Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wargaming with Moral Queasiness

Greetings. I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and keeping warm with good games by a roaring fire... or at least a roaring LCD screen.

One game I've been snuggling up to is GMT's new Labyrinth. This game is essentially an unofficial sequel to GMT's previous Twilight Struggle game. The new game borrows many of the same key mechanics but with a healthy layer or two of extra chrome. For instance, there are now actual military units moving around on the board. Each country not only has a modifiable influence value but now also stability can be changed (aka regime change). Each side has different choices / mechanics with on which to burn operations points. So... a bit more complexity, but in my opinion, good, thematic complexity.

One issue that is tough to wrestle with is the uneasiness one experiences when playing the Jihadist side. For instance, the autovictory condition for this side is to successfully set off a WMD on US soil. Hooray. This is certainly a thought provoking game, but I can't remember ever having played one so directly dealing with the ugliness of attacking civilians.

Perhaps thankfully the game comes with a fully developed solitaire version where you're playing the USA vs. an evil AI Jihadist opponenet. I haven't fully digested how the AI system works, but I'll report back soon.

What else is new?

Lot's of WoW getting played. Thanks to Michael and Chris for the continual gifts of gold pieces and tough to find crafting components keeping me zipping along towards the Level 80 end game. I actually started having WoW dreams last night, so I'm officially taking a break for a day or two. Bad sign.

I figured out that Cool Stuff Inc. will ship card sleeves in bulk to you via USPS first class mail, making their already cheap prices even cheaper. No tax; 35% off retail; and $0.99 shipping makes the transaction quite a deal, especially given that the latest Thunderstone expansion consumed around 350 sleeves.

Netflix is awesome. Unfortunately I now seem to be compelled to put a Netflix-enabled device on every TV. Netflix is now officially a part of the Axis of Evil. Okay... sorry.... Channeling Labyrinth again there for a moment.

Bye for now. Off to find some egg nog!

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At 7:45 PM, November 19, 2010, Blogger Brian said...

I feel zero quandry playing Labyrinth, no matter which side I'm on. (US, Jihadi, or David Bowie). Or at least, I would. If I had a copy.

At 10:56 AM, November 20, 2010, Blogger Rob said...

If I had a million dollars...

At 6:35 PM, November 20, 2010, Blogger Mark said...

It's just a game. Besides, it is wise to know the ways of your enemies.

Be sure to post some session reports and/or reviews. I have been interested in this one.

At 7:08 PM, November 20, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

I will be doing at least a couple run throughs of the solo version this week, then I'll post some session reports.

I suppose the queasiness is sort of like the feeling I get when I blast away at American soldiers in Modern Warfare on the X-Box. Just a game, but it still gives me pause.

At 3:23 PM, December 22, 2010, Blogger Fred said...

Consider it not a war against the US, but a war against the cartoon version of the US as thuggish warmongers who think invading Iraq and Syria and pushing through the Patriot Act and militarizing our borders are great ideas. The rational side of US policymaking is not particularly well represented.

The jihadis are equally cartoonish, with a propensity to randomly blow themselves up and an incredibly strong ability to knock over fairly wealthy governments (it's just as easy to take over Egypt as say Somalia) and the gameplay has some dubious scenarios (last game saw a successful jihadi naval invasion of Indonesia from Pakistan -- good luck with that in the real world!)

Treat it like Fortress America, basically.


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