Featured Games

Conference participants may choose any one of the following seven games :

Challenging the USDA Food Pyramid, 1991 is set in a Congressional hearing to evaluate the work of the USDA in developing the Food Pyramid in 1991. This document angered various interest groups in agribusiness and the role of special interests versus the basic nutritional science is an important factor in the hearings. Furthermore, the Department of Health and Human Services which includes the FDA and CDC object to the inherent conflicts in the USDA which are reflected in the Pyramid. Students come to see that the Pyramid reflects a combination of science and politics. This chapter-length RTTP game involves 2-3 class periods of game play in addition to any background instruction in the basics of nutrition that are needed to support the game. It is intended for use in popular food/nutrition general education science courses and could be used in introductory chemistry and biology courses as well. The Journal Collection has been removed. The updated Gamebook includes detailed summaries of the journal articles for use by students. This eliminates the copyright issue with the journal articles. The summaries are also more accessible to students and should allow them to bring more evidence into their arguments.

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.

Greenwich Village, 1913: Suffrage, Labor, and the New Woman takes students to the beginning of the modern era when urbanization, industrialization, and massive waves of immigration were transforming the U.S. way of life. As the game begins, suffragists are taking to the streets demanding a constitutional amendment for the vote. What, they ask, is women’s place in society? Are they to remain in the home or take an active role in the government of their communities and their nation? Labor has turned to the strike to demand living wages and better conditions; some are even proposing an industrial democracy where workers take charge of industries.

Can corporate capitalism allow an economically just society or must it be overturned? African-Americans, suffering from the worst working conditions, disenfranchisement, and social segregation, debate how to support their community through education and protest, thereby challenging their continuing marginalization in both the South and the North. Members of all these groups converge in Greenwich Village to debate their views with the artists and bohemians who are in the process of remaking themselves into the new men and new women of the twentieth century. Their spirited conversations not only show a deep understanding of nineteenth-century thinkers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Karl Marx; they are also informed by such contemporaries as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jane Addams, W.E.B. Du Bois, Emma Goldman, John Dewey, Franz Boas, and Sigmund Freud. The game asks what social changes are most important as well as how one can or should realize these goals.

Kentucky, 1861: Loyalty, State, and Nation pulls students into the secession crisis following Abraham Lincoln's 1860 election. During a special session of the Kentucky legislature, set against the looming threat of violence, players grapple with questions about the future of slavery and the constitutionality of secession. This game book includes vital materials on the game's historical background, rules, procedures, and assignments, as well as core texts by a variety of antebellum figures suc as Abraham Lincoln, John C. Calhoun, Frederick Douglass, and Stephen Douglas. 

Red Clay, 1835: Cherokee Removal and the Meaning of Sovereignty focuses on American Indian removal from the American Southeast in the 1830s and events leading up to the Trail of Tears. In particular it focuses on a pivotal historical conference held in Red Clay, Tennessee in October 1835 at which the United States presented terms for a removal treaty a few months before the illegal Treaty of New Echota was signed. It deals not only with this too-little-known part of American history, but it also opens up other issues of the period (many of which have continuing relevance today), including westward expansion, race and the status of Native Americans within the framework of the United States, cultural change and assimilation of minorities, how one deals with social problems, and the sectional divide that eventual leads to the American Civil War.

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.

The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.E. 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.