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Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?» Forums » General

Subject: Playing the Jihadist side for the first time rss

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chuck reaume
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I've played the US side, solo, ten times so far and have a pretty decent grasp of the rules and strategy (just finished a 3-deck campaign of "Mission Accomplished" last night, Jihadist win) but I've never seen the game through the eyes of the Jihadist.

So this morning I played both sides in order to get a feel for the asymmetrical rules governing the Jihadist. Definitely was an eye-opener. I had a "now what" moment after I had set up the game (Let's Roll!). The AI did everything for me before! Once I got started though it really was fun to see the game from another perspective and it introduced elements like First Plot that had never been a factor before. Game was a lot faster paced as well (although that could change once I play with another human opponent).

US won as it came down to a race for resources. As the Jihadist I definitely went for more Major Jihad's than what the AI had done before.

Really upped my excitement for the expansion!
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C Jen
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It's interesting, I have played this game a handful of times (maybe five), always against a human opponent and always as the Jihadist.

Your description fits my experience perfectly - the entire game is an extended strategic "Now what?" morass. I played one game where I won with a nuke on the homeland. I played four games where the US either won in resources during the game (most recently), or the deck ran out and the US had a slight edge in resources. At no point did I feel like I had much of a grasp on my strategic goals and general aims.

Nukes on the homeland feel like they only work with a specific order of events, since placing plots in the US is extremely hard. So the rest of the runthroughs focused on a more realistic goal of securing resources.

However, almost everything the Jihadist has to roll against not-very-favorable odds to achieve, the US can usually pony up the OPs and achieve as an assured outcome. (Testing/WOI being a very significant exception, which would be a bit more reassuring if my most recent game had not turned up bizarrely good WOI rolls for the US.) Most of my tactical moves faced analysis paralysis - paying OPs to roll at 50% odds (at best) just feels like a waste of OPs.

I'm sure greater familiarity will bring better understanding of the events and overall strategy as the Jihadist side... the main question is whether I'll have the stomach for the necessary playthroughs to reach that stage. Given that I've bought the game already, I will grimly roll up my sleeves and play as the US side a few times, to see if a less-dicey experience makes for a clearer strategic understanding.

It's surprising how long it's taking me to get "into" this game. Twilight Struggle and 1989 (admittedly far simpler in mechanics) gripped me solidly in the very first playthrough. But with LWOT, I'm forcing myself to play more games largely because I'm convinced I should be having fun by now and I'm not.
 
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chuck reaume
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My advice to you: play a few solo games before playing against a human opponent again. One, you'll get familiar with the U.S. side, its advantages, disadvantages and strategies. Two, playing against the Jihadist AI will give you at least a small window into the different paths to victory and how to attain them. I highly recommend, if you have not done so yet, reading the playbook. Really gives an excellent run-through of both sides (solo) and helps make sense of the details. Also watching videos like the late night gamer series was extremely helpful to me when I first started (http://boardgamegeek.com/video/50827/labyrinth-war-terror-20...).

A lot of people have said this game is harder to pick up than Twilight Struggle but for me, since I learned TS first (a steep learning curve for me) the game mechanics for Labyrinth seemed more familiar. Definitely helped reduce frustration while learning the game.
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Volko Ruhnke
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C Jen, I saw from the other thread that it turns out that you were cheating your Jihadists of most of the Besieged Regimes they had earned. It will be interesting to hear what difference it makes to balance in your games with that assist to the jihadists restored. Good luck! Volko
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