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VERSAILLES 1919

Peacemaking, 1919: The Peace Conference at Versailles

by Rebecca Livingstone and Kelly McFall

Set in Paris, 1919, Peacemaking places students in the complicated and politically fraught peace conference that will bring an end to the Great War. Students represent nations as they seek to bring about peace not only for the present, but also the future. Students will grapple with complex ideas about: peace, the League of Nations, and tensions about international cooperation and national sovereignty; just war, self-aggrandizing war, and acceptable conduct of war; national self-interest versus the greater good; collective security or the balance of power; self-determination, nationalism, democracy and imperialism; moral responsibility versus legal culpability in war; disarmament; the rights and treatment of minority populations; the rising fears about Bolshevism.

For this game, students work primarily in topical subcommittees charged with recommending course of action to the Council of Five. This council comprised of the leaders of the Great Powers determine the final draft of the peace treaty, choosing to accept, amend, or reject the recommendations of their subordinates and/or insert their own conditions. The result will be a treaty by many hands, many visions, and many competing interests. The immediate question will be whether the treaty will be acceptable to the individual nations, particularly Germany. The long-term question will be whether or not the treaty brings about the peace its creators hoped for.

ABOUT THE GAME

Details

Disciplines
Conflict and War Studies; Political Science and Government; Western Civ/History


Era 
20th Century; Late Modern Period


In a Few Words
Consensus building, idealism, and realism.


Geography 
Europe; International


Primary Source Highlights 
Variety of sources centering on peace aims of great nations, ideas for peace and ending militarism, justifications for war

Player Interactions 

Factional, Non-factional, Competitive, Collaborative, Coalition-Building


Sample Class Titles

World War I; 20th Century Europe; America Goes to War


Level
Level 3 game (what's that mean?


Notable Roles

Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau


Themes and Issues

Colonialism

Mechanics 

Rolling Dice, Differentiated Voting, Space where groups can divide up (not required to be private)

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is very clearly structured for students as the  agenda is set; for most game days, students will divide into two committees which meet simultaneously (game play is not in just one big group forum like other games). For the instructor, the victory objectives vary for roles, but are laid out in the instructor's manual to help you keep track; same with assignments.



Using the Game

Class Time  
For this game, 2 setup sessions, 4 to 6 game sessions, and 1 debrief session 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.  Peacemaking may pair well with:


Assignments

The assignments can be adjusted to fit the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing. Not all roles are required to give formal speeches.


Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 10-28+ students.


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 3.0. Updated August 2018. .pdf file.

Instructor's Manual

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

VERSION 3.0. .pdf file.

Role Sheets

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

.pdf file.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS 

Rebecca Livingstone

Rebecca Livingstone is Department Chair of History and Professor of History at Simpson College. She is involved in the innovative, immersive pedagogy of Reacting to the Past, utilizing the historical role-playing simulations in her classes, authoring games of her own, and serving on the Board of the RTTP Game Development Conference.

Reacting and Related Titles

Kelly McFall

Kelly McFall is professor of history and chair of the humanities division at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. Since 2013, he has run a popular podcast focusing on new books in genocide studies. In 2014, he won the inaugural Faculty of Distinction award from the Kansas Independent Colleges Association, recognizing his teaching excellence. He is a member of the Reacting to the Past editorial board.

Reviews 

"The game is not only scalable, it is also very flexible. The authors have made the sensible decision to focus the core game on specific debates having to do with the European settlement, but have created the possibility for expanding the game to include the Ottoman Empire and possibly other issues as well. I can also see that it would be very easy to control for the kinds of debates that take place simply by adjusting the non-faction characters in the game. I am also impressed by how neatly the authors have encapsulated these complex debates within the game and victory-objective structure. I also find the narrative very accessibly written; I can imagine my students finding that essay helpful and appealing."

"'Peacemaking' is an important addition to the Reacting library. While many games deal with global interactions and extra-national relationships, this is one of the few that I’m aware of to push students to think about international perspectives and relationships and the implications of global engagement. I would welcome the chance to use Peacemaking in my world history courses."

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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