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ASHOKA

Ashoka: Becoming the Dharma King

by J. Noel Hubler

See the source image

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.

ABOUT THE GAME

Details

Disciplines
Philosophy; Political Science and Government; Religion; World History


Era 
3rd Century B.C.E; Ancient History


In a Few Words
Holding to one's truth vs. living in a diverse community


Notable Roles

King Ashoka, Princess Sangamitta, Sattuka

Themes and Issues  
Religion and Government: Asceticism; Women in Religion; Non-Violence; Collaboration Between Traditions


Player Interactions 
Factional, Collaborative, Competitive


Sample Class Titles

Encountering World Philosophies


Level
Level 3 game (what's that mean?)

Mechanics 
Formal Podium Rule, Rolling Dice


Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
There are some additional mechanisms, but they are spelled out in the game book and have die role tables for resolution in class.


Primary Source Highlights
 
The Majjhima Nikāya; The Rig Veda; The Acharanga Sutra

Geography 
South Asia

Using the Game


Class Size and Scalability
 
This game is recommended for classes with 6-47 students.


Class Time  
For this game, 2 to 4 prep sessions and 3 to 5 game sessions are recommended. 


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.  Birth of the Public Sphere may pair well with:

Assignments

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.


GAME MATERIALS

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

Gamebook

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.

Instructor's Manual

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

Role Sheets

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, suggestions for further reading, and role-specific info or assignments.  

Additional Resources 

Resources for Introduction and/or Debrief

  • Altar of Fire


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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).

QUESTIONS

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


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reacting@barnard.edu

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