The place was Dalais, Maine, Norumbega County, Jan. 17, 1969. The Vietnam War and antiwar movement were in full swing. In the county courthouse, a young man named Henry Chandler was on trial for failing to report for the draft. He was, he said, a conscientious objector.

This was the premise for a mock trial put on by the Game Loft Jan. 17, 2011, — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Belfast.

There is no Dalais, Maine, of course. Patricia Estabrook of the Game Loft, a nonelectronic-games-based after school program in Belfast, laughed recalling it. The name was capricious, she said — a riff on Calais.

The story of Norumbega County, however, has been years in the making.

Estabrook and her husband and Game Loft co-founder Ray, created the fictional locale several years ago, as a backdrop for a series of role-playing games, inviting teens participating in the program to live the lives of characters dating from the earliest European settlements on the coast of Maine, when the region was known as Norumbega, through the Civil War, and finally ending up in the 1960s.

Last year, on the holiday honoring Dr. King, the teens participated in a mock trial for two pre-Civil War youths accused of aiding and abetting an escaped slave. The trial was an exploration of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and Estabrook said the pick-up jury acquitted the boys, though it required bending the law to accommodate the jurors’ wholesale rejection of slavery.

The case of Henry Chandler, despite being held before a seemingly antiwar crowd in what may be the most hippie-friendly church in Belfast, didn’t go over as easily.

The form of the event was scripted, but the players, from Chandler (played by Luke Merrithew) and his cohorts the attorneys (played by real attorneys Jim Munch of Bangor and Orrin Brown of Belfast), the judge (played by attorney Jon Braff), and the members of the jury had no script and the proceedings were allowed to take shape in the moment.

In other words, no one knew ahead of time if Chandler would walk.

When the trial ended in a hung jury, the judge (Braff) intervened, sentencing Chandler to a year behind bars and two years of alternative service.

The outcome surprised Estabrook, who said after the trial last year she had expected the jury to acquit Chandler no matter what.

“It’s just like everything in the game,” she said. “It could have happened, but it didn’t happen to.”

The mock trial was the conclusion of the 1960s session, called “Gone But Not Forgotten,” an earlier chapter of which played out on the streets of Belfast last summer. It was also the final chapter in what the Estabrooks hope to fine tune into an alternative education curriculum called “Life in Norumbega County.”

Asked why the characters, who as of Monday had outlived Dr. King by almost a year, wouldn’t continue beyond a court date in 1969, Estabrook said it would be harder to see the context of the events in the subsequent decades.

“You have to be able to step back and get a little perspective before you start writing these things down,” she said.