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

Subject: Once Played, All Events Are Removed Variant rss

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wendigo song
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So now that I have the Awakening Expansion I have been debating trying a variant in where once a card is played for the event, the card is removed. The goal of this is just to be able to cycle through the decks faster and streamline gameplay. The thing is I'm not sure how this will affect balance or gameplay otherwise. Has anyone tried this type of variant? If so, what was your experience? If not, how do you think this would affect balance/gameplay based on your experiences?
 
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Tim K
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This would vastly change the game. Labyrinth has the two Oil Price Spike "dumpster-diving" cards. It would significantly blunt their effectiveness and much of the psychology of play. For example, in your variant the U.S. would be motivated to let all Martyrdom Operations trigger before the Jihadists secure a WMD. The constant threat of Martyrdom Operations is both thematic and realistic.

I want to ask though how long do your games go? We routinely complete a one-deck game in under three hours, and a two-deck game is less than twice as long because there are so many cards that get culled anyway. Labyrinth is the fastest-playing CDG I know, and I've played countless numbers of CDGs. Quickening the pace is the least of my concerns.
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Randy C
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I will argue with you Tim on your reference to "fastest-playing CDG".

Wilderness War Tournament game takes 2 hours, 90 minutes with "fast players".

You have heard me refer to it as the best 90 minutes in war-gaming.

But I agree that Labyrinth is faster-playing.
 
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Tim K
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Hi, Randy. I play Labyrinth faster, you play Wilderness War faster (Annus Mirabilis scenario, of course). Those are two of the most fast, certainly.
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wendigo song
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htjester wrote:
This would vastly change the game.


Thank you for responding. You gave a few examples in this post. Since you have a lot of experience with the game could you give some more examples of ways that it would affect balance to just give me some food for thought.

htjester wrote:
Labyrinth has the two Oil Price Spike "dumpster-diving" cards.


I'm glad you mentioned these because I was thinking of them. In theory, wouldn't a player attempt to hold onto this card so they could play it in a situation that would benefit them most?

htjester wrote:
It would significantly blunt their effectiveness and much of the psychology of play.


I would appreciate some examples about how it would blunt the "psychology of play." I am not as experienced a player as you and some more insight from you on that might be helpful.

htjester wrote:
For example, in your variant the U.S. would be motivated to let all Martyrdom Operations trigger before the Jihadists secure a WMD. The constant threat of Martyrdom Operations is both thematic and realistic.


I agree with everything you are saying, but in this scenario the the jihadist player would also be in the same boat as far as gameplay where they would be motivated to let various US events trigger in situations that are not all that beneficial to that player. Am I missing something there?

htjester wrote:
I want to ask though how long do your games go? We routinely complete a one-deck game in under three hours, and a two-deck game is less than twice as long because there are so many cards that get culled anyway.


In general, it takes me longer. Over three hours for the first deck (maybe over by 20 minutes.) To me and most of the people I play with it is way too long, especially if we want to incorporate Awakening as well.

htjester wrote:
Labyrinth is the fastest-playing CDG I know, and I've played countless numbers of CDGs.


I'd say Twilight Struggle as well as 1960 play faster.

htjester wrote:
Quickening the pace is the least of my concerns.


Lets say it was one of your concerns, how would you quicken the pace so that the game could play in under 2 hours? And do me a favor, try to play devil's advocate on this one.
 
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Tim K
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Hi, wendigo,

harlemsushi wrote:
could you give some more examples of ways that it would affect balance to just give me some food for thought.


Musharraf playable only once is bad news for the U.S. There are events that can shift Pakistan, with its nuclear arsenal, to adversary. Musharraf's constant presence is essential for shifting Pakistan out of adversary. Even Bhutto doesn't shift alignment. Saddam playable only once significantly reduces the value of the Iraqi WMD card. Wahhabism playble only once significantly reduces any U.S. worries about Poor governance in Saudi Arabia. Enhanced Measuures, Renditions, and Wiretapping playable only once reduces the effectiveness of all three Leaks. All the grey al Qaedi leader cards playable only once removes the worry of the bad version of their potential effects. Sistani, Mass Turnout, and UN Nation Building playable only once makes closing out Regime Changes much tougher. Shall I continue? I'm only getting started.

harlemsushi wrote:
htjester wrote:
Labyrinth has the two Oil Price Spike "dumpster-diving" cards.


I'm glad you mentioned these because I was thinking of them. In theory, wouldn't a player attempt to hold onto this card so they could play it in a situation that would benefit them most?


