Friday, October 29, 2021

7 Questions with the Grand Tactician Team, Creators of The Civil War 1861 - 1865, A Real Time Civil War Strategy Game

 



The Grand Tactician team:

Oliver Keppelm├╝ller (O), a treasury banker from Austria. He created a strategy game called The Seven Years War (1756-1763), alone, from scratch, releasing in late 2015. This game received 2 DLCs during 2016, expanding the battle game-play and adding a Swedish themed campaign of the Pomeranian War.

Ilja Varha  (I), a Finnish Army officer and a military history buff, ran into Oliver’s game while working for a gaming magazine as a freelance writer. Ilja, with a history of modding, wargaming and simulators, both entertainment and military use, got involved in Oliver’s project and designed the Pomeranian War DLC. It was after the release of this DLC that the seed for Grand Tactician was planted.

Peter Lebek (P) a Control Room Operator in the Chemical Industry in Germany, joined the team in 2017 plugging a gaping hole in the team’s line. Now we had a full-time artist to improve the game’s visuals, especially the UI. Peter was previously involved in the Europa Barbarorum II mod for Total War, creating units and coding.


Launch trailer

 




1.          How and when did you get  hooked on history?

O: Probably it started as I got my first LEGO castle.

I: Very early on, through computer games. I think it started with old WW2 fighter sims and later with strategy games such as Steel Panthers. 

P: I remember reading old books with beautiful paintings of medieval soldiers back in the days. Modelling was also one of my hobbies as a child, creating those old planes and building armies of model soldiers. I think here it started somehow.


2.          What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

O: It was always fascinating for me to imagine how historical people felt in certain situations, eg. when a general realized he had failed, and what he learned from his past.

I: I read a lot, mostly about (military) history, modern studies or historical books by the people who witnessed or experienced it. 

P: It always catches my attention in every media and discussion. I can´t get enough of reading and learning from the past.


3.          How does history play a part of your professional life/career?

O: Not much until now ;-)

I: During high school I was thinking about going to study history in a university. But after I got into military service (which is compulsory in Finland), I decided to pursuit that career. I wrote my master’s thesis on military history. For all military people around the world, traditions are extremely important. Not only to know where you came from, but also to learn from. As a student of art of war, reading about history is very important. It’s a way of learning from other peoples’ experiences. 

P: Well, my plan was to studying history after school and it was actually the only subject I wanted to study. However, in the end, I decided to do something "meaningful" -- and go to work in the industry. History became a hobby. And through history, I started to create artistic content for historical games. The circle is now closed, I guess.






4.          Why is studying/knowing history important?

O: Knowing the past helps to understand the present.

I: People throughout the history have gone through similar situations as we go through today. It’s very important to learn from other peoples’ actions, the cause and effect of things in the past. It provides a compass to navigate the present, so to say.

P: History is repeating itself. And everything we saw in the past, we see again day by day.






5.          What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?

O: Guess what: "The American Civil War", this because it was perfectly documented and one of the first conflicts that came to live through photos. Furthermore, strategies and technologies heralded the dawn of a new era in warfare.

I: Currently the time from the 17th century to 19th century. Warfare, social politics and life in general during that time is fascinating to me. 

P: I like every aspect of history and all eras. Not only the militaristic parts. Also socio-political, biographies or the everyday life of simple men 6000 B.C. But if you ask me to name one era, then it’s probably the time after Alexander's death and the Wars of the Diadochi, which was also my first project in art and history gaming. It´s incredibly interesting how different cultures melt together and the almost impossible task of controlling a huge empire without any modern ways of communication. 





6.        How difficult is it to create a game that balances history and playability or enjoyability?

O: Nearly impossible. Balancing between playability and historical accuracy is a thin red line. We tried to stay closer to historical accuracy but needed to rearrange a few topics in order for the game to stay enjoyable.

I: Very difficult. It’s always a trade off one way or another, and a compromise. Also in historical games players can cheat by knowing things they should now, if they try to immerse themselves in the game. For this reason, historical games as an art form are more like historical movies. They are created to entertain, they will cut corners and will provide a point of view maybe, but they never can convey the whole story, let alone truth. 


