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 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 3rd Event Card Spoiler post regarding People Power, we take a look at #12 Another Beirut. 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.
12. Another Beirut
The Another Beirut Event Card is taken from a quote from journalist William Chapman in his book Inside the Philippine Revolution. In it, he describes the situation in Davao during the early 1980s culminating with a bombing that took place on April 19, 1981 which took place during an Easter Sunday Mass at the San Pedro Cathedral in Davao City. The result of two grenades lobbed at a crowd of churchgoers caused 17 killed and injuries to 150 people. This event was part of a continuing struggle between the NPA rebels and the Government forces locked in this struggle since the NPA began a campaign to increase their violence and seditious acts. What made this significant was that the previous January, President Marcos had lifted Martial Law and thus officially ended an era that started almost a decade hence of the declaration which effectively extended his personal, autocratic rule.
Mindanao (even today) has always been a hotspot of violence and uprisings. Even way back to the beginning of contact with outsiders, the Spaniards and later, the Americans had found great consternation in conquering the main island in the southern Philippines. During the 80’s, the military had been deployed to deal with two main insurgent threats; the NPA had become active in the west while the MNLF and other Moro inspired independent movements had also continued in its actions to separate from the nation.
The Event Card has two subtitles: Urban Struggle (Shaded Event) and City in Chaos. It is a primarily an Insurgent Event Card, and secondarily a Government Event Card. As the former, Davao becomes a space where the Insurgent Faction is provided a Free Rally as well as a Free Terror where there is no cost in Resources in this dual Operation. Additionally, two Government Cubes are removed and returned to the Government available forces and also, an NPA Guerilla is placed in Eastern Mindanao. What this simulates is the effects of the NPA authority in Mindanao increasing the temperature in activity against government forces especially in a stronghold like that of Davao. The Free Rally replicates an upsurge in conscription of local recruits. Terror simulates what would be violent activities such as the historical bombing which caused a diminished confidence in the Government authorities which is also simulated with the removal of 2 Cubes, but also assassinations, firings or changes in staff through various means.
Let me use this as an opportunity to explain the two Operations mentioned in the Insurgent Event: Rally and Terror. Both are “old hands” when it comes to the COIN series and veteran players will notice that the similarities with other games with the same Operations are basically unchanged. That is intentional, for as far as insurgencies across time and space (history and geography) are concerned; they are very potent weapons in their struggles against the current authority. Therefore, not only does it serve as a bridge to the COIN games that inspired me but also to past, present and possibly, future (Free Mars?) conflicts occurring in the course of human history. Rally is the Operation in where Resources are spent to acquire more Guerillas (active Insurgent pieces) which can increase due to the presence of a Base and also the Population of that specific space. Also, the same is the creation of a Base in exchange for 3 Guerillas returning to the Insurgent available forces. I’ve added another trait to the Operation wherein due to the presence of a Base in a space can also be utilized by “pulling” Guerrillas from adjacent spaces and then flipping them Underground. What is mimicked here is the ability of Bases to offer a safe refuge for Guerrillas to not only withdraw from a space but also deactivate or more precisely, hide from enemy forces. Terror is virtually the same in impact as well as effect. The “Terror” marker is placed and either Support (pro-Government) or Opposition (pro-Reformer) is reduced to Neutral while Neutral spaces are increased to Resistance (pro-Insurgent).
The flipside of this Event Card is the pro-Government Faction non-shaded Event: City in Chaos. Here the Government is given the opportunity to remove 3 NPA Guerillas and also gain 3 Patronage from that act. With that, a Cube or Activist can be placed as well. This exemplifies possible military action in cracking down on leftist elements or at least, driving them underground. With that, an increased police or army presence is escalated and would also allow non-violent sections of the populace some measure of safety for them to make an appearance.
End Note: As I mentioned before, Davao has not escaped chaos and terror even after the end of the Marcos era. In 1993, it was again the site of another violent bombing and again, the San Pedro Cathedral was targeted. Within eight hours, a mosque was bombed, the suspect being a Christian militant. The religious undertones of that day’s events could not be denied, and it loomed as a deadly portent for things to come. The most violent decade would be reserved for the 2000’s though as post-9/11 radical Islamic terrorism had manifested itself in that city as well. Twice in 2003, once in 2005 and again in 2013 – bombings occurred around the city with the blame or credit landing on terror groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf and the MNLF splinter group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Coincidentally, the current President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte hails from the beleaguered city and even served some time as its mayor. Whether he can implement some way of stopping the killings there as well as the rest of the country these days remains to be seen but one can always hope.
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 Rolly Kintanar – a Personality Card/Newsmaker from the Insurgent Faction.
In case you missed the first spoiler in this series, you can catch up by reading from here:
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.