As you know, I love the COIN Series and anything associated with it. Stephen Rangazas has been active over the past few years behind the scenes with the COIN Series with his development work on Fall of Saigon: A Fire in the Lake Expansion. He has used his background and research capabilities to great effect as he did the background work on the Event cards in the game. From that experience, he has now come forward with his own design in The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire from GMT Games which was announced last year.
The COIN Series Multi-Pack format is new and The British Way is the first game in this new shootoff from the main series with the games containing two to four separate games exploring a series of thematically related insurgencies. If you want to better understand this new addition to the COIN Series, you can read the excellent InsideGMT Blog post by Stephen Rangazas with an introduction to The British Way as well as a look at what you can expect in the Multi-Pack format at the following link: https://insidegmt.com/the-british-way-introduction-to-the-multi-pack/
We have agreed to provide a home for this series of quick articles on the History Behind the Cards involved in the game as the design continues to move through development and playtesting. Thanks go out to the game’s developer Joe Dewhurst and designer Stephen Rangazas for their work on these articles which are very informative and should give you a better understanding of how The British Way deals with each of these counterinsurgencies.
One other note, I think that the new layout and design of the cards looks really great and this work is being performed by Matthew Wallhead. Keep in mind though that nothing is finalized and these layouts are still just “near final”.
*Note: The cards highlighted and their event text, as well as any pictures used showing any of the various components, are still just the prototype versions which is only intended for playtesting purposes and the design and event effects and text might still change prior to final development and publication.
History Behind the Cards – The British Way: Cyprus
As the most recent conflict in the multipack, the British counterinsurgency campaign in Cyprus faced greater international oversight than they had during the Malayan or Kenyan emergencies. The United Nations’ role in international affairs had grown by the mid-1950’s, and an increasing focus on human rights arose with the European Convention on Human Rights in 1953. Even with these international developments, EOKA, as a small insurgent group, would have struggled to utilize these organizations against Britain. However, the Greek government backed EOKA’s goal of enosis, the political union of Cyprus with Greece. They permitted clandestine activities in support of EOKA, such as arms smuggling and the use of Radio Athens, a radio station spreading EOKA’s propaganda across the island, but refused to openly support the insurgency due to fears of publicly upsetting Britain, a fellow NATO ally.
Another way Greece supported EOKA was by raising the issue of Cyprus at the United Nations. Both Britain and Greece sought United States support for their position, but the US rejected taking a side to avoid alienating either ally. Although the issue was debated several times, the Greek government’s insistance on enosis was repeatedly rejected. Instead, the United Nations General Assembly called for a return to peaceful negotiations. Turkey also advocated against the acceptance of enosis. The Turkish government had a significant stake in the conflict due to its geographic proximity and the sizable Turkish Cypriot minority that lived there. Turkey was staunchly against EOKA’s goal of enosis and strove for an independent Cyprus.
In addition to Greek diplomatic support, EOKA also organized an extensive international propaganda campaign to discredit the conduct of British security forces in Cyprus and generate sympathy for EOKA. The formation of Human Rights Committees in Nicosia and other major towns to investigate and reveal abuses by the British assisted EOKA’s propaganda efforts, and the Greek government took EOKA’s campaign one step further by taking cases of British abuses before the European Convention on Human Rights. Although these efforts identified concrete evidence of abuses by the British security forces, EOKA may have discredited their overall effort by some of their wilder accusations, such as claiming that the British were committing ‘genocide’ and comparisons with ‘Nazi methods’.
The British Way: Cyprus depicts the importance of international opinion in the game’s main track. The International Opinion Track is shifted by EOKA’s Propagandize Special Activity, Britain’s Diplomacy Special Activity, and various Events depicted on the cards. International Opinion will also drift away from the Cyprus issue if EOKA does not keep up a steady amount of unrest across Cyprus. The value of the track, representing international pressure, subtracts directly from British Political Will, increasing the chances of a negotiated solution and EOKA’s goal of enosis. International Opinion also affects the level of EOKA arms smuggling the Greek government will tolerate.
I hope you have enjoyed a preview of some of The British Way Event Cards in these History Behind the Cards posts. We want to thank The Players’ Aid for their support of the game, the COIN Series and for their willingness to allow us access to this platform to share the game. Look out for more teasers of near final art in upcoming GMT Monthly updates.
If you missed the previous entries in the series, you can catch up on the posts to date by following the below links:
If you haven’t paid attention over the past few years, Stephen knows his stuff and does a bang up job of explaining how the history of the highlighted conflicts has been incorporated into the design of The British Way. I feel like after reading these cards I can better understand and see the connection and motivations behind the events of the various conflicts.
If you are interested in The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-945-the-british-way-counterinsurgency-at-the-end-of-empire.aspx
We also published an interview with designer Stephen Rangazas and if you are interested you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/03/07/interview-with-stephen-rangazas-designer-of-the-british-way-counterinsurgency-at-the-end-of-empire-from-gmt-games/