There is an online forum known as eregime.org which runs what are called “forum games.” These are generally simulations of historical events or eras. For example, participants could join as leaders of countries during the Cold War in one simulation, or as peasant rebels during the Mexican Revolution in another.
In 2018 we intend to run a simulation of Jonestown. Participants will assume the role of individuals either within the settlement or in relation to it, such as officers within the American Embassy or Guyanese government officials. We intend to simulate both relatively mundane matters, such as residents helping decide what to grow and what improvements to make to the community, as well as “dramatic” matters, such as the efforts of Concerned Relatives to get American and Guyanese officials to intervene on their behalf, and the counter-measures taken by Peoples Temple to impede their efforts.
There are inherent problems in running such a simulation, and we will make no claim to it being an accurate representation of Jonestown life. However, we do intend for it to be as grounded in reality as is reasonably possible, hence we are researching as much as we can, buying books and obtaining articles for this purpose.
None of those who have thus far expressed interest in participating actually knew anything about the subject beyond Kool-Aid jokes. This quickly changed, as they have been looking up information on their own as well as asking me questions. I’ve done my best to answer them, although oftentimes my reply is not much more than to direct them to this website.
I believe the simulation will be as interesting to the readers of the jonestown report as it promises to be for its participants, and I look forward to reporting on its outcome in a future edition.
(Thomas Mrett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)