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.

In our 5th Event Card Spoiler post regarding People Power, we take a look at #9 Call for Unity. 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.

Call for Unity is a Reformer Event Card that due to the card action may also be utilized by the other factions – Government or Insurgent. What this simulates is the plea by anti-government leaders generated after the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. or “Ninoy” as he is known to the public.

In the game, the Event Card “Call for Unity” is foremost a Reformer Faction card which in following instructions in the shaded text, allows a Free Assemble in one space and the removal of an enemy Base (Government or Insurgent). Alternatively, it could also be used by the Government (non-shaded) to place a Cube in any two adjacent spaces and shift both spaces to Support or for the Insurgents to conduct a Free Rally in one space and remove an enemy base (Government or Reformer) using the shaded text as well.

The Event Card (shaded text heading: “Anti-government cadres form”) actually represents the actual movement and public reaction to the Aquino assassination mostly showing their displeasure with the Marcos government at the least to outright calls for his resignation. Outside of the circle of government loyalists, most Filipinos took to the streets right after Aquino’s death with the largest event being his funeral procession which numbered over two million. Several opposition leaders, including the late senator’s own brother, began organizing groups as a visible voice against the perceived culpability of the military and members of the inner circle of the Marcos government as well as the cover-up.

As an eyewitness to these historical events, I was astounded that every walk of life was involved in this civilian uprising of sorts. From young high school students to the high offices of business people then down to the mass of urban poor and the nuns and priests who joined in prayer and counsel. Traffic was stopped, and though I didn’t think of it at the time, national flags were flown at half-staff for someone who was accused in court a decade ago of conspiring to bring the country to a state of chaos. What was also amazing is that such an outpouring of support for the man and then his cause wasn’t prevented and all the arrests and the stunning silence that followed, which I vividly remembered as a child in 1972, weren’t repeated. And the noise continued. What I mean by that is the continued vocal and sometimes physical expression didn’t seem to cease and would even continue after I had left in a plane on my way to San Francisco.

The alternative or ahistorical heading (non-shaded text: “Public backing”) gives us a bleak but perhaps possible glimpse into what would have happened had a more sinister reaction to what did happen. This involves a more visible and persuasive (coercive?) presence by the police and even, military forces which may have coincided with a full immersion of government propaganda and would have provided a further manifestation of public support. On the flipside, such a public outcry after the assassination would also have galvanized the insurgency to take advantage of the apparent chaos caused by such an event and would have used it to their own ends and conscript more dissidents to their side (shaded text: “Anti-government cadres form”).

Looking back, one can see that the Marcos government was attempting to shift from a “hard” dictatorship to a “soft” dictatorship at a time when their most influential backer, the United States was led by Ronald Reagan, his staunchest ally. Bonded by their anti-communist beliefs, their relationship can be traced back to a visit by the then-governor of California’s visit during the late 1960s. With the situation arising from the suspicious death of a rival, the climate had changed irrevocably.

Martial Law had already been lifted two years prior as well as a national election which Marcos “handedly” won. That was connected to visits of prominent world figures like Pope John Paul II and the Vice President of the United States George Bush who praised his host with a toast to the Philippine government in stating, ‘We love your adherence to democratic principles and to the democratic processes,’ Bush said, we will not leave you in isolation … it would be turning our backs on history if we did.”

Hence, two years later, the military and police held back though there was hardly any violence of note. The real test came when in 1984, the parliamentary elections were held and even though the government led KBL party retained its majority, the opposition (even in my local political area) won some seats and made their presence felt. Political freedom as well as the loosening of censorship and the press was at hand. All this culminated in the snap election of 1986, though I was no longer an eyewitness; I was astounded by the turn of events, but I expected the incumbent to retain power.

The EDSA Revolution surprised me and most of the experts and as the chain of events unfolded – the power of the people was expressed in three distinct phases. The first was complaints that Marcos had cheated his way to another term in office and this was evidenced by a walk out of COMELEC (Commission of Elections – a department of the government counting elections) officials. Supported by an independent election watchdog (NAMFRELNational Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections) as well as reports from independent bodies such as Amnesty International and the foreign press, the suspected tampering was brought to light and Mrs. Corazon Aquino had been sworn in as the next President of the Philippines in Club Filipino, a country club not too far from where I went to high school.