7.      Tell us about your upcoming release of Grand Tactician: The Civil War ? What sets it apart ?


I: The game is a huge project undertaken by a couple of guys. It’s our vision of a strategy game we wanted to play, but which did not exist before. The game has a campaign layer, where you manage your nation, the north or the south, during the American Civil War. When armies engage, you can fight the battles. It’s different from most other games in that it runs in real time and has realistic game mechanics like order delays. Most strategy games, especially in the grand strategic layer run turn-based. Real time allows more realism in military operations, as everything will have a delay. This means the player will have to plan ahead. 


In the game we also try to tell the story of the war in a bit different way, through period art, photographs and documentary style cutscenes where we use colorized period photos and epic re-enactment footage from LionHeart FilmWorks.








Friday, October 22, 2021

7 Questions with Spencer Van Herik, Historical Portrayer of Dr. Joseph Warren

 


Spencer Van Herik is a historical interpreter from Chicago, Illinois. Spencer has dedicated himself to portraying Dr. Joseph Warren (1741-1775) since late-2019, as well as communicating the history of 18th century colonial America. Spencer currently runs an Instagram account archiving Dr. Warren’s life, as well as the people and events of Revolutionary Boston, which can be found on Instagram @dr.josephwarren as well as on his Facebook page and Twitter account @spencervanherik. Spencer is also a musician and songwriter in addition to his primary work as an historical interpreter.



1) How and/or when did you get hooked on history? 
 
I've always been "hooked" on history, especially history outside of North America. I've always felt it was important to know the backgrounds of other nations and cultures, even while growing up; that's only grown over the years, as I've had the opportunity to travel as an adult. 

Upon visiting Boston, Massachusetts for the first time, however, my interest in history went from fascination to rabid dedication towards its preservation, and for the first time, probably ever, my country's history meant more to me than anything else. 

It's been an exciting journey, and I'm grateful to have received so much appreciation for my work as well as have made some great connections and friendships to lean on! That sense of community amongst interpreters has made it all the more worthwhile so far, and I don't plan on stopping my work anytime soon. 

2) What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

History serves as a guide in all that I do nowadays. Whether I'm doing historical interpretation or writing music, I try to incorporate my experiences and the experiences of others into all of my work. There are great stories from history all over the world!

History has also provided the tools to learn more about myself as a person, especially since taking on the portrayal of a Founding Father. Dr. Joseph Warren once said, "Act worthy of yourselves." Those words have meant a lot to me since taking on portraying the man that actually said them, and I've tried to "act worthy of myself" in all aspects of my life since.  

3) How will history play a part in your professional life/career? 

History has already played a huge part in my professional life! I left my previous career just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to commit myself to historical interpretation and research, and I'm fortunate that my work hasn't had to be paused yet (outside of performing in public). 

What I do now, in addition to music, I whole-heartedly consider my job, because what I do may influence people who may have never heard of a particular person or event before coming across my work. That influence matters, and I'm aware of the responsibility that comes with being in a position to educate others, which I take on with the utmost care for my readers and content followers on social media. 

4) Why is studying/knowing history important? 

The best tools for learning are lessons, and history has plenty of them to choose from. We have all of the necessary tools at our disposal to never repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. 

By utilizing history, combined with the present, we have more ability than ever to compose compelling stories to share with future generations, while also bestowing useful knowledge.

When I came across Dr. Joseph Warren, I thought my approach would serve his memory well; but I never thought I would learn so much more than just him, and that's an experience that anyone focusing on studying history can enjoy! 

5) What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why? 

I would say, by this point, I'm a bit biased towards 18th century colonial America, because that's the period where I've had to literally live in for some time now! There's a lot to unpack in the years before and after the American Revolution as well, so I focus on that era for my work.

During any free time available, I now enjoy learning about the settlements in North America during the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the history of the indigenous tribes over the last 500 years. My focus after Dr. Joseph Warren will be on the Stockbridge Mohicans, a Christain-assimilated indigenous tribe that pledged their allegiance to the American cause in late-1774 that were present at Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Chelsea Creek, the Battle of Bunker Hill and later the Battles of Saratoga and the Siege of Fort Ticonderoga. 

The history of Great Britain also never ceases to reel me into a "rabbit-hole," since it relates to my current focus. I always end up reading about the Anglo-Saxon period in England until the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066 (William de Warrenne, a knight and baron to William I, is a possible distant ancestor to Dr. Joseph Warren), or about the English Civil War (1642–1651), since those periods played huge roles in forming the structure of government and society that existed in Great Britain during the 18th century and, in some ways, still exists today. 




