So the first proper game of 2018 was a boardgame which my son got at xmas (I'm feeling old...we used to get him games like Operation and Monopoly, then Warhammer stuff and now it's games about the global war on Terror!)
The map focuses on the Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia. Each Muslim country
has a state of government which can be influenced by either side: the USA wants to have 'Good' governance as this makes states less likely to be swayed by the Jihadists and also enhances the USAs prestige rating: once enough states are 'Good' the USA wins. The Jihadists, meanwhile want to destabilise the governments of Muslim states as a prelude to then launching a major Jihad and creating an Islamic regime...get enough of these and the game is over. Of course the Jihadists can use other tactics including getting their hands on some stray WMDs that might become available...either via Pakistan, Russia or Centra Asian States. If the Jihadists can sneak one of those into the USA and set off a nuke or release a deadly virus then it's an immediate win although it's seems like an exceptionally tricky thing to pull off.
Because each side has both different victory conditions and different mechanics for playing cards the rules can come across as more complicated than they actually are and it took me a couple of play throughs to get my head round it. The game comes with both the rulebook but also a 'playboook' which contains a detailed play through of several turns and explanations which helped.
So far it's all in the best possible taste then!? Actually it comes across fairly respectfully given the subject matter. It certainly makes you think about the implications of your decisions...leaving a plot to go off in a host country because you don't want to spend the points feels more real than in many boardgames. I know I've seen reviews in which the reviewer has been very uncomfortable about the subject matter but if you can get your head around that then it's a fascinating game. Like Twilight Struggle it can be a bit daunting at times to know where to make your next move and it takes time to build up a strategy to influence a country...there are no quick routes to victory...I'm not sure 'fun' is an appropriate word given the subject but it's a very interesting and challenging game and well worth looking out for.