Only the U.S. has the option to hold a card, and when I play the U.S. I often don't exercise it because the U.S. can't both hold a card and discard an unwanted green event. The latter option often is better than the former.

harlemsushi wrote:
I would appreciate some examples about how it would blunt the "psychology of play."


Hopefully the above examples give you some idea of what I mean about impacting the psychology of play.

harlemsushi wrote:
htjester wrote:
For example, in your variant the U.S. would be motivated to let all Martyrdom Operations trigger before the Jihadists secure a WMD. The constant threat of Martyrdom Operations is both thematic and realistic.


I agree with everything you are saying, but in this scenario the the jihadist player would also be in the same boat as far as gameplay where they would be motivated to let various US events trigger in situations that are not all that beneficial to that player. Am I missing something there?


Sure, but all the dynamics change. Even if it doesn't effect game balance (tough to say without playing your variant because of its significant impacts) it changes so much about how to approach Martyrdom Operations, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc., etc.

harlemsushi wrote:
Over three hours for the first deck (maybe over by 20 minutes.) To me and most of the people I play with it is way too long, especially if we want to incorporate Awakening as well.


Wait, the combined scenario of WoT and Awakening is once through each deck. There's little point in removing all played events; it won't speed play, just muck with the effectiveness of the OPS events.

harlemsushi wrote:
htjester wrote:
Labyrinth is the fastest-playing CDG I know, and I've played countless numbers of CDGs.


I'd say Twilight Struggle as well as 1960 play faster.


Can't respond to 1960; it's one I haven't played (very much would like to though). Regarding TS, YMMV. Among my gaming friends one-deck Labyrinth is much faster than TS. TS usually clocks in at 4-5 hours minumum

harlemsushi wrote:
htjester wrote:
Quickening the pace is the least of my concerns.


Lets say it was one of your concerns, how would you quicken the pace so that the game could play in under 2 hours? And do me a favor, try to play devil's advocate on this one.


Well, you clearly can play CDGs at a good pace. How do you manage that in TS? Why do you think Labyrinth slows you and your gaming buddies down? I get the impression you spend a lot of time considering two-card play combinations. In my experience that is a reason Labyrinth plays faster than TS. There are four to five rounds per turn in Labyrinth versus seven or eight in TS, plus the Headline News round. And a one-deck game of Labyrinth is seven turns versus TS's ten. Indeed, baffling to me how your duration experience differs so much from mine.
 
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wendigo song
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htjester wrote:
Hi, wendigo,


First off, thank you for your input. I wanted to ask some questions:

htjester wrote:
Musharraf playable only once is bad news for the U.S. There are events that can shift Pakistan, with its nuclear arsenal, to adversary. Musharraf's constant presence is essential for shifting Pakistan out of adversary. Even Bhutto doesn't shift alignment. Saddam playable only once significantly reduces the value of the Iraqi WMD card. Wahhabism playble only once significantly reduces any U.S. worries about Poor governance in Saudi Arabia. Enhanced Measuures, Renditions, and Wiretapping playable only once reduces the effectiveness of all three Leaks. All the grey al Qaedi leader cards playable only once removes the worry of the bad version of their potential effects. Sistani, Mass Turnout, and UN Nation Building playable only once makes closing out Regime Changes much tougher. Shall I continue? I'm only getting started.


So what is the net effect of all of these balance-wise? Would they in effect cancel each other out?

htjester wrote:
Only the U.S. has the option to hold a card, and when I play the U.S. I often don't exercise it because the U.S. can't both hold a card and discard an unwanted green event. The latter option often is better than the former.


Thank you for that reminder. Yet another rule that it seems I forgot about. But with that said, it seems like the event would be more random than planned. Is that necessarily a bad thing?

htjester wrote:
Hopefully the above examples give you some idea of what I mean about impacting the psychology of play.


To be honest, I'm still not sure what you mean by the term. Those were examples of how it would affect balance. At least that is the question I asked. Are you saying that the terms balance and psychology of play are the same thing?

htjester wrote:
Sure, but all the dynamics change. Even if it doesn't effect game balance (tough to say without playing your variant because of its significant impacts) it changes so much about how to approach Martyrdom Operations, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc., etc.


If you wouldn't mind giving the variant a try I would love to hear your opinion on gameplay.

htjester wrote:
Wait, the combined scenario of WoT and Awakening is once through each deck. There's little point in removing all played events; it won't speed play, just muck with the effectiveness of the OPS events.


