One of the best-regarded modern conflict board games has come to steam with Labyrinth: The War on Terror. Designed by Volko Ruhnke, a former employee of the CIA, Labyrinth is a comprehensive game about the struggle between US-led counter-terror forces and extremists the world over. It covers a sprawling range of topics like world politics, terror attacks, and fundamentalist nations alongside more conventional military actions like regime change and guerilla warfare.
Ruhnke’s collaborations with GMT Games have been, for the last decade, some of the most sought-after wargames and conflict simulations to hit the tabletop. This overview in The Washington Post, from 2014, gives an idea of why: Players of Ruhnke’s games often find themselves sympathizing with, or at least understanding, extremists and foreign groups’ reasons for engaging in armed conflict. Ruhnke is especially known for his COIN series, named for the military jargon for counterinsurgency operations.
This is the first major release to come out of the partnership between GMT and Playdek that was announced in 2018. Playdek previously released Twilight Struggle, a superb game by former Firaxis XCOM designer Ananda Gupta. I’ll admit I’m rather disappointed they dropped the game’s full subtitle. Labyrinth is sold physically as Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?. Sometimes I like to get kind of depressed when I read my game shelf. You can find Labyrinth: The War on Terror in Early Access on Steam.