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The game I made is strategy-based and loosely historical. I kept the rules relatively simple so students could navigate them in a short amount of time. It gives context and purpose to the readings: now students are reading about these ancient battles to learn strategies that they can use in the game. In groups of four, students are officers of a cohort. Each office has different duties (outlined in the instructions and materials I’ve linked below), and together the groups decide what action their cohort takes each session. Their actions need to be historically founded, and they can provide research if they suggest something I doubt is authentic. I require them to judge their movement based on the mileage key on the map of Italy I hang on the wall, and the class as a whole is fighting for the same end result: to keep Carthage out of Rome.
Not only am I having fun playing the brilliant general Hannibal and attempting to crush my students’ cohorts, I am watching students get excited and focus who often check out halfway through class. When we recently read a short passage from Livy in which Hannibal tempts a Spanish army to charge into a river and then demolishes them with his cavalry, one of my students–a student I almost always have to remind to be on task--immediately asked “Can we use this against Hannibal?” Not only was he paying attention, he was taking in the point of the passage and ready to apply it to a ‘real life’ situation! After I said yes, he responded, “Good. Because I really want to kill Hannibal.”You can find the entire article at the Classical Journal Forum. Feel free to comment and question!