“Often we use history merely as a skin, and then leave the player to make purely gamey decisions within that setting.”
Extra Credits gets at the meat of a particularly tough nut here. How do you place your players’ actions within an historical* context and make them feel like the decisions they’re making are the decisions of a person from that time and place? It’s more than just getting the costumes right.
As a designer, I’m frequently inspired by history, but it can be a challenge to adequately convey that history in my games.
*This video specifically addresses historical games, but the ideas are applicable to any game where the intent is to generate a learning outcome.