The Grade 12 Adventures in World History class traveled through time to take on the roles of Advisors, Seers, Seafarers, and Warlords to the Norse King, Harald Hadrata. Using the video game Civilization VI as an experiential medium, students helped expand the Norse trade networks, explore the western seas, settle new lands, and conquer Scotland and northern England. Through the game’s complex mechanics students learned about the Vikings as more than raiders, but also as traders, farmers, shipbuilders, poets, artisans, and clothmakers.

The ultimate goal of the game was exploring as far west as Vinland, and establishing the first European settlement in what would later become Newfoundland. Students dispelled myths about horned helmets, and learned of the notable contributions of key figures like Harald Finehair, Egil Skallagrimson, Eric the Red, and Harald Hadrata.

While videogames can sometimes be a dubious learning tool, Civilization VI includes detailed historical information about the buildings, units, scientific discoveries, and cultural developments relevant to the period of study. Through their roles as Advisors, Seers, Seafarers, and Warlords, each group had a set of goals to work towards regarding trade, religious development, military conquest, pillaging resources, and scientific advancement. Each turn gave groups a variety of options to choose from, with many opportunities for student groups to find cooperation, conflict, and compromise. In the end, the students successfully developed trade routes to Denmark and Sweden, conquered the Scottish city of Dun Breatann, raided the Northumbrian capital of Eoferwic by land, pillaged the coasts of Wessex and Frankia, explored Iceland and Greenland, and sent a Eric the Red to explore and settle Vinland. The victorious cheers of the Viking students echoed over the waves.

Vikings and Videogames

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