The When 1989 rolled around, murmurs of

The board
game 1989: Dawn of Freedom, is set in
a time where the Soviet Union was getting close to its demise. In each of its satellite
states, the people are filled with the sense of getting their freedom. By the time
the year 1989 ends, Germany is reunited and Poland, Hungary, Romania,
Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria are all independent nations once again. One of the
bigger revolutions was the one that took place in Czechoslovakia, known as the
Velvet Revolution.

            Prior to this revolution, there was
a failed revolution in 1968 called the Prague Spring. This revolution ended
when the Russian Army was sent in with tanks to stop the revolution. When 1989
rolled around, murmurs of a revolution started again. The Velvet Revolution began
on November 17, 1989 when students organized a march to mark the anniversary of
a student’s death during a protest of the Nazi’s prolonged stay in the country.
The peaceful act quickly turned into an anti-communist free-for-all. At the end
of the event, 167 students were hospitalized after the police came in and
started to drag people away and beat them. This and many other protests and
marches caused the people to begin the building of a free Czechoslovakia. As
the movement began to grow, ordinary people began to come forward to become the
defacto leaders of the movement, most prominently, actors and playwrights.
These new leaders made the theaters in Czechoslovakia the central hubs for the
revolution. On November 19th, the most prominent and most
recognizable group, the Civic Forum, was established from the coming together
of other groups, such as Charter 77. Their goal was to bring together the
different groups in Czechoslovakia and remove the communist government.

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This group was led by Vaclav Havel, an author, playwright, and poet.
He used his talents to craft the movements message by challenging the
government that helped to capture the people. He had been arrested many times
for things that he said. After orchestrating
a series of public demonstrations and strikes over the next three weeks, Havel
became the face of the Czech opposition and led the group in talks with the government
in early December 1989. Then negotiations with the Communist government began. These
talks lead to Havel being appointed president of Czechoslovakia in 1989 and the
demise 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 game
that have to do with the Velvet Revolution. The very first card that has to do
with the revolution is card #29 Jan Palach Week. The event that inspired this
card was a week created for the anniversary of Jan Palach, a student who committed
suicide to protest the government. This event was then used as a way to protest
the government and the police got involved under government orders. The next
card is card #52 Normalization. This card was based on when tens of
thousands of Prague Spring supporters were removed from the government and the
Czechoslovak Communist party. It was implemented by Milos Jakes, who later rose
to leader of Czechoslovakia. In his rise to power Jakes spoke the words of a
reformer, praising perestroika, but in reality, was a hardliner. Another card
is card # 68 Klaus and Komarek. This card comes from the actions of Vaclav
Klaus and Valtr Komarek. They were Czech economists that became
outspoken critics of the regime. Klaus even became the president of the Czech
Republic. The final card is card #105 Public Against Violence. This card was
based on a group of the same name who was like the Civic Forum. They eventually
broke up when the Communist government broke up.

The game designers created this game with Twilight Struggle
as the basis, but made modifications to it. They made it at a country level and
made it more unpredictable with the addition of the power struggle cards. With
this in mind, they created the cards to have a certain effect on different
places and social classes. This showed how much the public swayed each way, but
the cards also had a bigger effect in relation to the historical event. Each
card has to do with how each side dealt with the revolution. While the
Communist cards use cards that suppress the revolution, the democratic cards use
actions to uplift it. This ultimately gives the game the thrill of the
democrats slowly taking over and the communists trying desperately to hold on
to power.