Harold on Games Podcast #6 with Professor Patrick Rael – NOTES


Sound Cloud Link: Harold on Games Podcast #6 with Professor Patrick Rael

iTunes Link: Harold on Games Podcast #6 with Professor Patrick Rael

Stitcher Link: Harold on Games Podcast #6 with Professor Patrick Rael


Harold Buchanan on Twitter @HBuchanan2

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Patrick Rael is a Professor of History at the prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine. He was awarded a Ph.D. in 1995 in American History from the University of California, Berkeley. African-American history is Patrick’s specialty and he is the author of numerous essays and books.

Today we are going to talk about his seminar class, Historical Simulations, in which he works to answer the questions: Can board games teach history? Is it possible to analyze them as historical interpretations? What would such analyses reveal about both history and the way it is represented in popular culture? Which game mechanics or approaches to design seem to be better able to promote historical arguments? What factors may impede the representation of the past in games?

The Seminar Explores the past while addressing these questions. It examines six topics in history and plays one game related to them. Topics include: the age of exploration and discovery, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, frontier exploration, slavery, and the American Civil War.


Join the Harold on Games guild on Board Games Geek and leave me a comment with your thoughts and ideas. Thanks to the San Francisco based Jeff Denson for the intro and outro music. Check them out at http://www.jeffdenson.com . Do me the favor of sharing the podcast with a few friends. That will help to get the word out.

Danielle Allen

Pomona College Commencement

The Declaration of Independence




Patrick Rael’s BGG Blog Ludica

No Longer a Trivial Pursuit: Using Games to Teach History


Can board games teach history? (HIST2624, Bowdoin College, F17)


Real-live adversaries! In-your-face victories!


Battle of Midway

Battle of Austerlitz

What If History: Is There Any Validity To Counterfactualism?


Jeff Denson

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The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition

Roger Crowley

John Shy

The Terror by Dan Simmons



The Patriot

Ready Player One

Deadpool 2

Jessica Jones

The Terror


Colonial: Europe’s Empires Overseas

Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection

Founding Fathers

Lewis & Clark: The Expedition


Freedom: The Underground Railroad

Divided Republic

Battle of the Bulge

Terrible Swift Sword

Through the Ages

The Grizzled




Andean Abyss

Falling Sky

Jim Dunnigan

Secret Hitler

Pandemic Legacy



One thought on “Harold on Games Podcast #6 with Professor Patrick Rael – NOTES

  1. Loved the podcast and the discussion of the methodology used before even starting the game.

    An unsolicited book recommendation though: checkout Parshall and Tully’s Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Offers a fantastic perspective of what really happened at Midway…debunking the aircraft on he flight deck myth…


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