We have agreed to host a series of posts written by David Thompson on the blog about his upcoming design Europe Divided published by PHALANX and now on Kickstarter as of June 10th. As you know, we have hosted a few different series of Event Card spoilers over the past year or so with All Bridges Burning and People Power both from GMT Games as well as a recent CDG focused on the Barbary Coast War in The Shores of Tripoli from Fort Circle Games. I really love the Card Driven Game mechanic and frankly any game that uses cards as a primary engine. So keep an eye out for several of these posts that focus on the history behind the game and how the cards are used.
Europe Divided – The Annexation of Crimea and the Importance of Ukraine in the New Cold War
Crimea, annexed by Catherine the Great in 1783, saw the establishment of Russian military presence and colonization soon after with the foundation of Sevastopol, chief naval base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and Simferopol (1784) as the main city of the Tauride province. Sevastopol is the ideal location for a Black Sea port and can accommodate a fleet of large ships. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a 1997 treaty with Ukraine, renewed in April 2010, allowed Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet and lease the base at Sevastopol (extended to expire in 2042).
In 1954, the Soviet government had transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR). A 2001 census had established that the local population, about 2 million, was composed of Russians, accounting for 58.32% of the population, Ukrainians 24.32%, Crimean Tartars 12.1%, and other minorities.
In late February 2014, just days after the end of the Ukrainian Revolution and Victor Yanukovych’s flight from Kyiv, Russian commandos and marines began seizing key facilities on the Crimean peninsula. By early March, the Russian military had full control of Crimea. Local authorities then proposed a controversial secessionist referendum, coined “Russian Spring”, which was held on March 16 and allegedly gave a staggering 97 percent vote to join Russia, with a turnout of 83 percent. On 18 March 2014, Crimean and Russian officials signed a “Treaty of Accession”, the status of the peninsula became a “republic” (Respublika Krym), joining 21 other republics of the Russian Federation.
This accession was met with harsh criticism from the new Ukrainian government and the West who disputed the validity and legitimacy of the referendum. The United States and the European Union threatened and later enacted sanctions against Russia, while the NATO Council condemned what it called “a breach of International Law”.
As you can imagine, Ukraine plays an important role in the game, and especially in the game’s second period (from 2008 – 2019). During this period, Western Europe and Russia will compete over the Annexation of Crimea, the Ukrainian Revolution, and the War in the Donbass. Russia has the ability to gain prestige through purely military actions, while Europe will need to build up the EU’s political influence in Ukraine if the revolution is to succeed.
Thank you for your time in writing these posts for our readers David. The game looks very interesting and is sure to be a winner with its focus on the new Cold War and the use of these fantastic Headline Cards grounded in the history of the past 30 years. If you want to find out more about the game and how it works, check out our interview with codesigner David Thompson.
If you missed the other posts in the series, here are links for your convenience:
There will be more posts to come so keep an eye out. Also, remember the Kickstarter campaign has started as of Monday, June 10th. Here is a link to the page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/phalanxgames/1326338383?ref=bggforums&token=d1da70d8