I had the opportunity to go to one of the regional RTTP conferences this past October in Waukesha, Wisconsin and it was a super fun and enlightening experience. It combines my love of roleplay with history. Each game highlights contemporary debate in a historical setting. The game I got to play at Carroll University at the conference was London, 1854: Cesspits, Cholera, and Conflict over the Broad Street Pump. I learned far more about cholera than I ever expected – and it was fun! It was also quite valuable to playtest the game, as I had the chance to see what happens when parts of a game don’t work, as well as what happens when they do.
I also had the fantastic opportunity to sit in on an undergraduate class where they were finishing up an RTTP game. This one was in a class at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, taught by Dr. Martina Saltamacchia. She was so kind to let me sit in, and it was useful to see just how this group of undergrads engaged with the game. Some wore costumes, some gave speeches, I got called a witch, it was great times! 🙂 The game they were playing was also in playtesting (much further along than the Cholera game) and it centers around the Second Crusade.
I had the blessing of one of my professors this semester to use an mini-RTTP game as one of my assignments in her course. As a way to talk about the issues raised surrounding colonialism, gender, wealth, and knowledge creation in response to the film Black Robe, I created a debate for a group of high-ranking Jesuits (all of my classmates) to decide if, when, and where to send a new mission in New France after the events of the film. If you’d like to know more about the game, you can find it here.
Everyone in the class really got into their roles and to the debate, and it was a fun way to end the class. Thanks to Dr. Julia Schleck for letting me experiment with our class!
Getting these experiences has helped to convince me to try RTTP in my class next fall. I’ll be getting to teach a pre-modern English survey class and will incorporate a few mini-games as well as one of the published modules which has been extensively playtested and peer-reviewed. I’m looking at the Henry VIII game, as that ties in well with the class and students will come in with some prior knowledge (even if they’ve just seen pictures of Henry!).