In 1933 Berlin, the winds are changing. As the Nazi party rises to power, lines are drawn in the sand to separate who is German and who is not. This line runs straight through marriages between Jewish and “Aryan” Germans. Over the course of an in-game decade, players explore how the Reich’s racial policies, restrictions, and violence strip away liberty, security, and dignity for these families.
Though they are sheltered for a while by their marriages, the Jewish men in these partnerships will not escape. When they are finally seized for deportation, the women in their lives have one last chance to keep them alive. To do so, they must stand up and defy the Third Reich in civil disobedience.
In the very heart of darkness, is such resistance even possible?
Research-backed and tested. Rosenstrasse builds on transformational learning theory to engage players with history and activism. The game has been playtested with over 250 players in six countries, including Holocaust educators, historians, activists, and learning researchers.
Standalone game. Rosenstrasse is a tabletop designed for four players and a facilitator. It runs as a one-shot in approximately four hours, and comes with everything needed for play. Facilitators will benefit from reading the game materials before running the game, but players can simply pick it up and begin to play. A two-hour version is available for groups with time constraints.
Experience multiple perspectives. Each player takes the role of two different characters: one male, one female, at least one of whom is Jewish. By taking on multiple roles, players have the chance to explore the perspective both of those targeted by an oppressive government, and those who can use their social status to resist.
No prior historical knowledge necessary. The game contains guidelines for the facilitator to help them keep play appropriate to the tone and theme of the game. All the facilitator needs to do to prepare is read through the game prior to running it for others. A post-game debrief supports the players in correcting any misconceptions about the historical context.
Hammer, J. & Turkington, M. (2020). Rosenstrasse: Embodied learning through role play. Association for Jewish Studies : Perspectives. [link]
Hammer, J., Turkington, M., & LeBlanc, N. (2018). Rosenstrasse: Holocaust education through role play. Meaningful Play 2018. [pdf]
Moyra Turkington (Unruly Games)
M. Isabel Giordano-Scott
We are grateful to our Kickstarter backers for making it possible to produce this game.