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

Subject: Excellent wargame experience! rss

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oystein eker
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Labyrinth was not on my wishlist at all – but picked up a used copy a couple of weeks ago.

How can you play a game of an ongoing war?

There are people who do not want to play games with war and violence. Even not playing Agricola because of the “eating animals” theme, or playing Puerto Rico because the immigrant workers are probably slaves. Agree or not agree, we must respect this standpoint.

But there are not so mature gamers who do not want to play the bad guys. Refuse to play aliens, but the Space Marines. Refuse to play the orcs, but the humans. And of course not the Axis, but the Allies. Hopefully they will change their mind with experience in wargames.

A level up in this string of thoughts you find real life evil units such as nazi SS units. This can be even worse to accept in a game. But you have to accept that historically a SS armor unit was situated at a certain place at a certain time during WWII. You just have to put the ideology aside and concentrate on a few facts such as fire power of the Tiger tank, and play the game from there.

Usually a war must fade away almost a generation to let it be the backdrop for entertainment. But luckily board wargaming is much more than pure fun. The existence of Labyrinth proves that.

Even Norwegian soldiers are killed today and will be killed tomorrow for the ongoing fight for freedom, so I had to analyze terrorism first to enjoy Labyrinth.

The neutral definition of global terrorism:

Terrorism is a way to illegally influence a government by not using regular military force.

Add nothing more. Within this framework you can play the Jihad side, and really enjoy it!
Fortunately the event card text reflects and supports this neutral approach to all events. We all know too well real life tragedies behind some of the events. This mix between dry info and your own knowledge makes Labyrinth a wonderful experience in contemporary global politics and conflict.

Components.
Are even better than the standard high quality GMT components. Board is rock steady. Design is excellent. Easy to see and place components on the board. You count colors for VP. Again easy to see and control.

Learning the game.
I did a quick browse through the rules first, and had no idea of the game. Read the rules again. But just a big - ?. The rules are very well done, but there are different rules for each player, sharing a few common pieces on the board. And with no frontlines or usual wargaming stuff like conquest this game was really new to me.
I jumped straight to the Playbook and played along the examples. Watched some excellent videos here at BGG. And then played the examples once more, continued a few turns …. Then the game snaps together instantly. Guys: THIS IS REALLY AN EASY GAME!

Analysis Paralysis.
Very little. You play your chunk of cards. Often the sequence does not matter. And there are no bad fatal decisions to make. This game plays fast.

Strategy and tactics.
Although the goal in a global game is based on strategy – this is a tactical game. With your hand of cards sometimes you go for resources, next time government. It depends on your hand. It is hard to pick a strategy and stick to it through the whole game.

Luck.
There is luck in this game. And it must be. As the US player you are in charge of fighting terrorism. You have no control over US election. Maybe you end up with a soft president while you are fighting the hard way. In a tight game you must accept that you may lose the game due to the election is not going your way. As in real life you cannot influence the election.
The same goes with international reaction to your military operations. Sending troops to Somalia. How will the world react to that? You do not know. Maybe the world may just ignore it, agree, or the reaction may be furious and send your prestige down into the dark.
In short: Luck is a part in a wargame simulation. Labyrinth is not a euro game. You play it for the experience and the story you are creating, not winning.

Final.
Have not tried the 1 player solitaire, but it is fun to play 2 player solo. And of course it is a blast FtF normal game.

Conclusion.
Easy and quick game flow.
A full wargame experience you can easily play in an evening.
I cannot remember last time I lost that badly and still had that much fun!
Highly recommended. Cannot find any negative about Labyrinth.
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Joey Konyha
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The part of this game I enjoy is that the two sides play completely differently, mechanics wise.
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Cracky McCracken
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Cool review! I slightly disagree with this one bit though. I think as you keep playing Lab, card combos will start to reveal themselves, and timing becomes very important.

Quote:
Analysis Paralysis.
Very little. You play your chunk of cards. Often the sequence does not matter. And there are no bad fatal decisions to make. This game plays fast.


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Troy Creamer
United States
Arlington Heights
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Great review very similar to my experience with the game. I loved the game too and agree you play this game for an experience and i too thought the luck was so integrated with the theme i actually appreciated it. I was amazed at how thematic the game is and how the mechanics really bring out the theme of the game and are tied soooo closely.
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Richard Hecker
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The game is also enhanced in playing against an opponent whose political views differ from your own. The cards end up being triggers to conversations. Nothing to fear in this game, and one may learn something too.

(I have my reservations on the game as a simulation, but as a game it is a superb experience.)
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Greg S
United States
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I've had this game for a while now, but have been afraid to "take the plunge" as I am not overly familiar with CDG games.

I'll go for it now!
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Joey Konyha
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Hamster007 wrote:
The game is also enhanced in playing against an opponent whose political views differ from your own. The cards end up being triggers to conversations. Nothing to fear in this game, and one may learn something too.

(I have my reservations on the game as a simulation, but as a game it is a superb experience.)


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Tim Royal
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essayons7 wrote:
I've had this game for a while now, but have been afraid to "take the plunge" as I am not overly familiar with CDG games.

I'll go for it now!


I've had a similar situation. It's been on my shelf but haven't been able to dive in and learn this...

Quote:
And there are no bad fatal decisions to make.


Really? This seems odd in a game about war and terror. Maybe I'm misunderstanding.
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oystein eker
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Quote:
And there are no bad fatal decisions to make.


Quote:
Really? This seems odd in a game about war and terror. Maybe I'm misunderstanding.


There is no " OOOoops -forgot -to - blow up - the Arnhem - Bridge" moment that ruin the game.

With the two exceptions of leaving plot a unchecked in US - or leaving your last cell active. But it is rather obvious.
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Tim Royal
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Ah, ok. Now it makes sense to me. Thanks for the reply.
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Freddy Dekker
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You get to blow up Arnhem bridge?
Wow, I wasn't aware the Netherlands played a part in this...
 
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