I recently made the (virtual) acquaintance of the famous game designer Jonathan Tweet, who has been involved in authoring a number of Dungeons and Dragons volumes and books for other RPGs. Jonathan also published his first children’s book recently, Grandmother Fish, introducing children to evolution. I plan on blogging about that soon – and getting my copy signed by Jonathan in person at Gen Con.
But it turns out that our interests overlap on more than gaming and evolution. There is an upcoming debate in Seattle between Jonathan Tweet and Richard Carrier, about mythicism and the historical Jesus! The title of the event is “What Should Atheists Conclude about the Existence of Jesus?” and it will be held at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, Washington 98106) on Friday, August 11th at 7pm. You can find the outline of Jonathan’s presentation on his blog.
Tom Decker’s A.D. 30: Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem is a very reverent solitaire game that takes you, as the player, along the travels of Jesus, from His baptism in the River Jordan to His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Along the way, you will make decisions which will affect the outcome of His journeys and teachings. Thirteen possible alternate outcomes are included, not to imply that other outcomes were in fact possible, but to build a strategy game that includes challenges with the possibility of success and failure as the player of the game. Achieving the Major Victory (the historical outcome) will demonstrate the extraordinary set of circumstances that took place and were necessary to achieve the birth of Christianity.
The events that take place often cause the political and religious leaders of the area (represented by Caiaphas, Herod Antipas, and Pontius Pilate) to take notice and become increasingly concerned. In game terms, this is shown by moving those Leader markers along a track on the game board, advancing them from their start spaces one step at a time until they reach the final space on that track (“Arrest in Jerusalem”), at which point they attempt to arrest Jesus.
You get the chance to react to these movements with several choices each game turn. The goal is to assemble all twelve Apostles, maintain a high level of piety, and enter into Jerusalem. Additionally, when trying to reconstruct the beginnings of Christianity historically, it is imperative that Judas betrays Jesus in Jerusalem. Events tend to push Jesus towards Jerusalem, but try to avoid entering too early before all the important pieces are in place!
Finally, I had my attention drawn to Hirst Arts Molds, which has resources for replicating ancient buildings, which can be useful for historical reenactment gaming as well as other purposes.