This is a game I created for my World History class. I consider it an open source document, so if you use it or have suggestions for its improvement, please drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Silk Road
In this game, teams will compete for profit on the Silk Road in the year 120 A.D. There are eight teams, four of which are empires (Han, Kushan, Parthian, and Roman), three of which are mobile groups (Chinese, Indian, and Greek merchants), and one (Huns/Xiongnu) which is mobile but largely settled in the Tarim Basin. Each team will begin with five coins and some additional items. By the end of the game, we will see who has profited the most. But, beware: riches and luck are often accompanied by danger. . .
Empire teams are to arrange themselves in the room in an approximation of their location on the map. Mobile teams will move as needed among them. Each team will make use of what has been provided in the envelope and may use the text in order to make decisions about strategy.
EMPIRE TEAMS: You have been given five coins and a pile of cards representing resources. These resources may be identified as particular trade goods you have to offer from within your territories, or they may be identified as armed forces and used as protection against incursion or trespass. (Please write directly on the card what it is meant to represent and decide what it is worth. Example: “This card is 10 rolls of silk cloth and is worth 2 coins.” Then plan on what you want from other lands.) You may trade with either your trade good cards or with coin. **Nothing has an inherent or obvious monetary value. It is up to you to barter and set a value on the goods being traded.** Deal with the merchants who approach you as you wish: buy their goods, give them goods to carry, charge a toll for passing through, or stop them at the border and handle all passing trade yourself.
MERCHANT TEAMS: You have been given five coins and a pile of cards representing IOUs. You may use either to purchase trade goods, but you may want to reserve some coin for tolls or other purposes. Your object is to map out a route, obtain goods to sell elsewhere, and make a profit. You may choose to hand off goods to other merchant teams or empires and then return home with new trade items, or you may try to make it to the other end of the Silk Road. Keep in mind the dangers of the road, however. Making it to the end may require luck, cash and the benevolence of empires.**Nothing has an inherent or obvious monetary value. It is up to you to barter and set a value on the goods being traded.**
HUNS' TEAM (or Xiongnu as the Chinese called them.)
You are the wild cards of this game because, while you control a certain area, you have the ability to move. Deal with the merchants who approach you or pass by your territory as you wish: buy their goods, give them goods to carry, take their goods, or offer your “protection” for a price.
You have been given five coins and a pile of cards representing resources. You may identify these resources however you wish: they could be goods you have for sale or trade (Please write directly on the card what it is meant to represent and decide what it is worth. Example: “This card is 1 fine horse and is worth 2 coins.”); they could represent your protection and bought for a price (Write “protection” right on the card); or, they can represent your own forces and held in reserve. **Nothing has an inherent or obvious monetary value. It is up to you to set a value on what is being traded.**
Note: you are great horsemen and warriors, but you may not capture any team or set of allied teams that outnumber you by more than one. Thus, a group of merchants (two allied teams) or merchants under the protection of an imperial army can resist you. That doesn’t mean you can’t intimidate them, however.