Thursday, February 17, 2011

Labyrinth Diary, Vol 4

Turn 6:

Note: One bad Jihadist card in my hand, Kashmir, which I can avoid. The really good news is that I can dig out a card from the discards with Oil Price Spike. Otherwise, Special Forces is the only real event. So only one 3 to deal with plots…

J1: IEDs (J1). Unplayable. Travel to Gulf States from Iran, auto.

J2: Al-Anbar (J2). Place cell in Iraq. Not a big deal for me at all.

US1: Special Forces (US1). Remove cell in Gulf States, place Cadre.

US2: Hizb Ut-Tahrir (1). Disrupt cell in India (removed).

Note: Getting the cells off the board. The cells in UK and Italy are targeted next, but hopefully they will attempt plots to make them easier to get rid of.

J3: FATA (J3). Event. Cell in Pakistan (three now, but with two troops it will be a long slog to Major Jihad). However, I can no longer disrupt there, which was a great place to do it because of the troops.

J4: Euro-Islam (US2). Playable. Plot attempts in UK (fail) and Italy (fail). Guess I got what I was hoping for!

US3: Zarqawi (2). Disrupt cell in UK, removed.

US4: Anbar Awakening (US2). Disrupt cell in Italy, removed.

Note: Cadres are all over the place, but at least I’ve knocked them all back quite a bit. I’ve also hit my main goal for the turn, which was to clean up the really dangerous countries for plots and cells. Now I need to seriously consider whether or not to Reassess this turn. Let’s see what the Oil Price card brings…

J5: CTR (US1). Unplayable. Recruit in Somalia (auto).

J6: NEST (US1). Playable. Plot attempt in Yemen, fails.

US5: Oil Price Spike (3). I select US Election!

US6: US Election (3). US Posture stays Hard, unfortunately. No change to Prestige. Disrupt active cell in Yemen, place cadre.

Note: Such a great combo, but no love. I suppose I should have held it and used it for Reassessment instead. Oh well.

J7: Covert Action (US2). Playable. Plots in Pakistan, two cells go active. Both plots are successful.

J8: Iran (2). Event rolls Jihad in Turkey, both rolls fail. Recruit in Somalia, one success.

US7: Sharia (US2). WoI in Caucasus, Soft. No change.

US8: Leak (J3). WoI in Caucasus again. This time, Hard. GWOT track to Soft 2. Making headway again at last.

Plot Resolution in Pakistan: +2 Funding to 8.

US discards Kashmir.

End of Turn: -1 Funding to 7, no change to Prestige.

Note: A better turn for me, no question. I cleaned up the non-Muslim countries, and made a little headway in the GWOT. Next turn I plan to work on the Philippines and whatever other countries the cards indicate. Prestige is still a problem, but better to wait for it to be rolled and hope for a big bump. However, 13 Poor/Islamist countries it too many, but I need better mods before I can start to roll WoI in the Muslim world. I also need to knock down the funding, after forgetting about the plots.

Turn 7:

Note: Not a good hand. Most of the cards are Jihadist and while only Clean Operatives is really nasty, a lot place cells for few OPS. No US cards at all, and the three unassociated events only HAMAS is helpful. Also only one 3 card that’s playable. Fortunately, I’m in decent shape, and plan to use most of my cards for WoI plays to shift the GWOT. If that’s successful, I will be in good shape going into deck 2.

J1: Pirates (J2). Playable. This will make it harder to keep Funding under control, and will make Somalia a more likely Regime Change country if it comes to that.

J2: Abu Sayyaf (J2). Playable. I may be deploying troops there this turn, as I probably should in Turkey as well.

US1: Loose Nuke (J2). Unplayable, thankfully. I use this to deploy two troops to the Philippines.

US2: Ansar al-Islam (J1). Playable. Cell is randomly placed in Iran. With my OPS I choose to WoI in India, which stays soft.

Note: I would go for Reassessment if I had more 3 cards than 1 cards this turn. I have been ignoring the benefits of having troops on the board, and there is still one more pair I could deploy. My only ally right now, though, is Turkey, although my first choice would be Yemen.

J3: Renditions (US3). Playable. Plot (1) in Philippines (success), then randomly in Iran (fail) and Somalia (fail). All three cells go active, and marker placed in the Philippines, but the troops prevent the extra -1 Prestige penalty if I don’t block it.

J4: Hizballah (2). Playable. Lebanon would go to Poor Neutral, but it’s already there. Recruit in Somalia, then Afghanistan, both auto.

US 3: Uyghur Jihad (J1). Playable. Cell to Central Asia per event. I then try a Posture test in India again (success). Finally. GWOT to 0. Prestige +1 to 2.

US4: Darfur (3). Remove plot in Philippines.

Note: Hate to use my only playable 3 card for that, but not a lot of choices. I have finally gotten the GWOT to have no penalty, and I can start working on getting the Gulf States to Good Governance. With two 2 cards, I should be able to give this a couple of shots.

J5: Predator (US2). Playable. Plots in Philippines (fail) and Iran (success). Cells already active.

J6: Jemaah Islamiya (J2). Playable. Only one cell on the track, so second OPS is for radicalization, and that will be Travel. Indonesia tests Poor, Poor/Islam to 14 (getting a little scary here). Travel to Gulf States from Somalia (auto).

US6: Hamas Elected (1). Event. I discard Clean Operatives and reduce Funding -1 to 6, Prestige -1 to 1. This seems like a bad idea, but I’m going to lose the point anyway in the not too distant future. I may rethink this if a final Poor country shows up.

US7: Zawahiri (2). I take a swing at the Gulf States to try to get it to Good status (fail).

Plot in Iran: Funding +1 to 7.

Note: I am right on the edge here. I can’t try to WoI a Poor country, not enough OPS. I played HAMAS because Radicalization was going to place a plot that I was afraid would be a real problem (like the US), and this gives me the option to discard the card. However, it also gives the Jihadists three card plays before I can really respond, five if you count the next turn. I am on a tightrope…

J7: Wahhabism (J3). Funding to 9. Sigh. At least I won’t care about plots in Muslim countries.

J8: Opium (J2). Radicalization (3). First travels a cell to Gulf States from Pakistan (active). Second lowers Good/Fair governance in a Muslim country by one. That means the Gulf States and Turkey both go to Poor, and I lose the game because my Prestige is at 1 and there are 15 Poor/Islamist countries.

End of Game Notes: Well, that fell apart fast. Oddly, my biggest problem in this game was that I didn’t stay Soft for long. I’m not sure if changing my attitude would have helped by going for Regime Change, although that has it’s own issues. I was definitely happy to have troops in Pakistan, and I think that’s a no-brainer since it makes it that much harder for the Jihadists to travel there by the AI.

My practice of dumping J3 cards rather than playing them and suffering the events may be a contributing factor as well. Certainly my efforts to both bump up my Prestige and lower Jihadist funding was a contributing factor, although had I been able to keep the OPS recruiting down I could have survived the turn (it was Radicalization that did me in).

All in all, I consider this a failed experiment, seeing as I wanted to see how well I could do with a Soft posture. I think a concerted effort to Reassess would have been in my best interest when I had a good hand. I certainly spent a lot of time and failed effort trying to get to a GWOT Penalty of 0, and while I was successful, it was a long and painful journey without enough success to get my Prestige up. Had I not been using all of my 3 cards to stop Plots, I would have been able to do this more easily. Hard has it’s advantages, but if you aren’t going to go for Regime Change somewhere, it’s not in your best interest.

Still, a very entertaining game, and one I’m ready to try again soon with the same parameters (although I will not be keeping a diary).

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