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1989: Dawn of Freedom» Forums » General

Subject: Excellent Book regarding 1989 rss

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Mark Holmes
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For those of you wanting an excellent readable account of the events of 1989 and the history leading up to it can I recommend 'Revolution 1989:The Fall of the Soviet Empire' by Victor Sebestyen. This book provides a huge amount of background material that you will be able to bore your opponents with whilst playing this much-anticipated game.

Mark

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BJ
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"Yeah I killed women and children, killed everything that walks or crawls at one time or another and I'm here to kill you Little Bill"
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Thanks Mark! I'm really looking forward to 1989: Dawn of Freedom and a little reading material on the subject will only increase my anticipation.
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Joseph Cannon
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The waiting is too much so I have bought the book to read in the meantime. Mind you I couldn't be bothered to wait for that even, so had to buy a kindle as well...

Enjoyable read so far and I fully endorse this recommendation!
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Ted Torgerson
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Mark here is another book which is available to read free online.

Jacques Levesque: The Enigma of 1989 The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/35288372/Levesque-Jacques-The-Enig...

This book is not as entertaining to read as Sebestyn's book, which I think is the best book on the subject among the ones I read. The Enigma of 1989 referred to in the book's title is Gorbachev's decision to renounce the Brezhnev doctrine and to surrender the Soviet empire. What did Gorbachev expect to happen, what did he hope to gain, and why did events spin out of his control?
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Mark Holmes
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thanks for the tip Ted. I must admit that whilst reading Sebestyn's book I was constantly wondering what Gorbachev thought the end game would bring. I could only assume that he knew the game was up in terms of the economic viability of the Soviet bloc, but that the eastern European nations would stay within the orbit of the USSR, in the same way that the Western European nations were allied to the US.

One thing that the book portrays is that, at the time, neither side, both the Communist regimes or the people, realised just how vulnerable the regimes were. With the lack of support from the USSR it took a relatively small push to topple them. I'm interested to see if the game models this vulnerability or if it has to overplay the state's power to balance the game.
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Ted Torgerson
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Quote:
One thing that the book portrays is that, at the time, neither side, both the Communist regimes or the people, realised just how vulnerable the regimes were. With the lack of support from the USSR it took a relatively small push to topple them. I'm interested to see if the game models this vulnerability or if it has to overplay the state's power to balance the game.


First I would say we were conscious to avoid the temptation to make the game match what happened historically. The actual historic events of 1989 were just one of many possible outcomes, and we have tried to design the game to include the limits of the possible. That is especially important when dealing with revolutions, where the unthinkable was happening every day. There is a bias to people's thinking that which did happen had to happen, as it happened. As wargamers we have to resist that temptation.

Second the reason neither side percieved the vunerability of the regimes was that the regimes were in control almost until the moment they collapsed. The speed of events was simply stunning. To represent that we have included very powerful events for the democrat in each country (The Monday Demonstrations in East Germany, Civic Forum in Czechoslovakia, Union of Democratic Forces in Bulgaria, etc.) where the Democrat can do tremendous damage with a single card. There are also events that give positive modifiers such as FRG Embassies that can have a big effect. At times the Communist will seem to be secure, and then his position will simply evaporate. The challenge for the Communist is to limit the damage as much as possible; for the democrat it is to position himself to take advantage when these opportunities arise.

Third, the VPs depend on when the scoring cards are played. Poland and Hungary Scoring are in the Early Year deck; Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and East Germany Scoring are in the Middle Year deck, and Romania Scoring is in the Late Year deck. The Early Year corresponds to January through about the middle of June. The Middle Year runs from late June though October. The Late Year is November and December. So using our scoring card system with the actual historical events, the Democrat takes Power in Poland only the second time the Poland Scoring card is played. When Czech scoring is played the first time through the Middle Year deck, the Commmunist scored -8 or more VPs. The same is true with East Germany, unless the scoring card does not come out until the last turn of the Middle Year, after the Monday Demonstrations have started. So, much of the time but not all of the time, VPs in our game oscillate, with the democrat doing well in the Early Year, then the Communist racking up points in the Middle Year before things turn in the Democrat's favor again in the Late Year. You just have to think of the summer months where the Communist is weak and vulnerable, but in Power, as the time the Communist is scoring lots of VPs.
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