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The Thirty Years War is regarded as one of the most complex conflicts in early modern history. It marks the end of the Wars of Religion in Europe and the beginning of the modern political system with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. To help students understand its complexities, our class developed a political strategy game. Not only did the class gain a greater understanding of the Thirty Years War, the process of designing a game can be applied to other complex historical events. My presentation will be about the learning objectives and process through which this game was made and how it can be applied in other topics. Built along the lines of several strategy board games, it features a map that highlights the main provinces and characters, the developing nation-states, active during the period. The game is turn based and can support eight players, each with a choice to use a major power from the war. Students are encouraged to communicate with their fellow players and to make decisions that may not follow historical guidelines to show that the war could have ended in a multitude of ways. Overall, there are flexible rules that encourage dialogue between players. The final key element is having a proctor, potentially the professor, to keep the group on track to understanding the course content. While there were issues with coordinating some with some students, the class gained a better understanding of the war’s characteristic chaos, making the project a resounding success.


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  • Subject
    • History, Anthropology, & Philosophy

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • LTC 163

  • Event date
    • 31 March 2015

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Renee Bricker