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

Subject: I LOVE Labyrinth but... is it broken? rss

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Piotr Wołoszun
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Hi guys,

as I mentioned I really love Labyrinth, I have GREAT time playing it, but...

I've accomplished 12 games so far, playing against 3 different opponents. In those 12 games US won exactly ONCE.

We've found that Minor Jihad(8.4.1) operation is useless. In most of our games Jihadist player used Plot(8.5) operation instead all the time(except for Major Jihad operation).

I'm loosing my faith. Is there any experienced US player, that can show me how to beat Jihadist player? Anyone who can play via VASSAL?
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Gianluca Spessato
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Search in the forum, under strategy or general. Some players have written useful hints for a better strategy in this game. But, definitely, it isn't broken, when you play with the necessary attention.
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Pete Martyn
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I'd bet good money that the answer is "No." It certainly hasn't been broken in my experience.

In those 12 games, what strategy has the Jihadist player been using to win the game? That would be helpful in figuring out a counter-strategy so that you can start seeing some US wins....
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Tim K
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No, Labyrinth is not broken. US is a challenge for noobs but eventually you get the hang of it. Minor jihads have their place. Remember, one must roll successfully twice, and avoid Alert, for a plot to degrade governance. Jihad success depends on one roll only.
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David
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I've played almost 50 games. Win rates for the US and Jihadists in my games are pretty close to 50/50. The jihadists have a slight edge (IMO), but it is definitely not game-breaking.
 
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Piotr Wołoszun
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the pete wrote:
I'd bet good money that the answer is "No." It certainly hasn't been broken in my experience.

In those 12 games, what strategy has the Jihadist player been using to win the game? That would be helpful in figuring out a counter-strategy so that you can start seeing some US wins....


Hi Pete,

usually Jihadist player:
- spreads for WMDs(Pakistan, Central Asia, Russia)
- heavily contends for Pakistan in order to perform Major Jihad
- has 1 IR country all the game, sometimes takes 2nd
- lowers US Prestige using: events and plots on troops
- worsens governments using: events and plots
- increases funding using: plots
- forces US player to loose actions and best cards using: plots

As you can see word "plot" occurs quit often, but it occurs MUCH MORE frequently on the board :|

In almost all games Jihadist player finally got WMDs.
About half of games finished with WMD blow in US, one game with 15 Poor+IR countries & 1 Prestige, a couple of games with 6 IR resources
 
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David
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pwoloszun wrote:

usually Jihadist player:
- spreads for WMDs(Pakistan, Central Asia, Russia)


Good strategy.

Quote:
- heavily contends for Pakistan in order to perform Major Jihad


Pakistan is usually a major battleground early in the game, and if the Jihadists succeed in flipping it, they are well on their way to winning. But the US player can and should make this difficult. Depending on cards, this can be go hard for either one. And if the Jihadists spread early everywhere else (to Central Asia and Russia) they will not be able to concentrate in Pakistan as easily, unless they got lucky with cards.

Quote:
- has 1 IR country all the game, sometimes takes 2nd


The US generally should not Regime Change Afghanistan early, unless they have a particularly good starting hand. But if the Jihadists get a second country to IR early, they either got very lucky or the US player is not playing very well.


Quote:
- lowers US Prestige using: events and plots on troops


This is standard jihadist strategy. As the US, if you find you're unable to keep your Prestige up, that's when it's a good time to start thinking about Regime Change.

Quote:
- worsens governments using: events and plots
- increases funding using: plots
- forces US player to loose actions and best cards using: plots


This is all standard strategy also. But you talk as if there is nothing the US can do about this. The US has plenty of cards to make the Jihadists' life difficult too. Swatting cells, flipping countries, playing cards to lower their Funding.

Quote:
In almost all games Jihadist player finally got WMDs.


Not unusual. That's when the US has to play cautiously.

Quote:
About half of games finished with WMD blow in US,


That surprises me. As the US, if the Jihadists have WMDs, then I am always watching for the possibility of a dash for the US followed by a Martyrdom Operation. Of course you have to make sure you are never without a response or a preventative measure.