6) What led you to become a portrayer of Dr. Joseph Warren? 

There were a multitude of factors that led to becoming the portrayer of the "Founding Martyr."  I was in a unique position to take my artistic endeavors to their highest potential as a full-time musician and songwriter in late-2019; I had already released two full-length albums and was in the process of working on a third; my first ever trip to Boston changed all of that. 

I found myself doing research during all hours of the day, and being impressed, for the first time, by any Founding Father; I never felt a personal connection to any particular figure until I came across the memory of Dr. Joseph Warren. 

I started seeing a lot of myself in Dr. Warren as I began reading his letters, and when I started working on the timeline of his life I came to the conclusion, which I still hold, that, while alive, he was the most important Son of Liberty in North America. I was baffled that prior to my first visit to Boston I had no idea who he even was, and I wanted to change that however I could! 

I endeavored a second trip to Boston, just months after the first, and presented an idea for a program focused on Dr. Warren and his second Boston Massacre oration from March 6, 1775; that speech is where "Act worthy of yourselves" derives from. After pitching the idea to a few of the local historical sites, Revolutionary Spaces, who are the caretakers of Old State House and Old South Meeting House in Boston, gave their full support and resources towards making the event a reality. I am a huge supporter and advocate of their work, and if you aren't following them or know of their work I suggest changing that!

While writing the production, when the hard question finally came "Who is going to play Dr. Warren?", I said "I'll do it" without hesitation. I hadn't even intended to portray him, but it felt right after going through almost six months of research to that point; I was going to leave the acting to local-based interpreters, who were far more experienced than I was at the time; I just felt, in that moment, that I could do Dr. Warren and the speech justice, but the thought of working as a full-time historical interpreter hadn't even crossed my mind yet. Unfortunately, the event in question, which was planned for March 2020, was and is still postponed due to the pandemic, but I'm still hard at work and ready to bring that production to life when the time is right!

Fast forward to more than a year later and more performances have come and gone, all virtual (for now), and I have plans through 2025 to celebrate the 250th anniversaries of the early events of the American Revolution. Several moments from Warren's life during those years deserve to be better celebrated, and that's where I've decided to take my work for now. 

7) Why is Dr. Warren an important figure in American history? 

Dr. Warren's life serves as a lens into the years before the American Revolution. Warren also lived an entire lifetime from Spring 1774 to June 17, 1775, acting as the de facto Whig leader in Boston as Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock and others attended the Continental Congresses in Philadelphia; his efforts, as well as the letters to and from his friends and allies, serve as great glimpses into the climate of Boston and Massachusetts Bay at the time. 

Dr. Warren's ardent civic service, his love and diplomacy for of a free and independent America from British rule, and his words and actions throughout the course of his life and in the early months of the American Revolution are still some of the most daring, graceful and resolute actions of any person involved in the War for American Independence. Warren was also bold, brave, calculated and firm in his beliefs, even when his life was in danger; a character such as him, in my opinion, doesn't exist in many other places within the historical record of mankind. 

Abigail Adams, whose own family had grown close to the Warren family over the years, lamented Dr. Warren's untimely death at the Battle of Bunker Hill by stating the following in a letter to husband John, alerting him of the dreadful news just a day after the battle on June 18, 1775: "Dearest Friend, The Day; perhaps the decisive Day is come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting Heart must find vent at my pen. I have just heard that our dear Friend Dr. Warren is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his Country - saying better to die honourably in the field than ignominiously hang upon the Gallows. Great is our loss. He has distinguished himself in every engagement, by his courage and fortitude, by animating the Soldiers and leading them on by his own example." 

Days later, on July 5th, "Abby" wrote again, "Not all the havoc and devastation they have made, has wounded me like the death of Warren. We wanted him in the Senate, we want him in his profession, we want him in the field. We mourn for the citizen, the senator, the physician and the Warriour. May we have others raised up in his room."

Alexander Hill Everett, an early biographer, also closed his 'The Life of Joseph Warren (1845)' with the following sentiments: "Warren, distinguished as he was among the bravest, wisest, and best of the patriotic band, was assigned, in the inscrutable decrees of Providence, the crown of early martyrdom...There are many among the patriots and heroes of the Revolutionary War, whose names are connected with a greater number of important transactions; whose biography, correspondence and writings fill more pages; and whose names will occupy a larger space in general history; but there is hardly one whose example will exercise a more inspiring and elevating influence upon his countrymen and the world, than that of the brave, blooming, generous, self-devoted martyr of Bunker's Hill." 





