The Game of Medieval Life can help anyone understand what life was like for ordinary medieval folk, and not so ordinary folk.
The game is set between about 1000 and 1485 AD taking us from Æthelred the Unready to the Wars of the Roses. This was an age when the poor struggled and famine, disease and death were a part of everyday life. Women lived restricted lives – even the rich ones. And religion affected every aspect of your life, and death. It was a time of soaring cathedrals, horrific plagues and vicious wars. But people still managed to have fun despite all the dangers and hardships. Join our merry band and step into their shoes (if they have any) and follow their destinies as they live their medieval lives.
Who invented ye game?
I did. I am Emily Greig and you can see me in the introductory video. I live in Oxford in the UK and the game’s history began 35 years ago when I was still at school. I really, really wanted to be a historian but nobody shared my vision (I was not considered mature enough). But my love for history has survived and I have shared my quest for historical knowledge with my nearest and dearest. I dragged a bored boyfriend around churches in Spain, tramped around museums with my children trailing behind, enrolled on multiple history courses and persuaded local children to join my school history clubs. The Game of Medieval Life is my most creative idea for bringing this period of history alive.
Will, a struggling peasant who benefits from the disease that kills half his neighbours
Will's son, Tom, who makes good after getting an apprenticeship in a nearby town. His job involves a lot of smelly wee.
Bess, the Lord of the Manor's daughter, fighting for the freedom to make her own decisions and hold onto her father's land.
Hugo, the knight, who wants to do what is right and honourable, and to kill people.
Agnes, the nun, who is genuinely pious and goes on a piligrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. She is astonished when she finally gets there.
Gilbert, the priest who is definitely not pious but always lands on his feet with a pie in his hand.
How does ye game work?
The aim of the game is to be the first to reach your life’s goal at the end of the path. Make your way along the path of life facing all the turds and triumphs that medieval life offers.
Each player decides which character they want to become. Rolling the dice moves you through your life but it’s not always a straight path, there are lots of problems to face and you may end up going backwards. But don’t worry, there are plenty of triumphs waiting for you too.
Random events can enrich your life or make it even worse. Answering Quite Tricky questions and Really Tricky questions correctly can transform your life; how much do you know about medieval times? There’s plenty of poo, wee, ignorance and disease to dodge as you fulfil your destiny. Medieval lives were often short so make the most of every roll of the dice, it may be your last.