Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 27/01/2011

RPGs: a clear and present danger?

And no, we don’t mean rocket propelled grenades, we mean role-playing games. In a decision last year, the seventh circuit of the United States Court of Appeals ruled that a Wisconsin prison is free to ban the roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons because it threatens prison security. In making their ruling, the judges cited an affidavit from Captain Bruce Muraski (who spent nearly twenty years as Waupun prison’s Disruptive Group Coordinator):

…fantasy role-playing games like D&D have “been found to promote competitive hostility, violence, and addictive escape behavior, which can compromise not only the inmate’s rehabilitation and effects of positive program- ming, but endanger the public and jeopardize the safety and security of the institution.”


…cooperative games can mimic the organization of gangs and lead to the actual development thereof. Muraski elaborated that during D&D games, one player is denoted the “Dungeon Master.” The Dungeon Master is tasked with giving directions to other players, which Muraski testified mimics the organization of a gang.

Indeed, we hardly want to contribute to the scourge of elven gang violence. You’ll find more on the case via Fox News and the Geeks are Sexy blog.


Reacting to the Past news (27/1)

The latest news from the Reacting to the Past folks at Barnard College:

Regional Faculty Conference at Newman University (Wichita, KS), Feb. 25-27, 2011

This 2.5-day regional conference will introduce faculty to two games:Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587 and The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the “New Cosmology,” and the Catholic Church. Registration is ongoing.

Visit the conference web page for details


2011 Annual Institute at Barnard College – Program and registration details now available!

The eleventh Annual Summer Institute at Barnard College will be held in New York City on June 9-12, 2011. Please visit the institute web page for further information.

Further details concerning the Institute program, concurrent sessions, and online registration will be available in early February. In the meantime, questions regarding the institute should be directed to Dana Johnson (


Additional Events

March 5, 2011: John M. Burney, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of History, Doane College; and Mark Higbee, Professor of History, Eastern Michigan University. Concurrent Session, ” Facing the Elephant: Overcoming Faculty Fears about Active Learning and Game Playing.” AAC&U Network for Academic Renewal Conference, General Education and Assessment 3.0: Next-Level Practices Now (Chicago, IL)

March 25-27, 2011: Regional Faculty Conference at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

July 27-31, 2011: Game Workshops at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Values Education, Elmhurst College ( Elmhurst, IL).

Play the Past

I’ve added a link in the links section to Play the Past, a truly outstanding website “dedicated to thoughtfully exploring and discussing the intersection of cultural heritage (very broadly defined) and games/meaningful play (equally broadly defined).” Although only launched back in September, you’ll already find articles on everything from the use of Civilization-style computer games as historical learning tools, or the process of reconstructing the (fictional) past in the post-Apocalyptic game Fallout 3. They’ve also got a far cooler graphic layout than we do. Give it a visit!


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