ALTAR OF VICTORY
Christians, Pagans, and the Altar of Victory, 384
by John E. Moser
Portions of this page are still under construction, pending more details from the Game Author. Reacting Consortium Members can download game materials below.
You are a member of the Roman Senate in 384 AD. Since the days of Constantine, Rome has been a deeply divided city. Constantine rescinded the old laws prohibiting Christianity, openly favored Christians in staffing the imperial bureaucracy, and established Constantinople as a specifically Christian city. Nevertheless, many Romans—perhaps most of them—remain faithful to the traditional religion, which the Christians dismissively refer to as paganism (from the Latin term paganus, which roughly means “rustic” or “uneducated” [or even “bumpkin”]). The result for much of the fourth century has been domestic turmoil.
Using the Game
Complete guidance on role assignments can be found in the instructor's guide, and questions can be directed to the game author. The main way this game can be scaled up or down is by eliminating or expanding the journalist roles. Since journalists do not ordinarily give speeches during regular class meetings, this does not affect the time needed to play the game.
CLASSES BELOW 14 In small classes, the instructor may assume the function of the journalists or eliminate the role of journalists altogether.
CLASSES WITH 14-36 STUDENTS Classes with 14-36 students can use the basic roles, available for download below or from W. W. Norton.
CLASSES WITH 37-61 STUDENTS Additional roles are available for download to Reacting Consortium members. Of these additional roles, eleven are delegates, four are protesters, and ten are journalists. Some of the assignments for these roles are specialized. For example, Theodore Meir Phil Ochs should sing instead of giving speeches. Warren Hinckle and Abe Peck should help journalists to assemble and disseminate their stories.
CLASSES WITH 62-67 STUDENTS AND/OR MEDIA EMPHASIS The expanded roles also include roles for William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal as well as the cast and crew for an experimental film, “Medium Cool.” These six roles are supplemental to the functioning of the main game. Since these players record their work, it could be shown during the debriefing or players could watch it asynchronously to conserve class time for game play.
CLASSES WITH OVER 67 STUDENTS Press Secretary and Press Stringer roles can be paired with delegate and journalist roles. In order for them to have the opportunity to interact, the instructor may need to help them to schedule press conferences outside of regular game sessions. By pairing each of the 25 delegate roles and 20 journalists, 45 more roles can be added to the game, for a total of 112 roles. To create even more roles, assign individual roles to pairs of students, beginning with the protester roles (which brings the total to 128). Increasing the number of crew members for “Medium Cool” could bring you easily to 130.
The game can be run with even larger numbers than this by expanding the size of the teams playing different roles.
"This is a game that teaches a lot about the process of political coalition building, the pressures on expansive coalitions, and introduces notions of protest and counterculture as a part of a pluralistic, democratic society."
"Wrapped up Chicago 1968 on zoom/slack, and it was a really wonderful experience. I worried about how some mechanics would work virtually, but we had the same arc and escalation of tension that I've seen several times in the classroom."
"The game has a shorter class-time investment than other simulations, which might be appealing for some new to Reacting."
Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.
Resources for Introduction and/or Debrief
John E. Moser
John E. Moser is professor of history and chair of the masters program in American History and Government at Ashland University. He did his undergraduate work at Ohio University, and has an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At Ashland he teaches courses on modern European, American and East Asian history, and in 2016 received the university’s Edward and Louaine Taylor Award for Excellence in Teaching. John has published numerous works on subjects ranging from comic books to Japanese foreign policy. He is author of four books, the most recent of which is The Global Great Depression and the Coming of World War II, which was published by Routledge in 2015. He has also published three games for the Reacting to the Past series, including Japan, 1941: Between Pan-Asianism and the West; Europe on the Brink, 1914: The July Crisis; and (with Nicolas W. Proctor) Restoring the World, 1945: Security and Empire at Yalta. He lives in Ashland with his wife Monica, their daughter Stanzi, and their three dogs.
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