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

Subject: Jihadists seems very hard to win rss

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Skull Bones
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I'm wondering if i'm missing something because it seems very hard for the Jihadist to win in this game. I played a game with a friend and he slaughtered me with the US. We then switched and I slaughtered him with the US. Here's what happened.

Turn 1, the Jihadist recruits some troops in Afghanistan and then moves a few down to Pakistan. The US player then launches his invasion of Afghanistan to break Islamist rule with a 3 card. He roles for prestige and hits a 6. Great, prestige is going up. He roles two dice and hits a 4 and a 6 so now his prestige is sky high. Next card he starts using War of Ideas in the Gulf states. At this point, his prestige is so high he is getting a +2 modifier so he is hitting on a 3,4,5,6 with 2 giving aid! He roles a 4 and already Gulf states is an Ally.

Jihadist gets his turn now and realizes he better react and try to stop it so he moves 2 guys from Pakistan over and tries to do minor jihad to move the country to poor. However, for the Jidahist his rolls only hit on a 1 and 2. He roles a 3 and a 5 and loses both troops.

Now back to US. Still hitting on a 3,4,5,6 he does a war of ideas in gulf states again and hits with a 3. Gulf states is now a good ally. With this, he starts spreading to Pakistan and Saudia Arabia. He is now gets a success on a 2,3,4,5,6 and gets aid with a 1 so he is 90% successfull on almost any roll. The Jihadist player tries to move 2 guys over to Saudia Arabia but has to get a 1 or a 2 now to get in. He gets lucky and rolls a 2 and gets 1 there safely and the other dies in travel. He then tries to launch a minor jihad with his only guy which has to hit on a 1 or 2 and he rolls and 5 and is now dead.

Back to US who hits on 2,3,4,5,6.....

I'm not sure what i'm missing here but it seems extremely hard for the Jihadist player. I don't know what else he could have done. It's simply a matter of math. The user raises governance much easier than the Jihadist player can. The Jihadist player not only has to roll for travel, but he also has to hit on a 1 or 2 all the time to lower governance, and he has to worry about disrupt. He never gets any modifiers. Plus, any misses kills his guys and if you launch a plot then it just gives the US a turn to get rid of it and then you still have to re-roll it again on a 1-2 to see if you actually lower the governance. The jihadist player could just ignore the US and go after his own countries with major jihad but the dice are still not in his favor. What am I missing? In a game where you win on dice rolls, the player who has a higher percentage chance of hits is going to win in the end.
 
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Marty Sample
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I very rarely use Minor Jihad, as the penalty for failure ( losing the cell ) greatly reduces your options . The more cells you have on the board, the more options you have . Its hard to say what you could have done different without knowing what cards you had. But cards that allow you to place Plots in countries with Fair to Good governance or ones that allow you to spread out are key. Sometimes the best strategy is to not face the US head on but go where he does not have troops or adjacent Allied Good countries. Indonesia is often a good option, as it provides 3 Resources. Or the North African countries. There are many events that allow cell placement w/o having to risk a Travel DR.

Also, when the US does a Regime Change, there are several cards that can have nasty effects . Setting off a Plot in a country with Troops can hurt his Prestige. If you have those, it can really make his life miserable.

Also, don't forget that any War of Ideas roll where the US is trying to go to Good Governance has a -1 DRM.
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David
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First, if you look at all the plays people have had, you'll find that the overall win rate is pretty balanced (I would say the game slightly favors the jihadists, actually).

However, this is a game where luck can play a big part, and either side can get rolled up quickly if the dice and cards go against you.

In your case, the US got some lucky early die rolls, with his first Regime Change. And once the US starts getting Good countries, if the jihadists don't drop his prestige quickly and/or flip some countries back, it will become a chain reaction and the US will win.

Your jihadist player tried a Minor Jihad in Pakistan. I almost never do that, precisely because you lose your cells that way. Plots are better. Yes, it gives the US player a chance to Alert them, but at a cost of a 3-op card each. That's 3 ops he can't use for another WOI roll or Disrupt, or a Sistani or Patriot Act.

The advantage of the US is that they can do anything they want - as long as they have the cards to do it. But they can't be everywhere.

The jihadists can be everywhere, and for them, winning is about starting more fires than the US can put out.

That said, yeah, sometimes you just get screwed by the cards and the dice.
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Pete Martyn
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Very generally speaking, did both of you invade Afghanistan and then see US prestige go up? That's far from impossible but it's a nice perk for the US player.

Did you catch that shifting a country to Good imposes a -1 modifier on the roll? It's not huge but it does make that final push a little more difficult for the US.

I suspect that if you stick with it over a few more games things will start to feel more balanced. Two things come to mind -- first, if the US has a regime change country on the board, unless they are incredibly lucky and/or have a few good cards (Sistani, Mass Turnout) it'll be a while before that country can be brought to Good Ally. In the meantime you've got a country where you can recruit for free, and if you successfully plot against US troops, you can damage that nice US prestige. Try to time those plots so they land at points where your opponent is unlikely to have a 3-op card in hand to foil them.

Also, what sort of cards were you and your opponent drawing each turn? Lots of jihadist-friendly events make it easy to attack governance, get cells into new regions, or punish the US player for regime changes. Sometimes those will open up a new avenue for indirect attack. Opponent is meddling in the Gulf States? Attack his prestige with something like Leak or GTMO. Or try to open up a new caliphate in Somalia or Indonesia, or pursue WMD in Central Asia. It's also relatively easy to shove around the global posture by moving cells into untested non-Muslim countries -- if the world is Soft and the US is Hard, US WOI rolls are going to be a lot harder to manage.

