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

Subject: Is this game for me? rss

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Rafał B
Poland
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Hi.
I was considering buying labirynth but i wanted to ask a few questions before doing so. I read some reviews, but they did not go into details which i'm interested in.
So:
1. Does this game have some "depth"? I mean after getting familiar with it, is it obvious which move is the best one? Does it provide more than "one aproach" to sittuation on each situation on map? Of course i do not refer to "possible moves" but to "viable moves".
2. I have never played any card driven nor the wargame. Is this game okay for non-familiar player/players with such a machanic/genre? I do know that it is a really vague question but what should i dislike/like to enjoy this kind of game?
Thanks for any help.
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Cdr Jameson
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Posting to the Labyrinth forums is probably going to give the answer you receive a more labyrinth-friendly bias...

I think the base is a very good card driven games, similar to Twilight Struggle but with different dice mechanics for each team giving just about the right level of randomness; i.e. you can't completely determine the outcomes of your actions until you've rolled the dice.

The available actions are fairly limited but because of the dice even a unlikely success move in a bad situation could merit consideration. There is meaningful decisions on both side.

This game doesn't really feel like a game, in a good way, more of an education into the current geo-political-ideological differences between Jihadist doctrine and Western/US attitudes. I am continually impressed by how the cards events play out in the game and echo, more often than not, events in the real world. Also I don't feel that the game trivialises the situation or belittles the current efforts.

That being said the expansion makes this good game into a brilliant game.
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Bobby Ramsey
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Ahm3dpl wrote:
Hi.
I was considering buying labirynth but i wanted to ask a few questions before doing so. I read some reviews, but they did not go into details which i'm interested in.
So:
1. Does this game have some "depth"? I mean after getting familiar with it, is it obvious which move is the best one? Does it provide more than "one aproach" to sittuation on each situation on map? Of course i do not refer to "possible moves" but to "viable moves".
2. I have never played any card driven nor the wargame. Is this game okay for non-familiar player/players with such a machanic/genre? I do know that it is a really vague question but what should i dislike/like to enjoy this kind of game?
Thanks for any help.


1. Yes. There is some depth there. With each card it feels like lots of things you need to do, but which do you choose? Definitely not obvious (at least not to me after several games).

2. ``Shut Up and Sit Down" posted a video review of Labyrinth a while ago. I recall it being a well-done and thorough overview from a ``non-wargamer" perspective, and gave the game high marks. I would definitely give it a watch.

Edit: To be clear, I am talking about just the base game. Haven't tried the expansion.
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Mark Yang
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Hi Rafal,

1.
Yes this game has a good amount of depth. You will have a fair amount of viable options to give you something to think about during your decision making process. Sometimes, however, you may be in a situation where you have very little choice but to perform a certain action because not doing so would allow your opponent to take a major advantage. Much like a game of Chess in some ways. This game provokes thought, future planning, nimble reaction, and some risk taking.

2.
I bought and played Labyrinth before I played war games. It may be a bit daunting the first time you flip through the rulebook but after reading through it once and then reading the playbook and playing along the first few moves, you will grasp it. It's not an overly complex game, and the player aids are great.

You should have some interest in the genre and historic context of this game. Otherwise you may be bored.

Another thing a non-Wargamer may need to overcome is the fact that there aren't any fancy miniatures or cool illustrations / artwork. The components are cubes and cardboard counters. Many of my friends think the game looks boring, but in reality this is one of my top 5 favourite games and I have exciting game play each time.

Finally, please don't feel the need to get the expansion just yet. The base game is already a mouthful to take in. I've had the expansion for a few months but have yet to even try it yet. I'm still very happy with the base game.

Enjoy!
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David E
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There is a lot of depth, though not in the same way that go or chess has depth. There is some randomness in Labyrinth, so it's rare that you have a single "best move." Sometimes you have obvious moves and less obvious moves, and often you have to choose between the sure play that will give you a small advantage and the risky play that will give you a huge advantage.

One thing to be aware of with card driven games is that familiarity with the deck is important for expert play. That is, knowing that there is the possibility of your opponent having such-and-such a card that could reverse what you are about to do, or allow him a possibly game-winning move if you don't preemptively block it (and how many such cards are in the deck) will give you a big advantage in planning your moves.
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Christian van Someren
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Hi Rafal, I think the other answers here are quite good, but I'll just add my thoughts.

