The Player’s Aid

A curation of articles on The Troubles very kindly published by The Player’s Aid.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3



RTE Attack

Brighton Hotel Bombing

SAS – Peter Cleary

No Confidence


Dublin and Monaghan Bombings

Ben Dunne & Shergar

Compass Games Agreement

It is with great pleasure to announce that Compass Games and I have just signed a formal Agreement that will see them publish my design of the simulation, ‘The Troubles: Shadow War in Northern Ireland 1964-1998‘.

It was imperative that this subject matter be afforded the precision and attention to detail that it – and the many thousands of lives affected – deserved; I am privileged that an organisation such as Compass Games will deliver this product with such important demands.

The Troubles makes its final journey to the table; to tell its story – honestly and immersively.

Special Forces

I’m introducing a new mechanic to augment the COIN Factions in light of recent research: Special Forces.

And today, from the wonderful more components arrived, including the octogons to represent the SAS, RUC Special Branch and – and this may work – Gardai Special Branch.

The COIN Factions Have New Methods

These new components will allow for more simulating targeted, clandestine operations limited to the border County of Armagh and Newry initially; this reflects their restricted deployment and operations between 1976 and late 1977, before Roy Mason 1978 widened their scope of operations.

The RUC Special Branch and SAS are mutually exclusive and it will not be permissible to have both in the same county seat – mirroring the discord and rivalry that was present between the two allies; it will also present interesting meta dynamics between the participants operating these two forces.

Lastly, I have begun to produce the accompanying narratives for each Event Card and which shall appear in the Playbook; I’ve completed 30 of the original set, but as is the case, I have identified Event Cards that should warrant inclusion, particularly around the time of Terence O’Neill’s reign – a very interesting time, indeed, and one which I would envisage and hope that players will discover as adding political nuance to the early period of the Troubles.

The SAS and SB may cross the border into Republic of Ireland in an attempt to secure arrests or assassinations, but potentially leading to the deterioration of Anglo-Irish Relations and the lowering of UK Prestige – all of which are damaging during Election Rounds and act as ‘recruiting seargants’ for the paramilitaries.

There are approximately 200 such cards that provide – hopefully – the full gamut of political and social context upon which the activities play out.