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Labyrinth: The Awakening, 2010 – ?» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Worth it for the solo play alone rss

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Paul Batey
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My experience with the unexpanded game is only a few duo and solo games, so take this review with some lattitude! Also, I have no emotional attachment to events that would have impinged on my enjoyment. Your mileage may vary! I'm also not a big COIN type player, the nearest other game I have is Twilight Struggle, and that's about it. I'm also not going to explain all the rules...

LWOT was an interesting game, but depending on the run of cards and dice rolls could end quite abruptly, or get bogged down. The solo bot was cool, but a bit ho hum after a few plays. That being said, I do enjoy it, and ordering this expansion on the P500 was a no brainer for me.

I've just finished my first solo game and here's some thoughts:

First off, you can play as either the US or the Jihadists, that alone makes this worth buying for a solo player. The bots work well and are more sophisticated, I particularly liked the US alert decision making. A nice bit of dice rolling under certain circumstances, but not too wacky either.

The addition of militia really freed up the flow for the US and opened up the board. Although they cannot be deployed as such, they can disrupt, and can contribute to a civil war victory (see below) and governance change to Good. This adds an option other than WOI or the US going soft to get out of a regime change country. But it didn't free them up enough to turn it into a mindless chase around the board. Perhaps the cards and influence markers have been balanced to stop too much flip flopping, however it was done, it worked.

Civil war added bumps and thrills. Got that country stitched up? Mrraahahaha!!!! More to consider as you're playing, it made it feel a bit like a scoring card from Twilight Struggle in some ways. When civil war is declared, the US and Jihad scrap it out at the end of each turn, counters may be lost, and governance can change.

Speaking of TS, Awakening (US) and Reaction (Jihad) markers act like influence markers, again this adds a nice bit of variety and adds extra torture when choosing to play a card for the OPS or events. Take your eye off them and after a few turns, a country can swing away from you.

As civil war and the influence markers have the biggest effect at the end of a hand of cards, you do have time to set them up, or counter them. It was cool to have an extra play option above spending points or using events.

The caliphate addition (almost like declaring an Islamist superstate) didn't seem to play much of a role in this game I had so I can't really comment on it.

There are a couple of additional countries (Nigeria and Mali), as well as updated reflections of Iran and Syria. The cards are easy to follow and nasty (or super duper) as usual, the rule book is clear.

I played as the Jihadists, the game was tight and both sides had the upper hand at various points. Near the end of the deck, the US had just freed up troops and on the next hand would have wiped out an Islamic Regime. So ordinarily I would have been up the creek. But, good old Egypt swung my way because of influence markers at the end of the hand, landing me victory.

It's a cracking expansion, it stays in the box. If you liked LWOT, this adds good variety in gameplay, just buy it.

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Trevor Bender
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Paul,

Thanks for the Review. I really appreciate the comparisons to Twilight Struggle. Through the Polarization and Civil War end-of-turn checks, I tried to create the urgency and tension of the TS scoring cards, and it looks like we have succeed in doing that in the Awakening expansion. I also wanted to concentrate that excitement and balance in one pass-through of the deck (7 Turns), which I think we have achieved in the Arab Spring scenario.

All of the credit for the BOTS goes to Adam Zahm, who did a fantastic job tweaking them real-time as we finished up the design and development process, and making the BOTS retroactive back to base game Labyrinth as well.

Trevor
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B Hanly
Ireland
Chunga Empire
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Just bought it and it will b delivered in the next day or so.

Does any1 know if there is an AI app like the previous one for the Jihadis in LabWoT?
 
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Trevor Bender
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Yes, the AI app is being developed. See this thread for the latest details: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1696152/python-computerized...
 
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