Late last year, we hosted a 3-part series on an upcoming COIN Series inspired game called The Troubles which deals with the struggle in Northern Ireland. Through that process I came to appreciate the designer Hugh O’Donnell’s take on this difficult conflict and really felt he was going about dealing with the nature of this bloody war as tactfully as possible as well as simultaneously providing some enlightenment and understanding about some of the issues.

Here are links to those three posts:

Part 1 – Uncomfortable questions about a game on this subject

Part 2 – Look at the map and the process behind it’s creation and genesis of events

Part 3 – Design progress to date and what “victory” looks like?

After those posts were received well, we asked Hugh if he would be interested in doing a series of Event Card spoilers for the game. The game is not yet published and has just started playtesting so there is a long road yet to travel but we thought an early look would be a good thing.

*Please keep in mind that the artwork and layout of these cards is not yet finalized (although they are getting close) and is only for playtest purposes at this point. Also, as this game is still in development, card details may still change prior to publication.

#166 Shergar

Valued at 10 million pounds in 1983 by its owner the Aga Khan, the famous racehorse Shergar was stolen on the 8th of February by an armed gang. No ransom was ever paid as it was not believed that after four days of ongoing negotiations that the
horse could possible still be alive. Former IRA member, Sean O’Callaghan later revealed that the theft of the horse was in hopes to gain funds in order to pay for arms.

You can hear about this bizarre incident on the latest Casefile True Crime podcast:

#169 Don Tidey Kidnapping

American Supermarket executive Don Tidey was kidnapped by the IRA on the 24th of November, 1983 and later was rescued on the 16th of December by police and soldiers
from the Republic of Ireland. Brendan McFarlane was allegedly one of four kidnappers, and was later captured in the Netherlands in 1986.

He was released from
the Maize prison on parole in 1997. It is alleged that Freddie Scappaticci was again involved in providing the Force Research Unit (FRU) with details of the abduction, which later lead to Tidey’s release.

#154 Ben Dunne Kidnapping

In October 1981, the IRA kidnapped the supermarket millionaire Ben Dunne, who
was held for six days before being released. Mystery surrounds this event as it was never established if the ransom was paid, but allegations suggest that the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Charles Haughey, intervened in his release for a financial sum.

It is alleged that Freddie Scappaticci, later suspected as being involved in supplying British Intelligence with high-level information on the Provisional IRA under the codename ‘Stakeknife’, provided information relating to those responsible for the abduction.

You can catch up on the series to date by following these links:

#34 Provisional IRA Formed

#63 Four Square Laundry/MRF

#24 RTÉ Television Centre Attack

#122 Brighton Hotel Bombing

#108 SAS – Peter Cleary

#103 General Election 1974 & #130 Labour Government: No Confidence

#20 People’s Democracy March: Burntollet

#108 Dublin and Monaghan Bombings

As always thank you Hugh for this great insight into the history behind the game and the salient issues. One of things that draws me to these COIN Series games is the learning of something about history and this game is going to shed some really interesting light on the subject for many who do not know much about the details.