 - Wednesday July 21, from 12:00-1:30pm and 2:00-3:30pm each day
In essence, Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 was a conflict within the colonial Virginia gentry---the elite planters rewarded for loyalty to the established order, but 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 became increasingly restless, difficult, and dangerous. This restlessness extended across race. Even though black and white laborers shared the same plight against the Virginia gentry, and their commiserations are evident, the backlash of Bacon's Rebellion changed that.The threat to the gentry’s power and authority in colonial Virginia warranted a redefinition of the planter class. In demonstrating that process, this game is designed to teach historical skills including critical thinking, persuasive writing, oral articulating and debate in an active-learning environment. It is also designed to take students on a historical journey in colonial Virginia and to introduce the Reacting to the Past pedagogy in preparation for longer, more complex games.
Game authors: Verdis Robinson and Paul Otto
Offered Thursday, July 29 - Friday, July 30 from 11am-12pm, 1-2:30pm, and 3-4pm each day
The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C. recreates the intellectual dynamics of one of the most formative periods in the human experience. After nearly three decades of war, Sparta crushed democratic Athens, destroyed its great walls and warships, occupied the city, and installed a brutal regime, “the Thirty Tyrants.” The excesses of the tyrants resulted in civil war and, as the game begins, they have been expelled and the democracy restored. But doubts about democracy remain, expressed most ingeniously by Socrates and his young supporters. Will Athens retain a political system where all decisions are made by an Assembly of 6,000 or so citizens? Will leaders continue to be chosen by random lottery? Will citizenship be broadened to include slaves who fought for the democracy and foreign-born metics who paid taxes in its support? Will Athens rebuild its long walls and warships and again extract tribute from city-states throughout the eastern Mediterranean? These and other issues are sorted out by a polity fractured into radical and moderate democrats, oligarchs, and Socratics, among others. The debates are informed by Plato’s Republic, as well as excerpts from Thucydides, Xenophon, and other contemporary sources. By examining democracy at its threshold, the game provides the perspective to consider its subsequent evolution.
Game authors: Josiah Ober, Naomi J. Norman, and Mark Carnes
Gamemasters: John Giebfried, East Georgia State College and Kyle Lincoln, Norwich University
Offered Monday July 26 - Wednesday July 28, from 1:30-4pm each day
The game includes debates on issues such as "just war" and the nature of crusading, feudalism, trade rights, and the relationship between secular and religious authority. It likewise explores the theological issues at the heart of the East-West Schism and the development of constitutional states in the era of Magna Carta. The game also includes a model siege and sack of Constantinople where individual students’ actions shape the fate of the crusade for everyone.
Game authors: John Giebfried and Kyle Lincoln
Gamemaster: Tony Crider
Offered Thursday August 5 from 11am-12pm, 1-2pm, 2:30-3pm, and 4-5pm, and Friday August 6 from 11am-12pm, 1-2:30pm, and 3-4pm
In The Trial of Galileo the new science, as brilliantly propounded by Galileo Galilei, collides with the elegant cosmology of Aristotle, Aquinas, and medieval Scholasticism. The game is set in Rome in the early decades of the seventeenth century. Most of the debates occur within the Holy Office, the arm of the papacy that supervises the Roman Inquisition. At times action shifts to the palace of Prince Cesi, founder of the Society of the Lynx-Eyed that promotes the new science, and to the lecture halls of the Jesuit Collegio Romano. Some students assume roles as faculty of the Collegio Romano and the secular University of Rome, the Sapienza. Others are Cardinals who seek to defend the faith from resurgent Protestantism, the imperial ambitions of the Spanish monarch, the schemes of the Medici in Florence, and the crisis of faith throughout Christendom. Some embrace the “new cosmology,” some denounce it, and still others are undecided. The issues range from the nature of faith and the meaning of the Bible to the scientific principles and methods as advanced by Copernicus, Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Giordano Bruno, and Galileo.
Game authors: Frederick Purnell, Mark C. Carnes, and Michael S. Pettersen
Gamemaster: Abigail Perkiss
Offered Monday August 2 from 1-2:30pm and 3-4:30pm, Tuesday August 3 from 1-2:45pm and 3:15-3:40pm, and Wednesday August 4 from 1-2:30pm and 3-4:30pm
This game is set at a fictional university in the mid-1990s. A debate over the role of athletics quickly expands to encompass demands that women’s sports and athletes receive more resources and opportunities. The result is a firestorm of controversy on and off campus. Drawing on congressional testimonies from the Title IX hearings, players advance their views in student government meetings, talk radio shows, town meetings, and impromptu rallies. As students wrestle with questions of gender parity and the place of athletics in higher education, they learn about the implementation—and implications—of legal change in the United States.
Game authors: Kelly McFall and Abigail Perkiss
Gamemaster: Amy Curry
Offered Monday August 9 - Wednesday August 11, from 11am-12:30pm and 1-2:30pm each day
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 of religion in protecting a community? You might win an argument, but will that save your life?
Game author: Amy Curry
Gamemasters: Mark Carnes & Lopita Nath
Offered Monday August 9 - Wednesday August 11, from 11am-12pm, 1-2:30pm, and 3-4pm each day
Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence, 1945 is set at Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where the British viceroy has invited leaders of various religious and political constituencies to work out the future of Britain’s largest colony. Will the British transfer power to the Indian National Congress, which claims to speak for all Indians? Or will the British create a separate Muslim state—Pakistan—as the Muslim League proposes? And what will happen to the vulnerable minorities—such as the Sikhs and untouchables—or to the hundreds of small states ruled by hereditary monarchs?
As British authority wanes, smoldering tensions among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Communists and others increasingly flare into violent riots that threaten to engulf all India. Towering above it all is the frail but formidable figure of Gandhi, whom some revere as an apostle of non-violence and others regard as a conniving Hindu politician.
Students struggle to reconcile religious identity with nation building—perhaps the most intractable issue of the modern world. Texts include the literature of Hindu revival (Tilak and Sarvarkar); the Qur’an and the literature of Islamic nationalism (Iqbal); and the writings of Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru, Jinnah, and Marx—among others.
Game authors: Ainslee Embree and Mark Carnes
The Summer of Reacting will also include a series of sessions where participants can engage in discussions about the RTTP pedagogy, game management, and other relevant topics in real time. These sessions will also be recorded and posted for those who aren't able to attend "in person."
The content and time of these sessions will be posted as they become available.These sessions will be free for all to attend (via Zoom or a similar service), but require registration, with links to come on a rolling basis.
Cost Per Game
Consortium Member Rate:
Credit card payments will be processed live during online registration. Institute materials will not be shipped until payment is received in full.
Changes and Cancellations
All payments are final. No refunds will be offered upon cancellation of registration.
The Reacting Consortium Board, in its sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right to bar any person from the Reacting Faculty Lounge on Facebook and from participation in any RTTP event.