The call for a national boycott and other peaceful means to reject the election results such as walk outs and demonstrations began and before this could happen, there were other rumblings about. Not too far from the club, another type of drama was about to begin. The Defense Minister, Juan Ponce Enrile was linked to a coup attempt by reform minded officers within the Philippine Army that he had given his support. The coup was foiled after the affair was discovered by the Army Chief of Staff, Fabian Ver and the palace had been given ample warning. With arrests impending, the Defense Minister and his loyal soldiers then barricaded themselves in two military camps within the city proper divided by the Elpanio de los Santos Avenue but now famously referred to as EDSA: Camps Crame and Aguinaldo. Reinforced by elements of the vice-chief of staff Fidel Ramos and his forces, the Call for Unity with these rebels in their struggle of survival against the forces of the military who came in tanks and armored vehicles, had its third and closing act.

As the Event Card has one of the Reformer Operations: “Assemble”; I’ll give that Operation some further detail along with another Reformer Operation: “Recruit”. (I will cover the other two: “Advocate” and “Protest” in a later article as well as Reformer Special Activities) The purpose of the Assemble Operation is to primarily move the Reformer Activists. Unlike the previously explained Insurgent Operation – “March”, “Assemble” requires the selected location to already have a Reformer piece (Activist or Base) rather than just moving Guerillas to an adjacent space. Once the selected space has been chosen, then Activists can move from adjacent spaces to the selected space.

For instance, if a Reformer player desires to reinforce Manila with Activists, he or she must have a Reformer Base or Activist to move Activists from both the Northern Luzon Countryside and Southern Luzon Countryside or from either of them. The downside of such an operation is that if the selected space has Support or enemy Guerrillas and Cubes exceed three (any combination or the sum of one of the enemy factions), then the moving Activists are Activated (though Activated Activists may move as well). Of course, Manila could be empty of Activists or Bases to do such an Operation; so, the solution is to Recruit.

The Recruit Operation is almost an equivalent of the Government’s Train or Insurgent’s Rally Operation in terms of adding more units on the map board. Almost. The Recruit Operation allows the placement of 1 Activist (Active or Inactive but most likely the latter) or the replacement of three Activists for an Activist Base (within the stacking limit). If the latter course is undertaken in a City, then an Activist is added to an adjacent Countryside. Another added benefit is that if a Reformer Base is already present, such an Operation (placing 1 Activist or converting 3 into a Base) will allow all Activists in that space to be flipped to inactive.

The raison d’etre for the similar goals but differing executions and results in regard to these Operations for the Reformer faction as opposed to the Insurgents can be summed up in one word. Visibility. Due to the non-violent methods of the Reformers, there were advantages to this as they did not keep their actions a secret and quite the opposite, they wanted more exposure to their cause. The more public they were, the more effective they became so an Assemble Operation requires an Activist or Base to be more visible as to draw more Reformers into the space or when a Base is placed, an Activist is added to an adjacent Countryside space – this shows the Reformers either inspiring or organizing activity so that they may reach their goals and one such undertaking was a “Call for Unity”.

The following is a who’s who of political parties and organizations which opposed Marcos during the time reflected in the game as the Reformer faction.

UNIDO (UNIted Democratic Opposition)

This was the final party ticket which nominated Corazon Aquino for President and their own Salvador Laurel for Vice-President

PDP-LABAN (People’s Democratic Party – “Fight”)

LABAN was abbreviated from “LAkas ng BayAN” translated to Power of the Nation or more commonly known as People Power. This was the original political party of the late senator where he ran for office while incarcerated.

ATOM (August Twenty One Movement)

Formed by Agapito “Butz” Aquino, the slain senator’s brother.

BANDILA (Bansang Nagkakaisa sa Diwa at Layunin – trans: Nation uniting as one for spirit and purpose)

“Bandila” itself is translated into “Flag”. This organization was also a brainchild of Agapito Aquino for the goal of keeping the spirit of his brother alive through street rallies and demonstrations.

Below is the one party I must add that did not oppose President Marcos —

KBL (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan translated to New Society Movement)

Formed after the declaration of Martial Law, the party platform of the Marcos government.

Italicized text are Event Cards and Newsmakers in People Power’s current card manifest.

Next up: Landslide Win vs. Santos ’81

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.

In case you have missed the first few spoilers in this series, you can catch up by reading from here:

#51 Aquino Dead

#31 – The First Lady

#12 – Another Beirut

#72– Rolly Kintanar

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.