Athena Reacts: The Gamemaster's Experience

Nancy Felson

University of Georgia

The faculty member in a Reacting course has two roles: "On the one hand, she will grade your oral and written work much like an instructor in your other classes.  During the introductory classes for each game… she will lecture or lead discussions in the conventional manner.  But the instructor is also responsible for running games and advising students on matters of strategy and rhetoric.  Her main goal in running the game is to ensure, as best she can, that the game be a fulfilling and historically credible experience.  Thus she cannot disclose to a member of Faction A the strategy of someone in Faction B.  Nor can she reveal some of the elements of game design that were hidden from the actual historical figures…  Thus in running the game, the instructor will not tell you everything she knows.  So that you can distinguish between when the Instructor is behaving in the conventional manner and when she is acting in proprietary fashion as Gamemaster, she may so identify herself.  That is to say, if the instructor identifies herself, in class or in e-mails as 'Gamemaster,' she is functioning in that special role.  When she identifies herself as 'Instructor,' she is acting as a 'normal' teacher" (from Introduction to Reacting to the Past (2004), 6).

The faculty member from Classics who taught the first Reacting course at U.Ga. (along with another faculty member, from English) and performed the "Gamemaster" role in the "Athens game" chose to identify herself as "Athena" rather than as "Gamemaster."  "Athena" will describe and evaluate that initial offering of Reacting and will discuss future plans for Reacting at Georgia.

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