You make the US sound very passive, and if the US is being played passively, in purely reactive mode, they will lose.
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Piotr Wołoszun
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htjester wrote:
No, Labyrinth is not broken. US is a challenge for noobs but eventually you get the hang of it. Minor jihads have their place. Remember, one must roll successfully twice, and avoid Alert, for a plot to degrade governance. Jihad success depends on one roll only.


Hi Tim,

You are right. BUT as a Jihadist player using 3OP Plot Operation:
1) I do NOT loose any cells only reveal them(or use already revealed)
2) I have 3 rolls, for example on Poor country I have 87.5% chance for AT LEAST 1 success, and 50% chance for AT LEAST 2 successful rolls

now if it is successful(odds are pretty good) then:

3) I will have between 3-7(!!) "Minor Jihad-like" rolls WITHOUT loosing cells
4) I will increase my funding
5) I might decrease US Prestige if Troops are present
6) I (indirectly)force US player to loose his most valuable cards AND his turn(which might be even worst)

I and my friends do not see any benefits in using Minor Jihad Op.
 
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Pete Martyn
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A few quick reactions to that, maybe applicable, maybe not:

I'm surprised to see so many WMD wins -- generally speaking, I've seen those pretty rarely and usually as a result of a fast-moving Jihadist combo like Clean Operatives + Martyrdom Operation. Unless the Jihadist can move things into place very quickly and then get lucky on the roll, disrupt disrupt disrupt before they have a chance. The other riskier option is to try and keep a 3-op card handy no matter what (or use reserves) and then alert any plot that gets placed in the US, which can cause the Jihadist to waste WMD.

If the US is at Soft, they can often win the Prestige game, at least for a while. They can use WOI on hard non-Muslim countries for a likely boost, and disrupt with troops for more. Meanwhile the Jihadist has to roll to successfully place plots, and then if any get placed there's still a chance to alert them. If you pivot to Soft posture early, it denies the ability to Regime Change, but it sounds like maybe you don't see a lot of those if there's generally an IR country or two on the board. I'm content to let the Jihadists have one if I can counter with a strong GWOT to balance out the prestige loss -- at that point I've usually got enough bonuses to WOI rolls that Muslim countries start improving faster than the Jihadist can tear them back down.

Plus, Regime Change opens up a whole bunch of nasty events and provides an easy opportunity to plot against troops. I think if anything I've seen new US players get themselves in trouble by initiating RCs without a solid plan for getting back out, but hey, that's what my country did too, so....

The things that your Jihadists players are doing are all good strategy but most of those pieces can either be directly countered or offset by gains elsewhere. And that's a long list of priorities, too -- the Jihadist will need either a lot of luck or a lot of time to get all those pieces into place. Meanwhile the US player should have their own strategy to work on. It's easy to fall into a reactive stance where you're just alerting plots and disrupting where convenient. Seize the initiative where you can and make those Jihadists respond to you!
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Pete Martyn
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pwoloszun wrote:
htjester wrote:
No, Labyrinth is not broken. US is a challenge for noobs but eventually you get the hang of it. Minor jihads have their place. Remember, one must roll successfully twice, and avoid Alert, for a plot to degrade governance. Jihad success depends on one roll only.


Hi Tim,

You are right. BUT as a Jihadist player using 3OP Plot Operation:
1) I do NOT loose any cells only reveal them(or use already revealed)
2) I have 3 rolls, for example on Poor country I have 87.5% chance for AT LEAST 1 success, and 50% chance for AT LEAST 2 successful rolls

now if it is successful(odds are pretty good) then:

3) I will have between 3-7(!!) "Minor Jihad-like" rolls WITHOUT loosing cells
4) I will increase my funding
5) I might decrease US Prestige if Troops are present
6) I (indirectly)force US player to loose his most valuable cards AND his turn(which might be even worst)

I and my friends do not see any benefits in using Minor Jihad Op.


I'll generally let a Jihadist player plot to their heart's content in a Poor Muslim country. The governance isn't going to get any worse, and the funding gains are minimal. It's tempting to interfere if troops are in the line of fire, and there are times that I would alert those plots, but generally if a Jihadist is focused on a Poor country I'll usually do one of two other things:

1. Disrupt instead of Alerting. I get some Prestige to offset the loss (and if a Jihadist is targeting a Poor Muslim country without troops, then... I'm probably good with it.) And more importantly, I'm keeping them away from what I really fear, which is the Jihadist getting the critical mass necessary for a Major Jihad (or exporting Jihadists to a nearby country for the same.)

