Games are not the only way to study history, but they can be an interesting way
to investigate what happened during pivotal battles.
Iencourage you to consider how various forms of gaming can bring historical and military events to life. This month I introduce you to a few
really interesting resources that allow
you and your kids to make decisions like
Napoleon, Lee, or MacArthur did.
This is one of my favorite history sites.
It contains rules for dozens of non-computer games that can enable you
and your kids to explore many historical
events through fascinating simulations.
Many of the games make use of miniature models, and most also include paper
models that you can print out.
For each game, there are rules, playing
pieces you can print out, links to related
sites, and historical background. These
games would be best played in a co-op
or group setting, as they are designed for
classroom use. Many can also be used
with smaller groups or even as few as two
players. Note that tabletop war games
have been in existence for some time and
can be very complex. These rules have
been adapted and tested for kids at about
the middle school level.
The games encompass many historical
time periods and a number of interesting
scenarios. Here are a few that caught my
eye as being especially suitable for home-
• Salamis—Play as the Greeks or the
Persians in one of history’s earliest re-
corded naval battles.
This;intrigu-ing game gives players a feel for the
problems faced in the U.S. Civil War.
• World War II Air Combat—Great
game for two players simulating dogfights. Other rules for other time periods are available.
FreeCiv is a free and open-source variation of Civilization, one of the most
famous computer games in, well, history. The basic thrust of all the Civilization games is the same: The player
controls a civilization that begins in
an ancient era. He slowly creates a