‘The Prince’ RPG: What Would Machiavelli Do? – Written by Carrie Biermann
As a professor of 10 years at Temple University, I’ve discovered that there’s more than one way to teach a text. When teaching Machiavelli’s The Prince, I realized that there were ways that were more concrete – and more fun – to engage the rules and realities of the author’s world and ideas. RPGs were just becoming an important part of my life, and I’ve found that much of the story and development, as well as the structure and rules, can help one engage more fully than just reading words on a page.
So, I invented a classroom RPG that would let my undergrad college students challenge each other as they learned. I’ve since gone on to create other curricula using RPG and LARP for other age groups and texts, but as my first try, this one is among my favorites. This game is heavily influenced by both Sid Meier’s early Civilization games (I once conquered the world at the level of muskets!) and my excellent friend Jen Deslaurier, who introduced me to RPGs (and Indian food) in the first place.