Labyrinth with expansion
I’ve now played 3 games of Labyrinth with the C3i expansion (“Strong Horse and Zakat”). Unlike the US’s atrocious record pre-expansion, the US is now 3-0. To be sure, I took the US all three times against new players, but that’s because I expected to be taking the harder side. The Strong Horse (“Reset prestige to 6. If the game goes to VPs, you suffer a penalty for having spent that.”) is just a game changer. Twice I’ve had the inevitable plummet to 1 prestige and used Strong Horse to jump back into the game and then auto-win quickly (in a turn or two).
And neither of my opponents really enjoyed the game. The jihadists don’t have much control. I’ve enjoyed it when I played, but then again when I played the Jihadists there were on a seven game winning streak. Fatalism is more fun when you keep winning.
Labyrinth has luck, but the main thing (I keep telling myself) is playing the cards. Perhaps I’m blinded … most of my opponents have given up on the game. We’ll see.
Update — I won as Jihadists (new player) by VP in a one deck game, but if we’d reshuffled I had a nearly certain auto-win (US at 1 prestige with 14 poor/Islamic Rule countries on the board). The US (as always) suffered a prestige drop and then Strong Horsed back to 6, and was looking good at 5 Good resources to my 2 (counting my unspent Zakat). The US got to Very High prestige, but I pounded it back down with cards and then managed to get the Gulf States from a Good Ally to Poor in one turn (then Islamic Rule in the next). Once that happened things started snowballing quickly.
I did get a good run of Power Neutral cards (Bin Laden, KSM, Oil Spike), which I think is a significant flaw in the game (as I’ve said before), but the US player had pretty decent prestige rolls, and both regime changes went straight to fair. Still, I think I had better overall luck, although I’m not sure significantly more….