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 final 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 6th Event Card Spoiler post regarding Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-?, we take a look at card #351 Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). 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.

351. Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

Our sixth card to be previewed is #351 Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), shown below.  The Labyrinth system is a game based on current events that are largely political and military in nature, and as such frequently covers topics that are sometimes controversial and/or ongoing and unresolved. This featured card represents more of a technological or espionage related event, and is the next evolution of the Cyber Warfare event card (#202) from The Awakening Expansion.

The Forever War APT Card

An Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) is a stealthy computer network attack in which a person or group gains unauthorized access to a network and remains undetected for an extended period of time. The term’s definition is traditionally associated with nation-state sponsorship, but over the last few years there have been multiple examples of non-nation state groups conducting large-scale targeted intrusions for specific goals. An APT may have either business or political motives. APT processes require a high degree of covertness over a long period of time. The “advanced” process signifies sophisticated techniques using malware to exploit vulnerabilities in systems. The “persistent” process suggests that an external command and control system is continuously monitoring and extracting data from a specific target. The “threat” process indicates human involvement in orchestrating the attack.

APT usually refers to a group, such as a government, with both the capability and the intent to target, persistently and effectively, a specific entity. The term is commonly used to refer to cyber threats, in particular that of Internet-enabled espionage using a variety of intelligence gathering techniques to access sensitive information, but applies equally to other threats such as that of traditional espionage or attacks. Other recognized attack vectors include infected media, supply chain compromise, and human intelligence and deception. The purpose of these attacks is to place custom malicious code on one or multiple computers for specific tasks and to remain undetected for the longest possible period. Knowing the attacker artifacts, such as file names, can help a professional make a network-wide search to gather from all affected systems. Individuals, such as an individual adversary, are not usually referred to as an APT, as they rarely have the resources to be both advanced and persistent even if they are intent on gaining access to, or attacking, a specific target.

Advanced Persistent Threat 33 & 34 (APT33 & APT34) are hacker groups identified as being supported by the government of Iran. APT28 “Fancy Bear” is a cyber espionage group that it is associated with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU and is credited with hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails along with other political or electoral manipulations. The primary responder to APT’s is the US Cyber Command. According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), the USCYBERCOM “plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.”

The action on this card presents an interesting dilemma to the user. Do I forgo the OPs value to fish a card from my opponent’s hand that might be of value to me or be harmful to my opponent? I felt this event accurately represented the tough decisions in an APT process in action, as one is not certain of the gains to be obtained. Also, per wording on the event, the card drawn does not increase your hand size, but does shrink the current card count of your opponent. Played at the right time, it might also upset your opponent’s end-turn strategy!

What’s Next in the Production Process?

Well that is a wrap in our card previews. Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-? is in final proofreading and will likely go to the printer before Christmas. We have over 1,400 pre-orders for this very inexpensive expansion.

Thanks to The Players Aid for showcasing these cards and for supporting our hobby by dispersing timely and relevant information to simulation game players everywhere!

Trevor Bender

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

#275 Operation Inherent Resolve

#305 Presidential Whistleblower

#319 Tehran-Beirut Land Corridor


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 few months 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/