The boardgame 1989: Dawn of Freedom, is set ina time where the Soviet Union was getting close to its demise. In each of its satellitestates, the people are filled with the sense of getting their freedom. By the timethe year 1989 ends, Germany is reunited and Poland, Hungary, Romania,Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria are all independent nations once again. One of thebigger revolutions was the one that took place in Czechoslovakia, known as theVelvet Revolution. Prior to this revolution, there wasa failed revolution in 1968 called the Prague Spring.
This revolution endedwhen the Russian Army was sent in with tanks to stop the revolution. When 1989rolled around, murmurs of a revolution started again. The Velvet Revolution beganon November 17, 1989 when students organized a march to mark the 50thanniversary of a student’s death during a protest of the Nazi occupation. Themarch quickly turned into an anti-communist protest.
Although it was a peacefulprotest, 167 students were hospitalized after the police came in. This and manyother protests caused people to begin the building of a free Czechoslovakia.Following this demonstration, many others were held, with actors and playwrightsbeing the leaders of these movements.
This made theaters the center for thefree Czechoslovakia movement. On November 19th, the group CivicForum was established as a collection of people that were heavily in thedemocratic movement. Their goal was to remove the communist government inCzechoslovakia and put in a democratic government. This group was led by Vaclav Havel, an author, playwright, and poet.He used his talents to craft the movements message by challenging thegovernment that helped to capture the people.
He had been arrested many timesfor things that he said. After orchestratinga series of public demonstrations and strikes over the next three weeks, Havelbecame the face of the Czech opposition and led the group in talks with the governmentin early December 1989. Then negotiations with the Communist government began. Thesetalks lead to Havel being appointed president of Czechoslovakia in 1989 and thedemise of the Communist government there and the rise of the democratic government.Haval was then elected president in June 1990 and held the office until 2003.
In the board game, there are multiple cards in the gamethat have to do with the Velvet Revolution. The very first card that has to dowith the revolution is card #29 Jan Palach Week. The event that inspired thiscard was a week created for the anniversary of Jan Palach, a student who committedsuicide to protest the government. This event was then used as a way to protestthe government and the police got involved under government orders.
The nextcard is card #52 Normalization. This card was based on when tens ofthousands of Prague Spring supporters were removed from the government and theCzechoslovak Communist party. It was implemented by Milos Jakes, who later roseto leader of Czechoslovakia. In his rise to power Jakes spoke the words of areformer, praising perestroika, but in reality, was a hardliner. Another cardis card # 68 Klaus and Komarek. This card comes from the actions of VaclavKlaus and Valtr Komarek. They were Czech economists that becameoutspoken critics of the regime. Klaus even became the president of the CzechRepublic.
The final card is card #105 Public Against Violence. This card wasbased on a group of the same name who was like the Civic Forum. They eventuallybroke up when the Communist government broke up.
The game designers created this game with Twilight Struggleas the basis, but made modifications to it. They made it at a country level andmade it more unpredictable with the addition of the power struggle cards. Withthis in mind, they created the cards to have a certain effect on differentplaces and social classes. This showed how much the public swayed each way, butthe cards also had a bigger effect in relation to the historical event. Eachcard has to do with how each side dealt with the revolution. While theCommunist cards use cards that suppress the revolution, the democratic cards useactions to uplift it. This ultimately gives the game the thrill of thedemocrats slowly taking over and the communists trying desperately to hold onto power.