Around Christmas time a peculiar thing happened. I kept seeing ads for Labyrinth the boardgame–selling it as a family classic. Which was weird, because I’ve never heard of it before. I checked it out and found out that there are a bunch of them. All variations on a theme, some of them franchised. It also had lots of positive reviews. So, with Christmas coming, and playing with my little niece in mind, I thought I would grab a copy. Not willing to wait for my niece to age 3 or 4 years, two middle-aged men sat down to play this with a cheeky drink and snacks. And I would like to know where this game was when I was a kid?!
Opening the box I was struck with there not being much to it. I’m used to games that take forever to set up with expansive boards, tons of tokens, hordes of plastic minis and a few decks of cards. Not this game. A board, a stack of board tiles, four plastic playing pieces and a deck of cards. The art on the cards and the board tiles are so-so. Very childish, but then, it is a kids game and to be honest the theme didn’t really matter. It was actually refreshing to play a game with a quick set-up.
The deck of cards is split between the players and each card has an image on it. The aim is to find the shortest route through the maze for your wizard playing piece to the corresponding image on one of the maze piece tiles. Easy, huh? Well, the maze changes slightly with every turn, so the route you may have found for yourself might end up being broken.
The play area consists of 50 tiles, each of them has a section of maze printed on them. 16 of them are fixed onto the board with space for a tile between them. This creates channels which the individual tiles can slide along. Which brings me to the physical mechanics of the game. You are left with one tile that doesn’t fit on the board, this tile is pushed in from the edge, slides the sections of maze along and pushes the tile at the end of the line off the board at the other end. This tile then becomes the piece to be removed by the next player and pushed in elsewhere. When you have your route you just move your piece to the image you were out to find–no die rolling or set tile moves for movement.
All I can say is that it was a really simple game, but surprisingly it keeps you on your toes as you plan your route and try and guess your opponents route so you can screw them over. It is very satisfying when you manage to trap your opponent in useless bunch of dead-end sections. Mwahahahaha. But, it ended happening to me and it was really annoying. It made for a chilled out session away from the Christmas TV, and didn’t overstay it’s welcome. The quick set-up, relatively short game play, and simplicity means its got some replayability for us and is likely to come out just for a boardgame fix if I can’t persuade anyone to play my heavy themed complicated games.
Just where was this when I was a child? Clearly I was a deprived child. Or maybe my Hungry Hippos ate it. My niece will be playing this with her uncles. Oh, yes. I will give her the game I missed out on.
Go check this game out for yourself. It’s only about £15.