In late 2019, we hosted a 3-part series on an upcoming game called The Troubles: Shadow War in Northern Ireland 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.

#107R Enoch Powell’s Last Stand

Enoch Powell receives the endorsement of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in South Down to stand as the official UUP candidate in forthcoming elections. Powell, infamous for his 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ anti-immigration speech, had fallen out of favour with the Conservative Party for what he saw was a betrayal of British Sovereignty by joining the European Economic Market (EEC); he urged the British electorate to vote for the Labour Party (they  had promised a referendum on the matter) which came to power – although in a hung parliament – in the year’s first of two General Elections in February, 1974.

Powell’s recruitment to stand as an Ulster Unionist candidate for the South Down constituency in the second General Election the following October was a real opportunity to have a well-known figure like Powell. 

From the BBC: “Alex Kane, a commentator and former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) press officer, believes the arrangement suited both sides at the time. 

‘When Powell was persuaded to stand for the Ulster Unionists he was at the height of his popularity across Great Britain, with many people supporting his stance on immigration and the EEC. Key figures in the leadership of the party believed the scale of that popularity would be of benefit to them.’

According to Kane, the geographical and constitutional integrity of the UK was hugely important to Powell. Welcoming Direct Rule as necessary in order to prevent the IRA forcing Britain to adopt Home Rule for Ireland, Powell would continue to serve as a Northern Ireland MP in the South Down seat for thirteen years. He was bitterly opposed to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which saw Dublin having a formal say in the governance of Northern Ireland. 

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

#2 The Hand of Friendship

#35 Prime Minister Terence O’Neill Resigns

#184 The Loughgall Ambush

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.