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

Subject: Awakening (2010 Scenario) Two-player Report rss

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Christopher O
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Summer grasses / All that remains / Of soldiers' dreams. - Basho.
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Being a big fan of the original Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?, pulling the trigger on Labyrinth: The Awakening, 2010 – ? was a no brainer.

I know that Twilight Struggle gets more attention and more accolades, but I'd rather play Labyrinth any day over Twilight Struggle.

So, it was with some excitement that I managed to schedule a date to play The Awakening expansion with my usual Labyrinth partner, Shane B.

We set up the game, reviewed the new rules and changes (they're pretty significant) and away we went. Due to what I imagined would be the added complexity of dealing with the Caliphate rules, I volunteered to take the Jihadists, which was convenient, since Shane had taken the Jihadists last time.

I picked up my first hand which was almost all US and neutral, but I had one big 3 OP card - "ISIS". Gah. That's a great card for the Jihadists, but getting it so soon in the game, especially when Iraq is still an ally and I haven't had a chance to build up cells there or in Syria, it was a challenge to play - play it, and risk losing civil wars in both locations quickly, or pass it up and run the risk of waiting a long time to get a similar card. In the end I played it, and the Caliphate was born.

Things immediately heated up in Iraq for the next few turns, with both of us spending ops to recuit/deploy and do plots there. Attrition was high in Iraq due to the presence of troops, so I tried to manoeuvre card play so that I could make it neutral again, which I eventually did. Unfortunately he quickly changed it back.

Elsewhere, there was another civil war in Yemen, but not much Awakening/Reaction play, mostly due to lack of cards which could push a state into the critical +2/-2 tipping point.

NATO was deployed to Yemen, and I foolishly failed to bury a Advisors card with a plot, so advisors hit the ground in neutral Syria.

Fortunately, a lot of other events were going my way, and testing new Muslim countries was netting me a lot of Poor governments.

Mid-game, a series of great plays whittled my funding down to virtually nothing and I was unable to recruit to stop the relentless attrition in Syria and Iraq. I was going to start to lose there, big time.

With a Hail Mary, I played "JV / Copycat" and placed a plot in the States. To my joy, Shane had failed to keep a 3 OP card in reserve (or he didn't have one) and the plot went off, topping up my funding to 9 just at the right moment.

The grind continued in Iraq and Syria, but it became evident that even though I was winning on Poor Countries, he would eventually get the upper hand in Iraq and Syria. I started looking for other ways to win, but it was probably too late. He managed to get Afghanistan to Good governance which meant he could pull out troops to redeploy to Iraq. Desperate, I played "Coup" in Afghanistan, which gave me brief hope that I could prolong the conflict there, but he managed to effectively reverse that result with deft card play in the same turn.

It wasn't all grim for the Jihadists - a long and careful campaign of Awakening begun in Pakistan by the play of "Three Cups of Tea" that had culminated in a Good government there was dashed by the play of "Change of State", resetting it to zero again.

We had started a bit late and with the set-up and the extra rules explanation, we were running out of time. It was evident that with my funding back up, I could keep feeding cells into the grinder of Syria and Iraq, but I was looking for other opportunities by playing "Iraq" elections, hoping to eventually use reaction to tip it into a Islamic State.

Sadly it became evident that we wouldn't finish at a reasonable hour, and we called it quits. The US was starting to get the upper hand, but we determined after cleaning up I had a number of high op Jihadist event cards coming up in the 20 or so cards remaining.

I heartily enjoyed the game. It was absolutely gripping from start to finish (my opponent commented, "I didn't feel at all tired until the game finished, and then it just hit me all at once. I didn't notice because I was so engaged") and the new Awakening/Reaction and Civil War mechanics gave it a fresh new feel. It does feel on first play that the new mechanics also have the potential to draw out the game a little longer than the two hours we usually manage to knock off a game inside, but maybe that's just unfamiliarity.

Many thanks to my opponent, Shane, and the designer of the expansion, Trevor Bender, for providing such a great update to an already terrific game.





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Trevor Bender
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Thanks Chris for the AAR on the base 2010 scenario in Awakening. Looks like you and Shane both found the new mechanics and cards engaging, and glad to see you felt the tension from the first draw of cards until the end!

If your time is running short, I would recommend the "Arab Spring" Scenario next time, which seeds some of the historical cards into the first or second half of the deck depending on when they occurred over the last five years, and which can be played in one pass-through of the deck (7 turns).

Again, glad you found the story both engaging and challenging...it was fun to see all the back and forth changes in initiative as you described!
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Christopher O
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Summer grasses / All that remains / Of soldiers' dreams. - Basho.
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trevorbender wrote:
Thanks Chris for the AAR on the base 2010 scenario in Awakening. Looks like you and Shane both found the new mechanics and cards engaging, and glad to see you felt the tension from the first draw of cards until the end!

If your time is running short, I would recommend the "Arab Spring" Scenario next time, which seeds some of the historical cards into the first or second half of the deck depending on when they occurred over the last five years, and which can be played in one pass-through of the deck (7 turns).

Again, glad you found the story both engaging and challenging...it was fun to see all the back and forth changes in initiative as you described!


Getting an opportunity to play again on Thursday, so we'll try "Arab Spring" out, per your suggestion!
 
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