Gaming the medieval past

Historian article

By Matthew Bennett and Ryan Lavelle, published 17th April 2020

Matthew Bennett and Ryan Lavelle explore how the devising, playing and discussion of war games can contribute to historical understanding.

Games as tools for learning are engaging for teachers and students alike. Whether computer-driven, board games, miniatures, role-play or re-enactment, they all provide scenarios within which learners can use a combination of information and their imaginations to help reach a historical understanding. Observing students taking part in such activities can also help lecturers and teachers to assess how much the group and individuals are absorbing the lessons and recreating experiences for themselves. This article provides an outline of activities concerned with gaming the historical past before focusing on the use of an interactive decision-making game about two eleventh-century conquests: the Danish in 1015–16 and the Norman in 1066... 

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