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Subject: Any Games that Would Work as a Tool Here? rss

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Dan Sherer
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Hello all,
I'm trying to build a college history course in which the play of a game is used as a teaching tool. Specifically, I'd like to do a course on Japanese Buddhism, and am thinking about trying to use a game in which the students control a large temple or sect and are trying to expand their influence, make nice with powerful warriors and aristocrats, and deal with other sects (sometimes nicely, sometimes less so). Ideally, this would be handled one turn per session or per week.
To my knowledge, no game with this theme exists, but I have a long time to work on this and will likely have to tweak/re-skin anything I use for this anyway. Does anyone have any recommendations for a game that could be made to work with this? The big thing is that the game can be seen as sufficiently complex that a student can justify each decision they make in game based on the readings and lectures.

Thanks!
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Geoffrey Greer
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The first one that comes to mind is Samurai, although I don't know if it has exactly the elements you're looking for.

You might want to skim the various suggestions on this forum thread:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/927024/best-japan-themed-ga...

Good luck!
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Dan Blum
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Samurai doesn't sound at all like what the OP is looking for - it's a very abstract game.
 
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Shaun Morris
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Diplomacy

I've not played it but I've done quite a bit of research on it. Based on what I've seen this is more or less the mechanic you're looking for. That said, you'd have to re-skin it to fit your theme.
 
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Geoffrey Greer
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tool wrote:
Samurai doesn't sound at all like what the OP is looking for - it's a very abstract game.


My mistake. I haven't actually played Samurai. It was just the first thing that visually sprang to mind when I was reading the OP. I didn't realize it was more of an abstract game.
 
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Dan Sherer
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That's not a bad idea. I do wish there was more than just all or nothing control of areas on the map and a more active neutral faction though.
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Dan Blum
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I'm not sure that Diplomacy provides a very good model for this without lots of customization. In Diplomacy everyone wants the same thing - supply centers. There is no chance of real co-existence. In the hypothetical temple management game the temple necessarily co-exists with the aristocrats, warriors, merchants, peasants, etc. In each case there will be interests which conflict and others which don't.
 
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Dan Sherer
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That's what I wanted to say!
I know there are games out there that simulate lots of coexisting factions, but my experience with them is sadly minimal.
 
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Dan Blum
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The game that is closest to what I think you want is Dynasty, but it's not all that close, and doesn't even include a religion player for some odd reason. (Not to mention it's extremely rare.)

I think your best bet is taking a game designed as a classroom simulation and re-theming it.
 
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Darin Bolyard
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The only game I know of (in my limited awareness) that dabbles in all of these things is Yedo. Though the missions you seek to complete in the game are definitely of the not-so-nice variety (i.e. kidnapping, theft, warfare, espionage, assassination). This is because you as the player represent a powerful family or clan seeking the Shogun's favor. Mostly, you are competing against rival clans (other players). It's really a glorified eurogame, but the theme really shines with knowledge of the history and culture. As a eurogame, there are some mechanics that exist merely to allow the game to be played. However, most of what's going on is easily woven into the theme. The detriment is perhaps the focus on negative activity. While it could be interesting to have the students discuss why you decided to assassinate someone, I'm not sure that's where you want their focus to be. It would highlight at least one perspective.

...and it's a lot of fun to play...
 
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Darin Bolyard
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tool wrote:
I think your best bet is taking a game designed as a classroom simulation and re-theming it.

Probably this↑
 
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-matt s.
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I haven't played Here I Stand but knew somewhat about it based on others I know playing it. I just checked it out and noticed this writeup:

Here I Stand with a Classroom full of 5-6th graders…

Perhaps reading that and maybe even contacting the author would give you some ideas for this game or maybe some other to re-theme?

EDIT: I guess there's this one too:

Here I Stand in the College Classroom
 
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Dan Sherer
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Thanks for the replies.
I'll look at Here I Stand. Yedo (a name I am constantly angry with) is an idea but in my ideal game, there is some sort of area control/majority in there. If I was doing an Edo warrior class, though, Yedo is on the list (I would probably change or toss the assassination cards). On a similar line, the new Azuchi Castle game may be a good warrior option.

To those that mentioned classroom simulation games: can anyone suggest a place to start there? I've googled around a bit but I have not found anything that looks like it would fit.

Also, has anyone played The Journeys of Paul? That one looked like it could work (with a major re skin) but was on the light side. Another one that I thought could work was Revolution.
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Mike Smith
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Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I was reminded of this upcoming title Rising Sun for some reason.
 
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Dan Sherer
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Msmith10000 wrote:
Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I was reminded of this upcoming title Rising Sun for some reason.

Yes, it does seem worth looking at, as does Senji, which I really need to play.
 
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-matt s.
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I just thought of another: Princes of the Renaissance

Looks like it may be getting republished this year, too.
 
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Dan Sherer
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tasajara wrote:
I just thought of another: Princes of the Renaissance

Looks like it may be getting republished this year, too.
 
That does look interesting. I'll keep an eye out.
 
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