We have been reaching out to various designers to provide new and interesting content to share in addition to our “bread and butter” designer interviews. One of these new features is associated with Event Card spoilers from various games that rely on cards, such as Card Driven Games. We have asked the designer for People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 from GMT Games Kenneth Tee, to provide us with text of some of the proposed Event Cards and also to give a short summary of the historical background as well as their use in the game. We will plan to post these Spoilers every 7-10 days over the next few months, or even longer if Kenneth is up for it. We are very grateful for Kenneth and his willingness to do this for us and for our readers. He has been very gracious and shared lots of interesting elements in his design. Thank you for your hard work Kenneth!
In our 1st Event Card Spoiler post regarding People Power, we take a look at Aquino Dead. Please keep in mind that the artwork and layout of these cards is not yet finalized and is only for playtest purposes at this point. Also, as the game is still in development, card details may still change prior to publication.
51. Aquino Dead
For the first Spoiler Card, I can think of nothing more fitting than the tragic but historic death of the exiled Senator Benigno Aquino. His death marked a pivotal episode in Philippine history which determined the end of the Marcos dictatorship.
A little background story is in order. Before he became a Senator at the young age of 34, Benigno Aquino, Jr. or simply, “Ninoy” was already an accomplished politician, being the youngest mayor, and congressman at the time. Elected to the senate in 1967, he made a name for himself by criticizing the excess of the Marcos presidency, such as the Cultural Center, a pet project of the First Lady’s which the senator labeled as a “monument of shame”. His continuing denunciation of the Marcos government made him a media darling due to his flamboyance and rhetoric, but also a political target after martial law was declared in 1972. He was arrested and imprisoned on charges of subversion, murder and firearms possession. Years later in 1975, he went on a 40 day hunger strike, which severely destabilized his health, and only pleas from friends and family convinced him to start eating again. During the 1978 senatorial elections, he ran from his cell in defeat under a new party banner the “Lakas ng Bayan” (which translates to “People Power”) which was shortened to “LaBan” (or “fight”).
[Sidebar: This was the birth of the “L” symbol, constructed by sticking out one’s thumb and forefinger – similar to the “loser” motif but instead of placing it squarely on one’s forehead, is instead fully extended upward similar to a Roman salute.]
With the dawn of a new decade, Aquino suffered one of two heart attacks that left him hospitalized and close to death once more. Granted permission by the government and even a personal visit by Imelda Marcos herself to receive assurances that he may not speak out against the Marcos government, he left the Philippines for life-saving bypass surgery in a hospital in Dallas, Texas. He and his family later moved to the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts, and despite a promise made under duress, he continued to speak against the Marcos dictatorship while recovering in the United States. News of his rival’s deteriorating health and even more worsening political conditions in his home country convinced him that he had to return to achieve some form of peaceful transition of power before extremists could cause a more violent resolution. Making that fateful decision was difficult as he was facing either imprisonment or death. That decision would be the spark that would ignite the irreversible shift of the Philippine political landscape. That ignition was a shot that rang out from an airport tarmac.
In People Power, the Aquino Dead card serves as a Reformer Momentum card at the beginning of the Standard Scenario which begins in 1983, and also as the historic (vis-à-vis alternate) Aquino Fate Card during that phase of the Extended Scenario.
Subtitled with his most famous quote, “The Filipino is worth dying for” – the Aquino Dead card provides the Reformer Faction a boost in two of its Operations; namely Recruit AND Protest. Normally, a Recruit Operation places only 1 Activist per space and a Protest Operation shifts Government Support or Insurgent Resistance to Neutral and Neutral spaces to Reformer Opposition. The Aquino Dead Reformer Momentum improves both Operations by first adding another Activist making that 2 per space instead of 1 for a Recruit Op. Protest Operations in spaces with Government Support or Insurgent Resistance shift immediately to Reformer Opposition. These effects last till the next Election Round.
What this reflects is that after news of his assassination hit the streets, as well as the air waves, it galvanized his allies as well as softened the approach of force of his opponents. Those who were numb or ignorant to the injustices were finally awakened to the fragile situation and those sitting on the fence got off and made a stand against tyranny. This translates into opportunities in the game to get more Activists quicker at the same cost and also as Opposition is one of the Reformer faction’s victory conditions, this temporary circumstance allows them to gain ground on that front with more ease as well.
End note: The death as well as life of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. left a lasting legacy. Aside from the renaming of the Manila International Airport after him (the site of his death), his wife, Corazon (or Cory) and his son Benigno III (or Noynoy) both became Presidents of the Philippine Republic themselves. On the flip side of all this is that, though arrests have been made and low-level operatives involved with the assassination have been made; the mastermind of the operation has never been identified, let alone caught. The Philippine rumor mill and hearsay of witnesses and accomplices continue to crank out but in a sad way, his death may never know justice.
There are many more of these posts to come as Kenneth has laid out a plan to share lots more information about this game with us. The next card he will take a look at is The First Lady.
If you are interested in People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986, you can pre-order a copy at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-689-people-power-insurgency-in-the-philippines-1983-1986.aspx
Also, check out our interview with the designer Kenneth Tee to get better insight into the game and its design.