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The Second Crusade: The War Council of Acre, 1148

by Helen A. Gaudette

The Second Crusade takes place at the War Council of Acre in 1148, as the Pope has called for a second crusade. The council must debate the idea of “crusading,” the justifications for holy war, who will lead it, and how it will be conducted. Players become the monarchs, barons, and religious authorities present at the council. They are informed by the New Testament and the Qur’an, as well as the writers who described it: William of Tyre, Odo of Deuill, Otto of Freising and others. At the end, players will find out if their crusade was a success!

This is a Level 3 game that is still under development but has been approved by the Reacting Editorial Board (REB) for general use. A detailed explanation of the editorial process and game levels can be found on our REB Page.



Conflict and War Studies; Cultural and Social History; International Relations; Medieval History, Religion; Western Civ/History; World History

12th Century; Post-Classical History

In a Few Words
Relevant, fun, imaginative

Southwest Asia

Themes and Issues  
How can war be justified? What does it take to be a leader, to win the hearts and minds of your subjects/citizens? The history of religion and war in the Middle East.

Player Interactions 
Factional, Competitive, Collaborative

Sample Class Titles

Medieval Europe; The Crusades

Level 3 game (what's that mean?

Secret Voting, Rolling Dice, Physical Props

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is very structured and relatively demanding on the instructor.

Primary Source Highlights 

Fulcher of Chartes, The History of the Expedition to Jerusalem; William of Tyre, A History of the Deeds Done Beyond the Sea; Odo of Deuil, The Crusade of Louis VII

Notable Roles

Melisende of Jerusalem; Izz Abd al-Hasan Ali of Damascus; Master Robert, Leader of the Knights Templar

Using the Game

Class Time  
For this game, 3 setup sessions, 6 game sessions, and 1 debrief session are recommended.

Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. The Second Crusade may pair well with:


You can adjust the assignments to fit the learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/ thesis-driven writing and creative writing. All roles are required to give formal speeches.

Class Size and Scalability
This game is recommended for classes with 15-30 students.


Reacting Consortium members can download all game materials below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.  

Please Fill out the Permissions Request Form Before Using The Second Crusade in Your Class!


All students need a Gamebook, which includes resources and historical content. Members can download the Gamebook, and provide it to students for free or at cost.

Updated August 2015. .pdf file.

Instructor's Manual

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.

Updated August 2015. .pdf file.

Role Sheets

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, suggestions for further reading, and role-specific info or assignments.  

.zip file of .docx files.


Helen A. Gaudette

Helen A. Gaudette is Assistant Dean for International Education at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY. She manages international programs, partner relations, and international curricular initiatives. She holds a Ph.D. in Medieval History from the Graduate Center, CUNY.


Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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