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Subject: 1989 news for August rss

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Ted Torgerson
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Not much happened this month. Let me think.. oh yea -

We made it to 500 pre-orders!

Card changes: Inflationary currency was changed to allow the player to remove 2 opponent SPs and make a support check instead of adding 2 of his own. The support check can still be cancelled if the opponent discards a 3 Ops card. The board was feeling a little crowded so this is a net substraction of 4 SPs.

The Tyrant is Gone was changed to state it doesn't take effect until after the Power Struggle in Romania has been resolved. Historically Ceausescu's final speech from the Central Committee Building balcony (represented in the game by The Crowd Turns Against Ceausescu) took place on December 21st. The Ceausescus then hid out until the following day, fleeing by helicopter from the roof of the building the morning of the 22nd. They were captured in Targoviste that afternoon. The Revolution continued for 3 more days, so this event took place in the midst of the Power Struggle. However we found that for game play it is a lot smoother to have the Power Struggle resolved then have the event take effect. It also gives Nicolae and Elena a better chance to escape.

Tiananmen Square changes: The Goddess of Democracy space no longer allows the player to discard a scoring card. This increases the pressure on the Democrat because he loses a safety valve of a discarding a bad scoring card and it increases the chances of a 2d and 3rd power struggle in the Middle Year scoring cards.

Mounted Map: per GMT Games: "We haven't yet made a final decision on this, guys, but are leaning toward the mounted map approach. We need order numbers to be strong to be able to swing that, though, so we are watching with great interest as 1989 moves up the P500 list."

This month's video in an interview with Alexander Yakovlev. It's well worth watching, especially for Twilight Struggle players, for his recollection of the pre-war era and Kruschev's secret speech denouncing Stalin at the 20th Party Congress in 1955. For 1989 players, the relevant part begins at 27:30 of the video. The card notes for Yakovlev Counsels Gorbachev are below.



Card Notes - Yakovlev Counsels Gorbachev


This is a Middle Year 2 Ops event. It is placed in front of the Democrat until the next Power Struggle card is played, then its effect is applied and it is removed from the game.

(Flavor text: Brehznev Doctrine implicitly repudiated) In the next Power Struggle if the Democrat wins he receives a +1 to his Support Loss and Victory Point die rolls.

Alexander Yakovlev and Eduard Shevardnadze were the two most important advisers to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989. Yakovlev knew Gorbachev when they were both young aparats during the early Brezhnev era. They met again in Canada in 1983 and had fateful conversation that would change the course of the Cold War.

For all its propaganda about tearing down class antagonisms, the Communists created the most atomized societies in history. Ironically it was the social criticisms of early Marx that history has proven true at least in the case of the eastern European socialist states. The individual under Communism was alienated, from nature, from society and from himself. In place of the individual the Communists imposed a class identity, and the police state left people feeling isolated, suspicious and disconnected. Vaclav Havel expressed it this way in his inauguration as Czech president January 1, 1990, "But worst is that we live in a polluted moral environment. We have become morally ill by not saying what we think. We have learned not to believe in anything, to ignore each other, and to think only of ourselves. The existing system, armed by a pompous and belligerent ideology, reduced human beings and nature to be the tools of production. It turned talented and self-sufficient people who wisely cared for their land's economy, into the cogs of a senseless, monstrous, cacaphonous and foul smelling machine."

Returning to that meeting of Yakovlev and Gorbachev, they began speaking as if on sort of a reform Communist blind date. Each knew that a single heretical statement could be discovered by the KGB and used by political enemies to remove them from their positions in the elite of the Party. Then Yakovlev, perhaps sensing Gorbachev's willingness to broach the subject, began to bare his feelings. He later remembered the conversation, "both of us suddenly were just kind of flooded and let go. I somehow, for some reason, threw caution to the wind and started telling him about what I considered to be utter stupidities in the area of foreign affairs, especially about those SS-20 missiles that were being stationed in Europe and a lot of other things. And he did the same thing. We were completely frank. He frankly talked about the problems in the internal situation in Russia. He was saying that under these conditions, the conditions of dictatorship and absence of freedom, the country would simply perish. So it was at that time, during our three-hour conversation, almost as if our heads were knocked together, that we poured it all out and during that three-hour conversation we actually came to agreement on all our main points."

And so it was that the policies of the Gorbachev era and the end of the Cold War were hatched during an agricultural fact finding visit to Canada. Yakovlev's policy would later be termed initiativism. The theory was that the Soviet system was doomed, but if the Party reformed quickly enough then the people would accept the reformed Party and allow it to remain in power by democratic means. Domestically the reforms were called Glasnost and Perestroika. In foreign policy the Brehznev Doctrine would be repudiated and in its place pursuit of a "common European home."

Gorbachev took a couple years to consolidate his power before launching his reform agenda. In his foreign policy at least he enjoyed remarkable success. But had the two men forgotten their conversation? Not what they talked about, but the feeling of finding a kindred spirit in the gray life of a Communist? And once they unleashed the force of free expression did they think they could deny this euphoria to the crowds? The people were sympathetic to the goals of social equality, but first they must have their catharsis, initiativism or no.

In game terms this event was successully used by the Democrat to take power in Hungary, and also played a roll in the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. There were many times Gorbachev's abandonment of the Brehznev Doctrine was crucial in developments by undermining Communist regimes that looked to Moscow for support to make up for a lack of legitimacy.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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I love your enthusiasm for this game Ted. I'm really pleased it's doing so well.
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Carlos Ferreira
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1989Game wrote:
Mounted Map: per GMT Games: "We haven't yet made a final decision on this, guys, but are leaning toward the mounted map approach. We need order numbers to be strong to be able to swing that, though, so we are watching with great interest as 1989 moves up the P500 list."
Although I could agree with that statement, I believe that if they announce that the game will have a mounted board the number orders would be much higher.
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Judit Szepessy
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Quote:
I love your enthusiasm for this game Ted.
Of course, je is emthusiastic, as this is a great great game! The bestest for me.
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Ted Torgerson
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leroy43 wrote:
I love your enthusiasm for this game Ted. I'm really pleased it's doing so well.
Thanks Roger! Your review got the game noticed. I credit you and Jason for 1989 getting published.
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