2. Ignore the plots and go do something else. Use the 3-op card in a country nowhere near the Jihadists and hopefully get someone up to Fair -- makes my future plays in that country easier while making it tougher for the Jihadist to interfere.
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Piotr Wołoszun
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:


[...]

Quote:
- worsens governments using: events and plots
- increases funding using: plots
- forces US player to loose actions and best cards using: plots


This is all standard strategy also. But you talk as if there is nothing the US can do about this. The US has plenty of cards to make the Jihadists' life difficult too. Swatting cells, flipping countries, playing cards to lower their Funding.

Quote:
In almost all games Jihadist player finally got WMDs.


Not unusual. That's when the US has to play cautiously.

Quote:
About half of games finished with WMD blow in US,


That surprises me. As the US, if the Jihadists have WMDs, then I am always watching for the possibility of a dash for the US followed by a Martyrdom Operation. Of course you have to make sure you are never without a response or a preventative measure.

You make the US sound very passive, and if the US is being played passively, in purely reactive mode, they will lose.


Hi David,

in most cases I agree with you.
About funding track: I found it really important to lower it as much as possible BUT many of US events(especially those related to funding) have restrictions which frequently make them unplayable, which is really a really good for Jihadist player.

About planting WMD in USA it's not so hard. Once you have WMD, you only move to Philipines/Schengen/UK etc and wait for Martyr Card and situation in which US player does not have sufficient 3OP cards and then - good night.

How else can I make Jihadist player life difficult other than lucky draw from 120-card deck? Disrupt? I have to waste my whole round and probably 2 powerful cards in order to remove 2 cells(or even 1 in soft country). After that Jihadist uses 1 3OP card and gets them back.

As I have said - I need some experienced US player to kick my as and show me how wrong I am. I love this game so much that I'll be happy as hell once it happens.
 
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Piotr Wołoszun
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the pete wrote:
A few quick reactions to that, maybe applicable, maybe not:

I'm surprised to see so many WMD wins -- generally speaking, I've seen those pretty rarely and usually as a result of a fast-moving Jihadist combo like Clean Operatives + Martyrdom Operation. Unless the Jihadist can move things into place very quickly and then get lucky on the roll, disrupt disrupt disrupt before they have a chance. The other riskier option is to try and keep a 3-op card handy no matter what (or use reserves) and then alert any plot that gets placed in the US, which can cause the Jihadist to waste WMD.

If the US is at Soft, they can often win the Prestige game, at least for a while. They can use WOI on hard non-Muslim countries for a likely boost, and disrupt with troops for more. Meanwhile the Jihadist has to roll to successfully place plots, and then if any get placed there's still a chance to alert them. If you pivot to Soft posture early, it denies the ability to Regime Change, but it sounds like maybe you don't see a lot of those if there's generally an IR country or two on the board. I'm content to let the Jihadists have one if I can counter with a strong GWOT to balance out the prestige loss -- at that point I've usually got enough bonuses to WOI rolls that Muslim countries start improving faster than the Jihadist can tear them back down.

Plus, Regime Change opens up a whole bunch of nasty events and provides an easy opportunity to plot against troops. I think if anything I've seen new US players get themselves in trouble by initiating RCs without a solid plan for getting back out, but hey, that's what my country did too, so....

The things that your Jihadists players are doing are all good strategy but most of those pieces can either be directly countered or offset by gains elsewhere. And that's a long list of priorities, too -- the Jihadist will need either a lot of luck or a lot of time to get all those pieces into place. Meanwhile the US player should have their own strategy to work on. It's easy to fall into a reactive stance where you're just alerting plots and disrupting where convenient. Seize the initiative where you can and make those Jihadists respond to you!


Those are all good advice. Maybe I'll try to go Soft next time from the very begining. But I remember one game where I changed to Soft after 3rd attempt(6!! 3OP cards) only to get back to Hard because of Elections xD

The question is: how to take initiative other than by drawing most powerful cards in right time?
 
