Jared Inc.
United States
Saint Paul
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Fueled by the Void
I hoped this AAR would launch some strategic discussion about the "Call me Al" scenario. This session was a few weeks ago so please forgive the foggy details.

... AAR ...

A friend (who had played just once before) and I sat down to play a game of Labyrinth. I suggested he take the Jihadists because they're a little more straightforward to play (and we've been playing Cuba Libre recently where the guerrillas operate pretty similarly). Now whenever I play the Jihadists, I've found the "walkabout" strategy works pretty well; a strategy where you send cells off into non-muslim countries to test them, mostly to soft, and ruin the US's Global War on Terror (GWOT) position. My friend didn't know this strategy so I thought it might help to equalize things if we played Call me Al. I'd never tried it before so I thought it would be fun to give soft posture a shot...

... I lost on the first card of the third hand, the 19th card. So here's how the US's best laid plans went down in flames.

The Jihadists make a strong push for Pakistan, I toss 1 op cards to War of Ideas (WoI) non-muslim countries for the prestige and to align GWOT with my own opinion. My opponent piles cells in Pakistan but I stabilize and deploy troops. In reasonable time, Pakistan is secure with 2 troops at fair ally. My prestige is high and things are on looking good. Then things heat up.

I turn my attention to the Gulf states to lock it in at good. The Jihadists turn their attention to juicy Iraq. Half a hand later, Gulf States is no closer to good -- why does Gulf States always take approximately 100 WoI before it becomes good? The Jihadists have recruited 5 cells and makes his major jihad roll. 4 Islamic rule resources.

On to Syria for the win right? Nope! A well timed back channels pushes Syria to the diplomatic table and I shove it to good. The Jihadists reply with ex-KGB and push Central Asia to poor adversary. Bet you didn't see that one coming! Yeah, neither did I...

The Jihadists auto-recruit in Afghanistan, auto-travel to Central Asia, and succeed at their Major Jihad on the first card of the third hand. I could not shift to hard and invade nearly quickly enough. To rub salt in the wound, Sistani and Mass turn out both showed up in the 2 hands I got to use, which would have been a thunderous blow if I had the power to regime change. GG

... ... Strategic Implications ... ...

So, some good major jihad rolls very quickly delivered adversary countries to the Jihadists without my ability to intervene, even though I got to use back channels. Even if I'd had a little more luck, such that some major jihad rolls failed it would only have taken a few cards longer. I guess I now appreciate the rule that countries move one step closer to ally on a failed 3-op major jihad. It gives a soft US at least a chance of getting a few WoI in and then drop troops to prevent points before it falls to islamic rule (IR); though at quite a cost as the situation is essentially a "soft regime change". Good rolls meant that I never got that chance. I lost with very high prestige and the muslim world overrun.

So have a lot of people played Call me Al? Should I have reassessed to hard at the first sign of trouble (i.e. Iraq amassing cells)? What prevents the Jihadists from immediately going Iraq-> major jihad ->IR, Syria-> major jihad ->IR and victory. Is failing at least one major jihad, giving an opening for a soft regime change critical?

Thanks for reading and giving your input.

-Jared Inc.

Edited because words.
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