Let's Play: Provide or Conquer?

Post date: Sep 3, 2017 3:10:50 PM

I've recently finished creating a classroom decision-making game based on the fall of the Roman Empire. If you've played my 13 Colonies game it will look fairly familiar.

I have yet to play this one with students but I've tested it myself and it all seems to work properly. I'll be playing it with my kids next week so I'll update from there. Until then, enjoy Provide or Conquer!

Provide or Conquer

Time to play: 45 minutes

Materials: Scoresheet, game presentation, projector

Set up: Either print scoresheets for each team or provide them with the electronic version. The electronic version is highly recommended as it will track points automatically for students.

How to win:

-The goal is to earn as much gold as possible by the end of the game.

-Gold is earned each turn based on the team’s population. Tax is collected at a rate of 5 gold per population each turn.

-Gold can also be earned at various decision points in the game but tax collecting is the primary method.

Game Terms:

-Order: A representation of how peaceful and safe your nation currently is. It has very minor effects during the game but a huge effect at the end. Players should not be told how Order will affect them.

-Population: A representation of the size of your nation. More people means more opportunity to collect taxes. For the Romans expansion was essentially necessary. They needed the spoils of war and increase tax collection to pay for their massive government projects.

-Gold: A representation of the power of your nation. While not necessarily a good one it was often how nations measured themselves in relation to one another. Plus, it’s easy for kids to understand that more gold is better than less gold.

How to play:

1. Divide students into teams. Any size would work for this game. It can be played individually but debating choices amongst the team is more valuable.

2. Begin Round 1: 50 B.C.

3. To start the round teams choose to Provide or Conquer. This decision is recorded in the second column on the score sheet by writing either “Provide” or “Conquer.”

a. Provide is based on the idea of “bread and circuses” which the Roman emperors used to pacify the people. This choice adds 1 Order to the team. This is recorded in the third column (Order Change) of the score sheet by writing “+1.”

b. Conquer simulates Roman conquests of barbarian tribes. This choice adds 2 Population to the team but subtracts 1 Order (Order can, and often will be, negative.) This is recorded in both the third and fourth columns of the sheet.

4. Once all teams have made and recorded their choice reveal the first Event.

5. In this event Julius Caesar has just conquered the Gauls. Your teams must decide what to do with the conquered people. They will choose A if they want to accept them into the empire or B if they want them kicked out. There is a 30 second timer than you can start at any point if they are taking too long to decide. Their decision is recorded in column 5 “Event Decision” on the scoresheet.

6. Once all teams have recorded a decision or time has run out reveal the results on the next slide. The results are designed to reflect historical reality of their choices. They record any losses or gains in columns 6, 7, and 8.

7. If you are using the electronic sheet the 50 B.C. round is over, the spreadsheet calculates all points automatically. Repeat for the remaining rounds. If you are on paper it’s now time to do math.

*This is possible to do on paper. I’ve done a similar game before. I wouldn’t recommend it. It makes the game take at least twice as long. But, if that’s your only choice here’s how to do it:

a. In column 9 “Order Total” teams calculate their Order lost or gained for the turn from both of their decisions. They start at zero so this turn they just write whatever the change was.

b. In column 10 “Population Total” they do the same but they start with a Population of 5. So, a team that had +2 Pop in column 4 would write a 7 (5 + 2) in column 10.

c. In column 11 “Taxes” they multiply their total from column 10 by 5. In the above example, they would write 35 (5 x 7.)

d. In column 12 “Gold Total” they write their total gold so far in the game. At this point this number will be the same as the number in column 11 Taxes. Next turn, however, they will add their previous turn’s gold to any gold earned that turn (through taxes or event decisions) for their new total.

8. Plays continues until the final round, 476 A.D. At this point final checks are made based on the Order stat. Final gold calculations are made and a winner is declared.