Friday, October 15, 2021

7 Questions with Elizabeth Neily, Textile Artist and Reenactor

 


Elizabeth Neily has been making art-to-wear clothing and accessories since high school when she started designing clothes for herself and her friends. Later, she developed an interest in making period clothing and received an individual artist grant from the Pinellas County Arts Council to further her work in that field.  She has worked with museums, libraries, and parks throughout Florida as a living history presenter, telling women's stories and giving workshops. She also creates museum displays with her husband, Hermann Trappman. After retiring from the Panama Canal Museum in 2012, where she was the director for several years, she returned to her first love, textile art. Learn more and see her work at https://www.elizabethneily.com/





 1. How and when did you get hooked on history?

I think it started while listening to grandfather and uncle telling stories in the circa 1779 farmhouse in Nova Scotia. After dinner they’d sit in front of the fireplace and tell stories about our forebears. I learned that one ancestor, Captain John Parker, was a Minuteman on Lexington Green, curious since my family were Loyalists. I learned that another ancestor, my namesake Elizabeth Hawkesworth who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1783, was the niece of the renowned potter Josiah Wedgewood. As I grew older, I was struck by the improbability of this family lore and eventually unraveled the tales. When delving into family history, I discovered I wanted to know more about what was happening in those people's lives, why they ended up where they did. As one bit of information lead to another and I discovered history was nothing like what I had been taught in school. After I discovered living history, I began to delve into the stories of Florida women.

2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

When I started my search for Florida’s first people, found that there was little written about them outside of scholarly circles. I found a small book at the library that talked about the Timucuan Indians which as I learned later was chalked full of misinformation. At first, none of the archaeologists I contacted wanted to give me the time of day. Then a friend at Red Cloud, a  Native American Art Gallery in St. Petersburg, suggested I contact an artist called Hermann Trappman. He was more than generous with his time and information. I ran into him again a few years later an art show where I was showing the work I had created based on the information he shared with me. The next year, he asked me out on a date, and well, the rest is history. We married in August, 1992.

Elizabeth Neily performs as her 16th-century character Maria Velasquez.


3. How does history play a part in your professional life/career?

When I asked my husband, who was developing a living history park, what I might do to help, he immediately replied, “Tell women’s stories.” He explained that he felt he couldn’t reach female students when doing school outreach programs. So I did just that. I began to researched the roles women played in Florida history then created characters dressed in period clothing. As an artist-in-residence at the Science Center of Pinellas  County, I shared stories of women coming to Florida in the 16th century and the Native American people they encountered. I started receiving requests to do other women.

Because I’m handy with a needle, I made reproduction clothing and ended up with a commission to make clothing for the park ranger interpretive staff at DeSoto National Memorial. I was also awarded a Florida Humanities grant in 2012-13 to offer workshops on correct period clothing to reenactors participating in the Viva Florida Quincentennial celebration.

I decided that the best way to share Florida's amazing stories with the public was to publish a quarterly magazine. The Florida Frontier Gazette was launched in 1998 with articles written by historians, archaeologists, living history interpreters, and artists. At one point I was able to obtain grants from the Florida Division of Historical Resources. The fun part was packing boxes of magazines into the back of our little pick-up truck and delivering them to museums and libraries all over the State. By 2004, grant money was getting tight and I just couldn’t find the funding to keep going. We then decided to develop a website to celebrate Florida through art, storytelling, and special events. 

4. Why is studying/knowing history important?

When I first moved to Florida, I felt lost. It was an alien environment. History helps ground us, gives us a sense of place in the world. The more you learn about where you live, why it is the way it is, the more you’ll care about it. Once I settled in to learning about Florida’s natural and cultural history, it began to feel like home.

5. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?

I find cultural history fascinating. What was it like to travel on a caravel to New Spain in the 16th century? What did you wear? What did you eat? Where did you sleep? And my favorite question from my audience is, where did they go to the bathroom? Once you start telling these stories people are drawn in, and hopefully, leave wanting to learn more.




