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Democracy in Crisis, Weimar Germany, 1929-32
by Robert Goodrich

What happens when partisan ideology trumps compromise in a polarized Democracy?

At one moment in history all of the great ideologies of the modern West collide as roughly equal and viable contenders: Germany during the so-called Weimar Republic.  Liberalism, nationalism, conservatism, social democracy, Christian democracy, communism, fascism, and every variant of these movements contend for power in Germany. Though the constitutional framework boldly enshrines liberal democratic values, the political spectrum is so broad and fully represented that a stable parliamentary majority requires constant compromises – compromises that alienate supporters, opening the door to radical alternatives.

As delegates of the Reichstag, players must contend with street fights, trade union strikes, assassinations, and insurrections, along with intense parliamentary wrangling. The game begins in late 1929, just after the US stock market crash, as the German Reichstag deliberates on the Young Plan (a revision to the reparations plan from the Treaty of Versailles). They address these matters and more as the pressures of economic stress, political gridlock, and foreign demands mount. 



Conflict & War Studies, Cultural & Social History, Economics & Economic History, Genocidal Studies, International Relations, Jewish Studies, Political Science & Government, Western Civ/History

20th Century, Contemporary History; Modern History


Themes and Issues  
Class, Gender, Race and Civil Rights, Mass Media, Democracy, Protest, Political Violence

Player Interactions 
Factional, Competitive, Aggressive, Coalition-Building 

Sample Class Titles
Modern Revolutions, Turning Points in History, Modern German History, Germany and National Socialism, 1918-1945


Level 5 game (what's that mean?

Die rolls, Podium rule, Recommended prop (bell for Reichstag speaker) 

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
Moderate chaos/raucousness,
Moderate to high demand on instructor

Primary Source Highlights
Principles of Communism by Friedrich Engels,
25 Points and Those Damned Nazis by Joseph Goebbels,
and All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 
This game is designed to work in a wide variety of class sizes, and is recommended for 8-60+ students. 

Class Time  
8-12 sessions (2-4 setup, 5-7 game, 1 debrief session) are recommended for this game. The variations are based on instructor needs and class size.

Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive.  

For a class focused on origins of genocide, you might pair this game with Rwanda, 1994.

For classes related to 20th century war, Japan, 1941Yalta, 1945, or Versailles, 1919 could work well. 

You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include: traditional papers, research and thesis-driven writing, Journalism, and creative assignments (Weimar-era style election poster design). All roles are expected to give formal speeches. 


Reacting Consortium members can download all game materials below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.  


All students need a Gamebook, which includes resources and historical content. Members can download the Gamebook, and provide it to students for free or at cost.

Role Sheets 

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

Instructor's Manual 
and Handouts

The Instructor's Guide includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.   

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6554-2
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6555-9

Published January 2023

Additional Resources 

Resources for Introduction and/or Debrief
No additional materials are available at this time. Check back regularly for more. 



Robert Goodrich

Dr. Goodrich's research interests lie in Modern Central European history with a broad, integrative approach to the various sub-fields. In particular, his research and teaching emphasize cultural and social history with an eye towards the interplay of various factors such as labor, gender, sexuality, and religion. However, the nature of his research into religion and identity also requires a comparative view of European and American experiences, reflected in his interest in transnational history. Perhaps at heart he is more of a generalist than a specialist.

Regardless of research interests, Dr. Goodrich places primary emphasis on the classroom experience, where he sees the cultivation of interdisciplinary-oriented, critical-thinking skills as the ultimate goal. Here, an active, student-centered pedagogy drives his relationship to the learning process. Indeed, he found himself drawn towards innovative teaching methods like the Reacting to the Past pedagogy. Check out this video featuring Dr. Goodrich and his class at NMU

Related Publications and Presentations 

  • “Gamification of Genocide? The Development of a Holocaust-based Expansion to T.I.M.E. Stories.” Great Lakes History Conference, GVSU

  • “Catholic Working-Class Masculinity in Wilhelmine Germany.” German Studies Association

  • “The Ethical, Pedagogical and Scholarly Considerations of Placing the Holocaust in a Comparative and Global Perspective.” Documentation Center of Cambodia

  • Articles on "Austro-Marxism,” "Rudolph Hilferding," and "Otto Bauer" in  The International Encyclopedia of World Protest and Revolution: 1500 to the Present  

  • On Reacting to the Podcast 


Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations, and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994

Japan 1941
Japan, 1941: Between Pan-Asianism and the West

Versailles 1919
Peacemaking, 1919: The Peace Conference at Versailles


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