We have asked the designer of Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-? from GMT Games Trevor Bender to provide us with text of some of the proposed Event Cards in the expansion and also to give a short summary of the card’s historical background as well as their use in the game. This is the third of six Event Card Spoilers from the second expansion to Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-?. He will preview 2 cards each from the US, Jihadist and Unaligned portions of the deck over coming weeks. These cards have not been previewed elsewhere. We are very grateful for Trevor and his willingness to do this for us and for our readers. Thank you for your hard work Trevor on this great expansion!

In our 3rd Event Card Spoiler post regarding Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-?, we take a look at card #275 Operation Inherent Resolve. Please keep in mind that the artwork and layout of these cards is not yet finalized and is only for playtest purposes at this point. Also, as this political military simulation game is still in development, card details may still change prior to publication.

Note that the base game of Labyrinth has 120 cards in it, as do both The Awakening and The Forever War expansions, and that each card is individually numbered so they could be called out specifically from the now 360 card deck to form a variety of scenarios, as was done in the Labyrinth: Surge – The Way Forward [2007 Scenario] as published in C3i Magazine Nr31.

275. Operation Inherent Resolve

Our third card to be previewed is #275 Operation Inherent Resolve, shown below. Note the Labyrinth system is a game based on current events that are political and military in nature, and as such frequently covers topics that are sometimes controversial and/or ongoing and unresolved. This second featured card is purely military in nature and has largely played out during the time frame of this expansion (2015+) and is designed to represent the extra effort Allied forces exerted to remove ISIL from the lands it occupied in Syria and Iraq.

This card depicts an Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) level of commitment in Labyrinth game terms. Operation Inherent Resolve was the name for the military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL), including both the campaign in Iraq and in Syria. Since 21 August 2016, the U.S. Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps has led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). The campaign is primarily waged by American air power in support of local allies, most prominently the Iraqi Security Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces. Minimal combat ground troops, mostly Special Forces and artillery, have also been deployed, especially in Iraq. 75-80% of the airstrikes have been conducted by the United States, with the other 20-25% by the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan.

During 4 years of mostly air operations, the US led coalition has estimated the following ISIL casualties/losses from OIR and related efforts:

  • 80,000+ killed by American and allied forces
  • 32,000+ targets destroyed or damaged
  • 164 tanks destroyed
  • 388 HMMWVs destroyed
  • 2,638 pieces of oil infrastructure destroyed or damaged
  • 1,000+ fuel tanker trucks destroyed
  • 2,000+ pick-up trucks, VBIEDs, and other vehicles destroyed

This largely air campaign with very modest grounds forces was much more successful than the previous US deployments to Iraq in the following ways:

  • Projected power primary via nearly invulnerable air assets
  • Heavily relied upon US local allies, in particular the Iraqi army and Kurds
  • Had a minimal ground foot-print thus exposing far fewer US soldiers and support personnel to direct attack
  • Relied much more heavily on air supply so IED affects against ground convoys would be minimized
  • Was targeting an enemy that was acting in a conventional, ground holding manner rather than an insurgency that would temporarily disband in the face or pressure

The U.S. conducted a similar though much smaller operation in Libya, named Operation Odyssey Lightning, from August 2016 to December 2016. This occurred during the battle to capture Sirte, which was the local capital of ISIL’s Libyan branch.

The next card in the series will be the very timely #305 Presidential Impeachment Inquiry!

In case you missed the previous installments in the series you can catch up on them below:

#257 Women’s Rights Activism

#315 Khashoggi Crisis


If you are interested in Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-? you can learn more on the game page on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-769-labyrinth-the-forever-war-2015.aspx

We also published an interview with the designer on our blog a month ago that will give you greater insight into the design: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/09/03/interview-with-trevor-bender-designer-of-labyrinth-the-forever-war-2015-from-gmt-games/