6. What makes Florida history so unique and inspirational to you?

Florida was a difficult environment for Europeans coming here. Survival of the fittest comes to mind. For instance, clothing, or the lack thereof, really tells it all. Spanish accounts suggest that the indigenous men and women both wore a breechcloth and little else, except for beads and pearls. Shocking to Europeans used to wearing so many layers. And their armor must have been a real pain to take care of, what with the heat and humidity causing it to rust. I see them stripping down the layers to survive.

Apparently Florida's food resources were so foreign to the conquistadors, they had no idea how to forage. According to The Account by Nunez Cabeza De Vaca, some on the Panfilo de Narvaez expedition in 1528 starved to death. A food fussy woman living in colonial St. Augustine starved to death rather than eat the “scum and vermin” of this land. So if there is one thing these stories tell me, it’s to learn to adapt.

7. How does your art tell Florida’s story?

I share Florida’s story by slipping into a persona based on the era I study. Some of my characters are real and some are compositebased women of that time period. Besides my 16th Century Spanish character, I’ve also portrayed a Seminole War Period settler and a Spanish American War journalist, among others. When I walk into a classroom dressed in period clothing and carrying a basket of reproduction artifacts, kids tend to sit up and take notice. When I sit at a spinning wheel or a loom at a living history event people say, that’s a lost art. It isn’t, but they’ve had so little exposure to how people lived every day in the past. When I paint pictures of past lives, I hope people will connect to the past in a way that historical texts cannot.



Florida Anthropological Society 50th Anniversary poster features 18th century Fort Mose: Fortress of Freedom


Friday, October 8, 2021

7 Questions with James Cosgrove, Project Past on YouTube

 



    James Cosgrove was raised in Florida and became a firefighter/paramedic right after high school. He's entering his 11th year in the fire service. He also served 6 years in the Army National Guard as a medic for the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He doesn't have any college degrees in history or anything for that matter, "I'm just an ordinary guy who loves military history and learning. I've learned pretty quick I'm not that smartest guy in the room. I started Project Past because it helped me combine 2 of my passions, History and videography. Its been a blast filming and I've learned so much already. I hope my small group of viewers has learn as well. History can teach us so much. The good, the bad and the ugly."  (YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz1rMpe1CbMgZ7ZTRV6aRfQ 

1. How and when did you first get hooked on history?

 Ever since I can remember I was the kid running around the neighborhood with a toy gun pretending to be Francis Marion battling the redcoats. When I was not outside you could find me playing with the thousands of plastic soldiers I had or watching war movies/history channel. My dad was a pretty big history buff so I think that's where I got it from.  




2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

Well my dad was a huge history buff and we definitely were able to form a bond visiting sites together or watching Gettysburg as a kid. I think having this bond has helped me understand history is not always glorious or filled with happy moments no matter how bad we want it to be. My fianc├ę is also a high school International Baccalaureate teacher and obviously we hit it off when we found our mutual love for history. We plan on traveling to historic places around the country. 

3. How does history play  a part of your professional life/career?

The fire service is huge on tradition and history. So when I became I firefighter in 2010, it was really easy for me to learn and understand these traditions. Its very important for newer firefighters to carry on these traditions and continue to uphold the oath we took to serve the public. 




4. Why is studying/knowing history important?

I think studying/knowing history is critical for society to continue to progress in a positive direction. History has taught us just how cruel and evil humanity can be at times. If we don't learn from these moments we are doomed to repeat them.     

5. What's your favorite period of history to learn about and why?

My favorite period in history is the American Revolution and the American Civil War. While war itself is terrible, these periods teach us how ordinary people can band together and fight for something so much larger than yourself.

6. How did Project Past come about?

My adult life has been consumed with work and my professional development. I've been neglecting my hobbies and interests for a long time now. Then, one day last year I came across JD's "The History Underground" YouTube channel and realized that this is what I wanted to do. While I will never be on the same level as JD's channel, I wanted to get out there and explore and most importantly, learn. 




7. What do you hope viewers take away from Project Past?

My YouTube channel (Project_Past) is about getting out in your community and learning from the history that's entrenched all around us. Ignorance is something that I fear is becoming more common so I hope to combat some of this by sharing stories and places we often overlook or take for granted. I plan to film throughout the country and visit battlefields, museums and places that have shaped our country. Our country has come a long way but we still have so much more work to do!




