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Meaningful Play 2018 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitleRosenstrasse: Holocaust Education Through Role Play
Presenter(s)Jessica Hammer, Moyra Turkington and Nathan LeBlanc
SessionSociopolitical Games
TimeSaturday, October 13, 10:15a-11:15a
LocationLake Ontario
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionRosenstrasse is a digitally augmented tabletop role-playing game for four players and a facilitator. Players take the role of Jews and Aryans in mixed marriages living in Berlin between 1933 and 1943; the game culminates in the eponymous protests by Aryan women to free their Jewish husbands. In this paper, we describe key game design challenges encountered in developing a Holocaust-based role-playing game, and how we addressed them. How could players with little historical context participate successfully in the game? What were the risks of players getting the history wrong? Would players accept limits on their agency, and what conclusions would they draw from it? Could we make the connections between characters feel real, meaningful, and motivating in only a few hours? We conclude by sharing preliminary evidence for the game's impact, and by considering some of the challenges of deployment.

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