1. I think the game has lots of depth. As the Jihadist, you can really follow different strategies each game: Do you try to flip some rich oil countries in the Middle East or do you try to spread Islamic Rule throughout northern Africa? Or maybe you forget all that and try to set off a nuke in the US. The 3 possible victory conditions for the Jihadist player are all viable to pursue.

As the US, I feel that you play a more reactionary game, but you often have to choose between which fires you're going to put out, and this is not always clear. Do I allow a terrorist plot to go off in Great Britain or do I give one more push in Pakistan to make them my ally? I feel the US victory conditions are really more of a timer, they will always succeed in the long run, but they have to make sure that the Jihadist doesn't sneak in a win in the meantime.

The expansion, IMO, adds to this immensely, giving the US the option of a more hands-off war, and the Jihadist the option of more direct conflict.

2. The card play in Labyrinth is pretty straightforward, the difficulty comes in that each side is played completely differently, and it can be tricky at first to see the consequences of your actions. Having said that, I think you would enjoy this game is you enjoy logistical puzzles, making hard choices, and anything with a grand strategic scope / sweep of history feel. I think something like Twilight Struggle might be easier to start with, but Labyrinth does have the big advantage of being solitaire friendly.
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Darin Bolyard
United States
Oak Grove
Missouri
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Non-wargamer here. I try to keep my collection to just those games I love and really want to play (aside from those that belong to my kids). And I can't see a day when I'd part with this one. Labyrinth has plenty of depth. I think it's fair to call it a brain-burner even. And it is very daunting to learn at first. You essentially have to learn two games, as each side plays quite differently. I'd never played Twilight Struggle, and so Labyrinth wasn't at all intuitive to me at first. Learning is definitely made easier by following the playbook. But I'd also reccommend finding one or more playthrough videos on Youtube.
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Den Ell

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In actuality, the viable options open to any player are those 120 cards. And even then 'not limited' individually to any single card, because 'during your decision making process'; which usually occurs after being dealt your hand for the turn; you'll definitely want to study each and every card in your hand and what it in conjunction with the other cards you have, may do for you or your opponent. And those options are as myriad as there are combinations for those shuffled 120 cards, not to mention the 'situation' on the map at that time. The secret here are - those Cards. Get to know what they are and what they do. Learn that, and you've learned 95% of the game. It's like some have said, a "Chess game", only on card steroids. Instead of having to learn what 6 pieces on your side can do. You have to learn what's on all 120 cards and know what they can or can not do on any given board situation at any given moment in time. No small task for anyone.

Does the above provoke future planning? Deep Thought?, On the spot reaction? Taking acceptable Risk? If it doesn't then Volko clearly didn't know what he was doing. It does all of those and much more.

I own this one of Volko's and Fire in the Lake. Both excellent for On the spot reaction, Deep thought, and if you don't plan for future moves, and taking acceptable risk - you won't win, trust me! As one of the fella's said, "knowing that there is the possibility of your opponent having such-and-such a card that could reverse what you are about to do, or allow him a possibly game-winning move if you don't preemptively block it (and how many such cards are in the deck) will give you a big advantage in planning your moves."

And there will be enough frustration, at times - (well about 66% of the time anyway), as whether you should go for the win with a clever diplomatic move or instead if that might fail, maybe try to block that jihadist move in Pakistan to push just one more cell into that country and by doing so force it into a Major jihad and if successful, pushing it into Islamic Rule; Thus spreading Nukes into their arsenal.

The card play in Labyrinth isn't very straightforward until you learn what those cards do. And it makes it all the more difficult a learning experience if you don't use the solo charts and try that option out early on to get the feel for the game. Using that solo chart, ie. solo play, is a must to learn this game.

I do hope you choose to try it, I don't think you'll regret it.
Good luck & best wishes.
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Mike Richardson
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I would pretty much concur with everything said so far. I got the game two weeks ago and am learning to play myself.

One thing I would add: while you are learning to play the US I would recommend the excellent computerized AI written by Mike Houser.

It is basically a python scripted computer version of the game's Jihadist flowcharts.

This lets you focus on strategy without having to worry about the slightly fiddly solitaire rules.

http://robotgamesquad.com/lwotai/

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Mark Yang
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gasha1 wrote:
One thing I would add: while you are learning to play the US I would recommend the excellent computerized AI written by Mike Houser.

http://robotgamesquad.com/lwotai/


Cool! I'm going to give this a try. One thing I want to point out is that I couldn't figure out how to run the script using the latest Python version 3 software, but got it working using the version 2 legacy software. Just a simple matter of double-clicking the lwotai.py file.
 
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