Winter has come to Germany and 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 families where Jewish men are bound in love and marriage to Aryan women. Over the next ten years new racial policies, restrictions, and pogroms will strip away liberty, security, and dignity. Though they are sheltered for a while by their marriages, these men will not escape. When they are finally seized for deportation, the women in their lives, as citizens, will 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?
Rosenstrasse is a tabletop freeform scenario with a strongly defined historical story weaving the lives of four pairs of men and women bound by love under the tightening chokehold of Nazi Germany. Players will work through two characters to deeply explore two of these relationships as the clock ticks towards WWII and the Final Solution. Ideologies will be challenged, marriages tested, personal losses will be grave, and they will have to hold tightly together to see it through. The stories of these eight people will converge in a historic moment of terrifying civic defiance.
- Nominated for Best Storytelling at Fastaval 2017, Denmark
- Indiecade 2017 Official Selection, October 6-8 2017, Los Angeles
- Featured at the Stockholm Scenario Festival, December 1-3 2017, Stockholm
- Winner: Honorable Mention for Best Non-Digital Game at Michigan State University’s Meaningful Play Conference, October 11-13, 2018, East Lansing Michigan
- Featured at XOXO 2019
- 2022 ENnie Nominee for Best Writing
What People are Saying:
“Over a span of ten years under the Nazi regime, you follow four German couples, who are all faced by the brutality of the Holocaust. The arbitrary laws break apart the families, but in a surprising turn of events, resistance also finds its place in this tragic and moving story.” – Fastaval 2017 Jury
“It showed me that in a cataclysm of this magnitude there are a myriad of stories — every one of which is very real. I also learned that horror, when based on facts, leaves one especially vulnerable and raw. I have played many RPG’s, but the War Birds series games cut deep.” – Bruce Neiger, playtester Metatopia 2017
“What made this game so beautiful for me was the power of love in the face of pure horror. Getting to play the pure love, trust and respect between Josef and Klara is what made playing going through the laws of the Holocaust entirely heart wrenching, and the protest so powerful. Although I’ve been taught about the Holocaust very much through the eyes of empathy for as long as I can remember, I don’t think I’ve ever felt the Holocaust the way I felt it playing Rosenstrasse.” – Sarah Judd, playtester, Metatopia
“[Games can help] us realize that, even in our own present and future moments, there may be other interpretations of how to act, how to respond and how to think through ethical issues. Therefore, games like Rosenstrasse might also spur us to, in the future, seek out those other perspectives.” Karen Schrier, Director of the Games and Emerging Media program at Marist College
Media & Engagements
- Jessica and Moyra were interviewed about Rosenstrasse on Top of Mind with Julie Rose on Sirius XM 143 BYU Radio
- Jessica Hammer was featured as a guest speaker at the 2017 Games for Change Festival, on the Civics and Social Issues Track for her work on Rosenstrasse.
- Jessica and Moyra spoke at Indiecade 2017 on designing historical games for social transformation.
- Jessica and Moyra were interviewed about Rosenstrasse on the War College podcast episode When German Housewives Stood Up to Hitler
- Moyra presented a workshop at Meaningful Play 2018 on Brushing History Against the Grain: Reclaiming Women’s Stories Through Live-Action Role-Playing Games
- Jessica delivered a talk on the team’s paper: Rosenstrasse: Holocaust Education through Role Play at Meaningful Play 2018.
- Jessica and Moyra published an article in the Fall 2019 issue of the journal for the Association for Jewish Studies Perspectives, Rosenstrasse: Embodied Learning through Role Play
- Jessica and Moyra published an article in Vol 12 Issue 1 of issue of the International Journal of Designs for Learning, Designing Role-playing Games that Address the Holocaust