Engines of Mischief: Technology, Rebellion, and the Industrial Revolution in England, 1817-1818 by Dr. Louise Blankeney Williams has been accepted for publication


Dr. Williams’s work is a historical role-playing game in the Reacting to the Past series. 
“Robots will take our jobs!” So announced a recent news article. Human workers are being replaced by automation. How should we respond? Do we resist or embrace this new technology? Engines of Mischief explores a very similar situation in the past -- in Manchester, England in 1817 and 1818. Players are faced with different choices about how to live and prosper at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. They use new economic theories, parliamentary commissions, and news reports to debate the pros and cons of factories, the role of the government in the economy, taxation, workers’ unions, and the extension of political rights down the social order. But players do not just debate. Characters from various classes of society must take action to improve their lives. Hand weavers and spinsters have to choose between violently resisting the new technology, joining factories, forming unions, or gaining political rights. Middle-class entrepreneurs decide how best to run their businesses to maximize profits and how to treat their workers. Craftsmen/inventors decide what type of new machines to build. Aristocrats must maintain control over government while deciding whether to support the working or middle classes, the old world or the new. Above all players must make ethical decisions about how to balance their individual interests with the good of society as a whole. (From Reacting Consortium.org).