Friday, October 1, 2021

7 Questions with Mike Williams, Creator of History Battle Cards

 




Mike Williams is a 9th-year teacher in rural Iowa. Despite having to teach more than just social studies, history is a common thread that makes its way into most lessons, regardless of subject. A few years into his career, he started making History Battle Cards for his students and couldn't believe their response—they became obsessed! It was clear this was a way he could get students engaged. A little over 2 years ago, he made them available to the masses on Etsy to get them into more and more classrooms. You can find him on Instagram @HistoryBattleCards or visit his Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/HistoryBattleCards .




1.      How and when did you get hooked on history?

This was tough to narrow down, but after some pondering I think I can identify 2 distinct times when history tightened its grasp upon my interest. The first was probably in elementary school/jr. high. For some reason (and this memory may feel more exaggerated than it truly was) it felt like we learned about the American Civil War 3 grades in a row. Like maybe 5th, 6th, and 7th grades all had units on the Civil War. Many of my classmates complained, but I loved it—I found it interesting especially because it was MY country, I could relate to that.
The second instance was a few years later in high school, probably 10th or 11th grade. I took an AP US History course and it was simply amazing. I had already liked to learn about the past, so it was fun to hit things more deeply like the Cold War and Civil Rights. But even more powerful was the way my teacher helped us to understand how tracing events from the past allowed us to see the evolution of our nation and how we arrived at current day. I was hooked for life.

2.      What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

In my personal life history is always there in the passenger seat, ready to make an appearance if I run into another history nerd, or to help me decipher current events and relate them to the past. And of course with History Battle Cards being a big hobby of mine, I'm always pursuing more history in my free time to try to refine the collection.

3.      How does history play a part in your professional life/career?

It's huge. Outside of making it into a card game, history is everywhere in my classroom. History genuinely excites me, so I try to bring that excitement into as many areas as I can. As teachers, you have to fake it here and there—starting a lesson but not very excited about grammar or math or whatever the subject is? Doesn't matter, still have to try to get the kids to buy in and feel its importance. History lets me do this. I try to incorporate history and that genuine excitement into as many topics as possible, so students can feel the impact and hopefully engage.

4.      Why is studying/knowing history important?

Besides just being interesting and knowing about cool things that happened before our time, I think it's important to know where you came from. It's important to be able to look back and understand why things are the way they are, how fragments of our past are still embedded in the fabric of today.

5.      What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?

This is hard because every time I dive deeper into a topic I feel like it becomes my favorite! However, after thinking hard about question #1, I have to go with either the American Civil War or the Cold War. Those really stand out to me because they happened at such formative times in my life, and also because of how greatly they influenced the evolution of America.

6.      How did you come up with the concept of History Battle Cards?

It was kind of lucky actually. It was 2016, I was teaching 4th grade, and the presidential campaign process was rolling. The Iowa caucuses were coming up which was all over local news, so my students were very curious. We did a few activities on the process and then a bit about how the actual presidential election works. After that, students were wondering about former presidents, so I started typing up short little snippets about each one that I was going to hand out. Like little cheat sheet things with basic facts. Well, shortly after I started working on that, there were projects hung in our hallway, one of which was a standard 8.5x11 inch piece of computer paper made into a giant playing card of George Washington complete with "moves" and HP. Golden light shone upon the paper as a heavenly chorus rang out and that was it—History Battle Cards were born. So really if it wasn't an election year and I hadn't seen that 3rd or 4th grader's project hanging in the hallway, who knows!
Anyway, I started just with presidents because that's who students were initially asking about, but when my kids went crazy over them I started plans for other figures beyond just American presidents. Since then, I've expanded the collection to over 170 cards and continued to refine their design—currently on their 6th iteration.




7.      How can History Battle Cards be used?

As a teacher, there is no wrong way to use HBC in your classroom, but here are a few main pillars of what it looks like in mine. I put cards in packs for kids to earn or "purchase" with our school's currency. Never know what you'll get in a pack—think about baseball cards, could be a star or could be a scrub, who knows! This adds tremendously to the excitement of opening them up. Kids collect cards, trade with classmates (at designated times), then every other month we take a couple hours in the afternoon to hold an HBC tournament, where students build a team and battle each other.
Year in and year out I'm absolutely flabbergasted at the student response. They are so interested in collecting new figures, and even though there isn't a ton of information on each card, the amount of retention of those basic facts is shocking.
It's become such a fun and easy way to get kids excited about history, at this point I just can't imagine my classroom without it!