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Radical Reconstruction in New Orleans, 1868-76

by Nicolas W. Proctor

Navigate the perils of Reconstruction from the grassroots of the oddest city in the United States

At the end of the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, but this was not the end of conflict. Vindictive former Confederates returned to power and sought to construct a new system of forced, race-based labor. The US Congress responded with military occupation and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Louisiana’s wealth, diverse population, and lengthy experience with military occupation ensure that it will be one of the chief arenas of the struggles to reconstruct the union and rebuild southern society. As the largest city in the South, New Orleans was home to thousands of recently-enslaved Freedpeople as well as French-speaking Black Creoles, white unionists, German immigrants, and Yankee carpetbaggers. This game examines the ways in which these groups interacted with one another and contended with the myriad challenges of the Reconstruction era. Endemic corruption, widespread illiteracy, economic turmoil, and natural disaster complicated their efforts, as did violently racist former Confederates determined to restore their dominion.

This game encourages players to contemplate the issues of political participation, suffrage, and civil rights at a local level. Players must consider the ways in which their commitment to education, religion, politics, and the use of force may alter their lives and those of others. To answer these questions, players must contend against one another, but they must also figure out how to work together against the white supremacist threat.

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; Political Science and Government

19th Century; Late Modern Period

In a Few Words

Governing presents challenges

North America

Notable Roles

Louis Charles Roudanez, Father Claude Paschal Maistre, Edmonia Highgate

Themes and Issues  
Civil rights, voting rights, white supremacy, paramilitary violence

Player Interactions 
Factional, Non-factional, Competitive, Collaborative, Coalition-Building

Sample Class Titles
American Civil War; African-American History

Level 3 (what's that mean?


Differentiated Voting, Formal Podium Rule, Resurrection Roles, Physical Props: "Effort Tokens"

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is moderately chaotic and very demanding on the instructor.

Primary Source Highlights

Frederick Douglass, What the Black Man Wants; Carl Schurz, Report on the Condition of the South; John Willis Menard, Black and White

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 11 to 30 students.

Class Time  
For this game, 5 game sessions are recommended, although it may also be played in 6 game sessions. 1 debrief session is also 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. Reconstruction may pair well with:

You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing, journals, and newspaper articles. All roles are required to give formal speeches.


Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading. 

Please Fill out the Permissions Request Form Before Using Reconstruction, 1868 in Your Class!


Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content.

VERSION 2.7. Updated July 2022. .docx file.

Role Sheets and Handouts

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

Updated July 2022 .docx file.

.zip file of .docx files.

Instructor's Manual

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

VERSION 2.7. Updated July 2022 .docx file.


Nicolas W. Proctor

Nicolas W. Proctor grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. After completing his B.A. in history from Hendrix College, he received an M.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations from the University of Kentucky, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from Emory University. He is now a Professor of History at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where he has also served as department chair and director of the first-year program. Proctor is also the Chair of the Reacting Editorial Board, overseeing game development. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with his family, a print shop, lots of books, five chickens, and too many Legos.

After completing a traditional historical monograph, Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South, he reoriented his research to fit the needs of a teaching institution and focused on writing historical role-playing games.


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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