History and Life Skills
With Avalanche Press’ Soldier Games
Many children have played Risk, so
they’re familiar with generic games
of global strategy. But Soldier Kings and Soldier Emperor are accurate simulations of real historical
conflicts that teach players to deal with
all the real-world issues that nations confront
when managing geo-political strategy.
The skills and knowledge which the Soldier
games teach include:
War is expensive. You have to pay money to
build armies and fleets, conquer your objectives,
repair and maintain military units and pay
your soldiers and sailors. The more you build
and the more you try to conquer, the more
expensive it gets. Players of Soldier
games must be careful to plan and build only
the forces they need, and launch only the
military campaigns they can afford.
At the same time, they must keep enough money
in the bank for emergencies and future efforts.
Players who don’t delay gratification,
spending lots of money to build and conquer
everything they can, find themselves poor
very quickly. Their armies melt away due to
lack of funds for maintenance and repair.
Only players who manage their money carefully
have a chance to win.
Negotiation and Trade
No nation is strong enough to win the game
on its own. Each player needs allies, and
must choose them carefully. A nation may be
rich or poor, and have large manpower reserves
or small ones. A student playing a poor nation
must make alliances with rich nations, and
then negotiate with them (making promises
of cooperation or exchanges of manpower) to
obtain the money he or she needs. Players
of Soldier games develop negotiation
skills which they use to work out fair trades
that work to their mutual benefit.
To win, each player must conquer rich foreign
territories while protecting his or her own
lands from invasion. Allied players must therefore
coordinate their forces’ movements to
defeat enemies, take valuable objectives,
and hold them against counterattacks without
leaving their homelands vulnerable. Playing
Soldier games helps students develop
strategic skills, since they must weigh the
costs and benefits of taking specific territories
while guarding against trouble elsewhere.
Geography and Economics
The Soldier games are played on maps
of Europe, the Americas, Africa, India, Southeast
Asia and Indonesia. They are therefore excellent
tools for teaching global geography. In addition,
each geographical region is rated for the
value of its natural resources. Teachers can
point out the high resource value of areas
like the Caribbean islands and ask students
to think about why such territory is so valuable.
For example: “How many of the things
that you eat contain sugar? Well, what if
you had no sugar? What if everything you’d
been eating all your life tasted like cardboard?
(Pause to let that sink in.) How much would
you be willing to pay to get some sugar? That’s
why France traded all of Canada to Britain
just to get the little island of Martinique
back from them. And what did they grow on
And for more advanced students, the economic
realism of the Soldier games shows
why colonialism made Britain and France so
dominant. It also opens up discussions of
the aftereffects of colonialism, how each
part of the world has fared since the colonial
powers left, and why.
Many students find history dull and uninteresting.
Historical games are an excellent way of showing
students that history is not just names and
dates. People in the past did things for specific
reasons, and the world today would be very
different if they had done things differently.
The Soldier games bring these possibilities
to life for students. For example, what if
France hadn’t lost the war in the Americas?
What if Britain had run out of money and been
unable to hold onto its overseas colonies?
We might all be speaking French today. Have
students play a Soldier game and then
write essays summarizing what they did in
the game and why, and speculating on how the
world might be different if what happened
in the game had happened in real life. Which
nations would be more powerful and which would
be less so? Why? And what would that mean
for different parts of the world?
In addition, each Soldier game comes with a deck of
historically accurate event cards that players
can use to foil their enemies’ plans
at the worst possible moments (or the best,
depending on your perspective!). Players who
protest that generals don’t disobey
orders, or that military governors don’t
do stupid things like banning all trade to
fight smuggling, can be told no, they really
did such things. Sometimes history is stranger
Best of all, the Soldier games are
highly enjoyable for children and adults,
and provide a structured, educational activity
for families as well as school groups. The
skills the Soldier games teach are
useful in all aspects of life.
Buy Soldier Kings today, and learn!
Pick up Soldier Emperor and learn even more!