Even if you are playing a game with more than one deck?

htjester wrote:
Can't respond to 1960; it's one I haven't played (very much would like to though). Regarding TS, YMMV. Among my gaming friends one-deck Labyrinth is much faster than TS. TS usually clocks in at 4-5 hours minumum


1960 is one of my favorite games. Try it if you get the chance. 4-5 hours in Twilight Struggle? Wow, that is a long time. My first game of that took about three hours, but me and my wife usually get to AR10 in a shade over 90 minutes (meaning 90 - 95.) To me Twilight Struggle plays faster, but perhaps my mileage varies.

htjester wrote:
Well, you clearly can play CDGs at a good pace. How do you manage that in TS?


My wife and I get really into the game and the mechanics are simple enough to allow for speedy gameplay. The only choices for cards are event, ops, coup, and realignment. And depending the DEFCON level, two of those may not be an option at the given time.

htjester wrote:
Why do you think Labyrinth slows you and your gaming buddies down? I get the impression you spend a lot of time considering two-card play combinations.


It may be unfamiliarity with the deck, but it is also that there are a lot more options in Labryinth that a player can take. The game has more depth and it has been translating into a longer playtime.

htjester wrote:
In my experience that is a reason Labyrinth plays faster than TS. There are four to five rounds per turn in Labyrinth versus seven or eight in TS, plus the Headline News round. And a one-deck game of Labyrinth is seven turns versus TS's ten.


Well the two-card play in my experience does not necessarily speed up turns, it just allocates the time spent for a turn differently.

htjester wrote:
Indeed, baffling to me how your duration experience differs so much from mine.


It is weird. As I said it may be deck familiarity as I am very familiar with both Twilight Struggle and 1960 and have played both a ton of times. I may speed up with Labrinth eventually, but I was just wondering what the experienc eof others was. If you get the chance, I would appreicate if you could try the variant as you experience would be valuable.
 
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Tim K
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harlemsushi wrote:
So what is the net effect of all of these balance-wise? Would they in effect cancel each other out?


I thought I said that your proposed variant impacts many, many, cards and it's difficult to assess the affect on play balance without playing the variant.

harlemsushi wrote:
htjester wrote:
Hopefully the above examples give you some idea of what I mean about impacting the psychology of play.


To be honest, I'm still not sure what you mean by the term. Those were examples of how it would affect balance. At least that is the question I asked. Are you saying that the terms balance and psychology of play are the same thing?


No. The rules as written create a certain mindset - constant vigilance regarding Martyrdom Operations, the premium importance of keeping the Jihadists from having a successful Major Jihad in Pakistan, being wary of Saddam's ability to immediately fill the Jihadist coffers, stuff like that. The variant impacts the mindset for these things and many others.

harlemsushi wrote:
If you wouldn't mind giving the variant a try I would love to hear your opinion on gameplay.


No thanks, I leave that exercise to you and others. I'm open-minded to house rules, but only when I think they address shortcomings. Labyrinth is one of my favorites games. All the variant would do is muck with one of my favorite games.

harlemsushi wrote:
htjester wrote:
Wait, the combined scenario of WoT and Awakening is once through each deck. There's little point in removing all played events; it won't speed play, just muck with the effectiveness of the OPS events.


Even if you are playing a game with more than one deck?


I think the one scenario in the expansion that uses both decks goes through each deck once.
 
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wendigo song
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htjester wrote:
I thought I said that your proposed variant impacts many, many, cards and it's difficult to assess the affect on play balance without playing the variant.


I thought what you said was: "This would vastly change the game." I was under the impression you were attempting to answer to what degree that would be. When you began stating various issues it might have, my questions became what would the net affect be balance-wise and whether or not these issues would cancel each other out if they affected both parties evenly. If you are stating that the change is so great that you cannot assess what the variant would do, then that is fine. I'm just looking for an opinion.

htjester wrote:
No. The rules as written create a certain mindset - constant vigilance regarding Martyrdom Operations, the premium importance of keeping the Jihadists from having a successful Major Jihad in Pakistan, being wary of Saddam's ability to immediately fill the Jihadist coffers, stuff like that. The variant impacts the mindset for these things and many others.


So you are saying that it changes the core strategy. Right?

htjester wrote:
No thanks, I leave that exercise to you and others. I'm open-minded to house rules, but only when I think they address shortcomings. Labyrinth is one of my favorites games. All the variant would do is muck with one of my favorite games.


You are under no obligation to play the game in a way you do not enjoy, I just figured I'd ask since your experience with the game would offer a unique perspective.

harlemsushi wrote:
I think the one scenario in the expansion that uses both decks goes through each deck once.


I think I may just have to bite the bullet and try them both. Familiarity with the deck will probably speed things up. If you ever do get a hankering to try something new just for giggles, please do and let me know what your experience is. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
 
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