Games List - Alpha Order
Ashoka: Becoming the Dharma King
by J. Noel Hubler
Seeking collaboration between the Brahmins, Jains, and Buddhists.
In 260 B.C.E., Ashoka returned from his successful war against Kalinga, grieved at the great suffering and loss of life he had brought to the land. He was determined to become a better Buddhist and a king who ruled not through force, but through the Dharma (literally “law,” but it comes to mean “true teaching” and “order of the universe”). As members of the Council, students represent the major traditions operative at Ashoka’s time: Brahmin Traditionalists, Jains, Ajivikas, and Buddhists who must advise the King on the policies that will help him become the Dharma-king. However, each of the King’s proposals is controversial because the Kingdom is home to so many different traditions. The King must seek to navigate between the different interests of the traditions. At the same time, the King believes that all traditions should honor and learn from each other. The King cannot afford to rule autocratically. He needs to keep peace within the Kingdom so he cannot simply impose his Buddhist views. He also knows that many kings have fallen before, so he must always be one the lookout for plots against his rule that can even come from his own family. He cannot afford to alienate any of the traditions that could serve as a base for opposition to his rule.
Using the Game
You can adjust the assignments to fit the desired learning outcomes of your game. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing, journalism, and creative writing. All roles are required 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All students need a Gamebook, which includes resources and historical content.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.
VERSION 1.01 Updated September 2022.
Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, suggestions for further reading, and role-specific info or assignments.
Resources for Introduction and/or Debrief
J. Noel Hubler
J. Noel Hubler is a professor of Philosophy and Politics at Lebanon Valley College and author of Overcoming Uncertainty in Ancient Greek Political Philosophy (2021).