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Beware the Ides of March: Rome, 44 BCE

by Carl A. Anderson, T. Keith Dix, and Naomi Norman

Portions of this page are still under construction, pending more details from the Game Authors. Reacting Consortium Members can download game materials below.

This game begins the day after Julius Caesar’s assassination, and most of the action takes place in the Senate. Students are assigned roles as members of two principal factions, "Republicans" and "Caesarians" (the larger faction in the game, since Caesar had "packed" the Senate), or as non-partisan, or at least uncommitted, members of the Senate. Probable debates in the Senate fall under four general headings: public order, Caesar's powers, foreign policy, and government. Some specific issues are whether Caesar should be honored with a public funeral or his body cast into the Tiber; whether to accept the legitimacy of Caesar's acta; whether to regard the assassins as liberators or murderers; whether new elections should be held; and whether the Parthian campaign should go forward and under whose leadership. Students base their game personalities and their arguments in the Senate on excerpts from Cicero's letters, orations and political writings, in particular De re publica, as well as other ancient sources. By grappling with the complex issues of Roman power politics at a moment of crisis, students gain perspective on the dynamics of late Republican Roman history and can evaluate Rome's subsequent evolution.



Ancient History, European History

BCE; Ancient History

In a Few Words


Themes and Issues  

Player Interactions 

Sample Class Titles

"History of Ancient Rome;" "Honors Latin;" "Roman Oratory in Theory and Practice"

Level 3 game (what's that mean?


Chaos and Demand on Instructor 

Primary Source Highlights

Notable Roles

Using the Game

Class Time  

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. The Ides of March may pair well with:


Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 12-24 students.

Read more about scaling this game for different class sizes...

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.





Read more reviews from instructors...

"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 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 1.0. Updated 3/4/21.

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



Carl A. Anderson

Carl A. Anderson

Reacting and Related Titles

T. Keith Dix

T. Keith Dix

Reacting and Related Titles

Naomi Norman

Naomi Norman

Reacting and Related Titles

  • The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 BCE


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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