Late last year, we hosted a 3-part series on an upcoming game called The Troubles: Shadow War in Northern Irelands 1964-1998. 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.

#2 The Hand of Friendship

This card relates to the activities conducted by Terence O’Neill and Jack Lynch in an aid to the strengthening of relations between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as the former understood that his economic reforms required the inclusion of the disenfranchised Nationalist community. This was the first meeting between the two heads of state since 1925, shortly after Northern Ireland was partitioned into the Six Counties: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Derry/Londonderry and Tyrone. Terence O’Neill’s apparent concessions were as threatening to the Union with Great Britain and would ultimately lead to his recognition in response to a sustained paramilitary campaign by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Hugh is hoping to try and synchronise our efforts on this series of Event Card Spoilers with Thames Television Archive YouTube channel as a way to complement/supplement the knowledge of particular elements of the conflict. Here is a link to that channel:

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

Triple Feature including #166 Shergar, #169 Don Tidey Kidnapping and #154 Ben Dunne Kidnapping

#31b Bernadette Devlin Elected

#114 Birmingham Pub Bombings

As always thank you Hugh for this great insight into the history behind the game and the salient issues. One of the things that draws me to these irregular counter insurgency 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.