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Piotr Wołoszun
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the pete wrote:

I'll generally let a Jihadist player plot to their heart's content in a Poor Muslim country. The governance isn't going to get any worse, and the funding gains are minimal. It's tempting to interfere if troops are in the line of fire, and there are times that I would alert those plots, but generally if a Jihadist is focused on a Poor country I'll usually do one of two other things:

1. Disrupt instead of Alerting. I get some Prestige to offset the loss (and if a Jihadist is targeting a Poor Muslim country without troops, then... I'm probably good with it.) And more importantly, I'm keeping them away from what I really fear, which is the Jihadist getting the critical mass necessary for a Major Jihad (or exporting Jihadists to a nearby country for the same.)

2. Ignore the plots and go do something else. Use the 3-op card in a country nowhere near the Jihadists and hopefully get someone up to Fair -- makes my future plays in that country easier while making it tougher for the Jihadist to interfere.


You're right - I almost always ignore plots in poor countries so my example wasn't good enough.

The problem is that it's not unusual for Jihadist to use 10+ OP total in a Turn for plots in Fair and Good countries(especially in non-muslim). I know that odds(1/6, 1/3) are way worse BUT with 10+ rolls there is still a good chance to plant few bombs which I can't ignore.
 
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David
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pwoloszun wrote:
About planting WMD in USA it's not so hard. Once you have WMD, you only move to Philipines/Schengen/UK etc and wait for Martyr Card and situation in which US player does not have sufficient 3OP cards and then - good night.


As the US, you have to expect that. Which is why you Disrupt those cells moving into Schengen, use Patriot Act if you get a chance, and hold onto cards that will automatically remove plots. The advantage of the US is that you usually have a card advantage and you can always choose to go last. If you have to hold onto that precious 3Ops card until the end of the turn when the Jihadists are out of cards, that's what you do. Of course this can make life painful for you as you are forced to spend cards just fending off WMD attempts, but it is doable.

Labyrinth is a swingy game, and sometimes one of you will just have the perfect combo and there is not much the other player can do but take a beating. But usually there are mitigations for every situation.


Quote:
How else can I make Jihadist player life difficult other than lucky draw from 120-card deck? Disrupt? I have to waste my whole round and probably 2 powerful cards in order to remove 2 cells(or even 1 in soft country). After that Jihadist uses 1 3OP card and gets them back.


Just as you don't like using your big cards to Disrupt, the Jihadist player doesn't like using his big cards just to Recruit. He has lots of event cards to recruit cells, but you have lots of Special Forces and Predator cards and other events to remove cells. Again, sometimes you are just unlucky, but usually, both sides get about an equal number of cards that will screw over the other side.
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Stephen Aslett

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I’ve played base Labyrinth well over 100 times. In the one deck game I’d say there’s a slight Jihadist edge but it becomes balanced in the two deck game.

It sounds like you’re playing weak US players. While you always have to adapt what your opponent is doing, general good US strategy is as follows:

1) Don’t invade Afghanistan on turn one. It is almost never worth invading.
2) Consider going Soft early through US election if you have it or Reassesment so you can “reliably” lobby a country when you want to. Don’t go overboard on lobbying countries to Soft though. You’ll be in terrible position when you need to regime change or US election doesn’t go your way if played later. Ideally, you’ll want world soft 1 for the whole game. Lobby strategically.
3) Get Pakistan to ally as fast as you can. Once that’s done, move your Saudi or Gulf States troops (or troops off the track depending on cell threat) in to protect it. Then kill cells to increase prestige.
4) Reduce Jihadist funding when you can. You need card parity or advantage.
5) Don’t regime change unless Jihadists are threatening a win.
6) Always try to draw 9 cards by using 1 ops cards to move useless troops back home.
7) When cells start moving into countries that you can make ally, try to make them ally. If already ally, move two troops in there. You want to use minimal troops as a firewall against Jihadist spread. If Jihadist martyrdom operation or drop many plots, move them out before they pop (back home with 1 ops if necessary). They’ll get funding but you’ll maintain prestige.
8) Get Gulf States to good and use it to start getting adjacent countries to good. Get as many oil producers as you can to threaten an Oil Price Spike win.
9) Always save a 3 ops card. Don’t use it except under exceptional circumstances. You may not get a 3 ops next hand.
10) Play Patriot Act for the event with rare exceptions.
11) Alert cells in US immediately with rare exceptions. The only way you should ever lose via WMD is no Patriot Act and Clean Operatives + Martyrdom Operation on the Jihadist’s final two cards with no ops to counter. That should be a rare situation indeed.
12) If you can’t win with Oil Price Spike, it’s usually better to use a powerful card from the discard then play it for the 3 ops.
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Piotr Wołoszun
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saslett wrote:
I’ve played base Labyrinth well over 100 times. In the one deck game I’d say there’s a slight Jihadist edge but it becomes balanced in the two deck game.

