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Grandsons of Genghis: The Mongol Qurultai of 1246

by John Giebfried

The First Truely Global Meeting

There is no more truly global event in the history of the pre-modern world than the great Mongol Qurultai of 1246. Coming from as far afield as France, Russia, Armenia, Baghdad, Tibet and Korea – dignitaries and diplomats came to observe and react to the most consequential election in Eurasian history to that point. Genghis Khan and his four sons had assembled the largest empire in the world – now it would be the grandsons of Genghis who would fight among themselves to take the reigns and set the course of world history. This game takes students to the Golden Ordo – the gigantic tent of the Mongol Khans – where a remarkable woman, the empress dowager Toregene, presides over a series of debates which will reshape not only the Mongol Empire but the entire world. Grandsons of Genghis is divided into three debates, the first discusses who should be the next great khan and on what basis they should rule. The second is a theological debate between visiting Christian, Muslim and Buddhist dignitaries judged by the Mongol characters, and the third has these characters debate where the Mongol army should invade next.

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, Medieval History, Religion, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Western Civ/History, World History

13th Century

Eurasia, Mongolia

Published Level 3 game (what's that mean?

Themes and Issues  

Historical Memory, Contested Legacies of Genghis Khan, Right to Rule, Interfaith Dialogue and Debate, Nomadic Society, Gender

Player Interactions 
Factional, Competitive, Collaborative, Coalition-Building

Sample Class Titles
Intro to World History, Western Civ, Asian History, Medieval History, History of Central Asia, Medieval History

In a Few Words
Global Family Feud

Divided Spaces; Money; Rolling Dice; Formal Podium Rule

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
Moderate to high chaos,
Moderate demand on instructor

Primary Source Highlights

The Secret History of the Mongols,

Rashid al-Din's Jami' Al-Tawarikh,

Friar John of Plano-Caprini's Historia Mongalorum

Notable Roles


Grand Prince Yaroslav II of Vladimir

King Gojong of Goryeo

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 15-40 students. The game can be played with less than 15 with players playing both a Mongol and non-Mongol role, as explained in the Instructor's Manual.

Class Time  
It's recommended to devote at least 2 class sessions to set up the game. The game has three phases which can each be played in either one or two sessions, making it 3 or 6 sessions long.

2-8 Pregame sessions, 3 or 6 Game Sessions

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. Grandsons of Genghis may pair well with:

Traditional Paper/ Research/Thesis-Driven Writing and Letter Writing

All roles are expected to give a speech.


Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.  Basic game materials (Gamebook, Role Sheets, Instructor's Guide, and Handouts) are available to any instructor through the publisher. 

Please Fill out the Permissions Request Form Before Using Grandsons of Genghis in Your Class!


Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content. Grandsons of Genghis is available to download.

Updated June 2023
.docx file

Role Sheets 

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

 .zip file of .doc files.

Instructor's Manual

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

.doc file.


John Giebfried

John Giebfried is a historian of intercultural connections in Medieval Eurasia, especially in relation to the Crusades and the Mongol invasions. He has taught at over half a dozen institutions across three continents, and currently works in the faculty of History and Digital Humanities at the University of Vienna.


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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