Sounds to me like you guys had some fortunate rolls and draws as the US player. It happens. I'd encourage you to stick with it -- I think it's far more balanced than you're seeing right now.
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Allen J
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The US is a bit more intuitive to play, but in my experience the Jihadists still have a fair chance to win. I find the Jihadist player needs to spread as fast as possible starting as many problems as possible for the US player to deal with. Plots and Major Jihads will be your best friends in this game.
 
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allensaurusrex wrote:
I find the Jihadist player needs to spread as fast as possible starting as many problems as possible for the US player to deal with.


This is the key difference between the two sides, mechanically speaking. With a 3 OPS card, the US player can do whatever they want, wherever they want - but only one country at a time. The Jihadist player can use a 3 OPS card and activate one cell in each of three different places. Basically, you want to start more fires than he can deal with at the same time.

Also, by spreading out and getting away from any countries he's gotten to Good Ally status, you can reduce the effectiveness of his Good Governance and/or troops where he can use Special Forces. Going toe to toe next to the Gulf States is harder than say North Africa .
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Andy Latto
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Doing a turn 1 regime change by the US is usually a bad play on average, but it adds a lot of variance and the US can get lucky. Usually, the result is that the US prestige goes down. It will go up by 4 or more, which you saw in both your games, only 1 time in 12.

I always tell a new Jihadist player that if they have any card in their first hand that reduces US prestige, they should play it on turn 1. I'd estimate that this is possible about half the time.

In your game, the US made two 2 out of 3 rolls to get Afghanistan quickly from poor to good; that will only happen about half the time.

So in your games the US got US prestige +4 on a prestige roll, and two successful war of ideas in Afganistan, and the Jihadists had no prestige-lowering cards. All of that will happen only about 1 time in 50. Yes, in about 1 game in 50, the US will get so lucky that there's nothing the Jihadists can do. But with average luck, the game is pretty balanced.
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andylatto wrote:


So in your games the US got US prestige +4 on a prestige roll, and two successful war of ideas in Afganistan, and the Jihadists had no prestige-lowering cards. All of that will happen only about 1 time in 50. Yes, in about 1 game in 50, the US will get so lucky that there's nothing the Jihadists can do. But with average luck, the game is pretty balanced.


Actually, the odds are worse than 1 in 50 if you factor in cards the Jihadist can play on the first two impulses to reduce Prestige, which as you point out there are several.
 
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Brad Keusch
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Our last game would have seen the jihadists likely win, as they were able to use martyrdom operation to place two plots in the US, one of which was a nuke, when the US didn't have enough ops to remove them both, it would have been a 50/50 shot. Luckily, the US had wiretapping, so it was a moot point, but without it, it was going to be a super tense reveal.
 
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Mike Brewer
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I find this game to be fairly balanced - in that both sides win about half the time - but that I play a lot of games which seem a bit one-sided (and I am comparing it to my experience of playing Twilight Struggle with the same pool of f2f opponents). So balanced, but often not a nail-biting finish. However, the rich sense of story that comes with the game means I still want to play it.

Mike

 
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Gerhardt Schroeder
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As others have mentioned, you don't seem to have been applying the -1 penalty for going to good, which is key.

That aside, I find that the most reliable way for the jihadist to bring a halt to the U.S. machine is to manage the GWOT. If the U.S. is at hard, you take your cells on a tour of Europe, which (a) is very lovely; and (b) gives you a 66% chance per country of adding a soft country (plus you'll want a cell in Russia anyway for the Russian nuke card). Once you can get to -3 GWOT then the War of Ideas is going to be hard for the U.S. even if he has sky high prestige (and impossible if he doesn't).

And if he then changes to soft, then you can major jihad away without fear of regime change. And if you do your next major jihad in an adversary country, you can do it where the U.S. can't do anything to stop you. And posture is something that it's very difficult and very expensive for the U.S. to change on the fly (and he has to worry about cards - a couple times I have seen the U.S. spend two 3-card to change posture only to have the jihadist play a card to immediately change it back).
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Doomcow wrote:
And posture is something that it's very difficult and very expensive for the U.S. to change on the fly (and he has to worry about cards - a couple times I have seen the U.S. spend two 3-card to change posture only to have the jihadist play a card to immediately change it back).


And after having done so, its more likely the US player will not have a 3 OPS card to stop a Plot.
 
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Mark Boulter
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Quote:
Doing a turn 1 regime change by the US is usually a bad play on average,


True, but in a recent game my Jihadist opponent flooded Afghanistan with ALL cells on round one; second card.

My instant response was RC...

Was not sure at the time if it was the correct response but it 'seemed' likely
 
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David
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Rimush wrote:
Quote:
Doing a turn 1 regime change by the US is usually a bad play on average,


True, but in a recent game my Jihadist opponent flooded Afghanistan with ALL cells on round one; second card.

My instant response was RC...

Was not sure at the time if it was the correct response but it 'seemed' likely


Really? Because the jihadist player could then try a Major Jihad and on a lucky roll, flip it back and drop your Prestige to 1, and keep your prestige at 1 by Plotting at will.
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Simone Puccio
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i think that you don't use this rules :

7.2.1.3 Regime Change. War of Ideas may occur in a country marked
with Regime Change (7.3.4, 7.3.4.1) only if the number of troops
there exceeds the number of cells by at least five.

and this :

8.2.3 Regime Change Recruiting. Recruit rolls in Regime Change
countries (7.3.4.1) automatically succeed.

The US destroy lesser cells than you can recruit and it is impossibile try WOI if has troop-cells < 5


 
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