The Salem Witchcraft Games

As a Game Design Fellow at Duke University, I designed and tested games based on the first chapter of my dissertation where I apply "mixed realism," a theory used to describe the ways that analog and digital experiences intersect in our experience, also applied to theological beliefs of early American Puritans. I argue that the Salem Witchcraft Trials arise from the complexities of navigating a mixed reality clashing with a legal system that demanded physical evidence alone to define reality.

The current version is a multi-player role playing game that uses cards and narrative directions to guide a group of 4+ players through a witch hunt to find the guilty. Cards and scenarios are based on archival evidence from the Salem legal documents and current scholarly theories of what turned the Salem trials from one of the last gasps of a waning religious practice into a cultural touchstone in 20th and 21st century life.

I'm currently exploring converting the game into a digital format that would allow players to easily access open-source research and primary source documents during gameplay.

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