It sounds like you’re playing weak US players. While you always have to adapt what your opponent is doing, general good US strategy is as follows:

1) Don’t invade Afghanistan on turn one. It is almost never worth invading.
2) Consider going Soft early through US election if you have it or Reassesment so you can “reliably” lobby a country when you want to. Don’t go overboard on lobbying countries to Soft though. You’ll be in terrible position when you need to regime change or US election doesn’t go your way if played later. Ideally, you’ll want world soft 1 for the whole game. Lobby strategically.
3) Get Pakistan to ally as fast as you can. Once that’s done, move your Saudi or Gulf States troops (or troops off the track depending on cell threat) in to protect it. Then kill cells to increase prestige.
4) Reduce Jihadist funding when you can. You need card parity or advantage.
5) Don’t regime change unless Jihadists are threatening a win.
6) Always try to draw 9 cards by using 1 ops cards to move useless troops back home.
7) When cells start moving into countries that you can make ally, try to make them ally. If already ally, move two troops in there. You want to use minimal troops as a firewall against Jihadist spread. If Jihadist martyrdom operation or drop many plots, move them out before they pop (back home with 1 ops if necessary). They’ll get funding but you’ll maintain prestige.
8) Get Gulf States to good and use it to start getting adjacent countries to good. Get as many oil producers as you can to threaten an Oil Price Spike win.
9) Always save a 3 ops card. Don’t use it except under exceptional circumstances. You may not get a 3 ops next hand.
10) Play Patriot Act for the event with rare exceptions.
11) Alert cells in US immediately with rare exceptions. The only way you should ever lose via WMD is no Patriot Act and Clean Operatives + Martyrdom Operation on the Jihadist’s final two cards with no ops to counter. That should be a rare situation indeed.
12) If you can’t win with Oil Price Spike, it’s usually better to use a powerful card from the discard then play it for the 3 ops.


Hello Stephen,

fully agree with everything. And still wining % for US is horribly low.
One thing which I might perform more frequently is going soft using Reassessment.

Ok guys I will assume that in those well over 150 plays:
- you have already encountered Jihadist player, who heavily used Plots and did not used Minor Jihad AND
- you have seen US win(s) against such an opponent

Thank you for your help and interesting discussion.
 
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pwoloszun wrote:

But I remember one game where I changed to Soft after 3rd attempt(6!! 3OP cards) only to get back to Hard because of Elections xD


Are you aware that in the case of Reassessment, you don't roll for Posture, but carry out the switch directly?
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Piotr Wołoszun
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Figo3434 wrote:
pwoloszun wrote:

But I remember one game where I changed to Soft after 3rd attempt(6!! 3OP cards) only to get back to Hard because of Elections xD


Are you aware that in the case of Reassessment, you don't roll for Posture, but carry out the switch directly?


Oh @!#% cry
 
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Marty Sample
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Um yeah , tossing all those 3 Op cards and missing die rolls you didn’t have to make may be skewing your results just a tad...
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Piotr Wołoszun
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Marty S wrote:
Um yeah , tossing all those 3 Op cards and missing die rolls you didn’t have to make may be skewing your results just a tad...


Yeah but it was just 1 game.

On the other hand so far I did not make too many Reassassment Op because of my mistake. Ok, I will let you know about results of upcomming games

Once again thank you guys
 
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