The Magic Labyrinth
On one of my visits to our local board game cafe (Yep, I'm boasting about Offline again), I noticed a couple playing a really interesting maze game. I inquired about it later and opted to try it out for myself.
- Published by Playroom entertainment
- 2-4 players
- Dice Rolling
- Grid Movement
- Place the box in the middle of the table and place the underground labyrinth in it.
- Insert wall parts in to the underground labyrinth. You may use one of the two Illustrations in the book or create your own but each square must have a possible entry. Extra wall pieces are put aside.
- Put the floor plate on top of the underground labyrinth.
- Place the symbol chips in the cloth bag if they aren't already there.
- Draw a chip and place it on the table where everyone can see it.
- Spin the box, aka the maze, around several times until you no longer know where any of the walls are located.
- Each player takes a magician (playing piece) and a magnetic metal ball. Player's place their magician on a corner of the board and put the ball against it from below until it is held by the magnet.
The objective is to be the first player to reach the space matching the current symbol chip.
On your turn:
- Roll the dice. You may now move up to the number of spaces indicated on the die (horizontally or vertically). You may pass another magician but you may not end in the same space as another magician.
- If you hit a wall, your magnetic ball will drop and land in one of the four corners. Your turn is over and you return your magician to it's starting corner.
- If you reach the desired symbol on the playing field, you acquire the symbol chip and your turn is over. Draw a new symbol chip to replace the one you've just acquired. (If a player is already on the matching space of the new symbol chip, they acquire it immediately and a new one is drawn)
The game is over when one player has collected 5 magic symbols. That player is the winner.
- The game is easy to set up, easy to learn and easy to play. It's a great family game and simple enough for younger children to learn and play.
- The components are good and they do their job. There is nothing elaborately detailed in the product though. It is very simple. I think it would be cool to see a deluxe version come out with a more colorful board and perhaps chunky miniatures for the magicians instead of the current game pieces, purely for esthetics reasons. The corners of the maze also show some wear over time.
- I played 3 times: once following the "easy variant" illustration, once following the "a little harder" illustration and once by building my own maze using every single wall piece that came in the box, because why not?
- The easy variant was almost too easy for two intelligent adults and the game was over quite quickly but it would be a great set up for younger children.
- The harder variant seemed like the sweet spot as far as difficulty goes. It wasn't too challenging and the game finished in a reasonable amount of time.
- When I built a random maze using all of the wall pieces the game was quite a bit longer. There was much more memory involved and it became a lot more challenging to remember where all the invisible walls were. We were frequently running into walls we had already run in to before but it did make us laugh a little.
- When creating your own maze which you inevitably will have to do because the rulebook only gives you two setups, you have to try to find a bit of a balance. It's easy to accidentally make one corner of the maze more challenging than another. This can result in an unbalanced game if one player has a more challenging portion of the maze to start out on than another player.
- I really enjoy the use of the magnet in this game and the invisible walls. It's definitely a unique spin on a maze game but you have to make sure players move their pawn fully to the next space. If they don't, they might be able to feel the wall and "change their mind". This could be a major downfall in the game however the designers do recognize this and include concise rules about it.
- The only ruling question I had during the game is "SInce there can only be one magician per space, what happens if when returning to my starting corner there is another player there"? I don't remember seeing this addressed in the rulebook.
- Overall this is a great family game but I can see it losing its charm if played too many times exclusively among adult friends. Although I enjoyed it quite thoroughly the first couple times, I did start to find it a little less interesting after a few games. The last time a friend suggested it took a pass. I will definitely be playing it again, it's just not going to be an all the time game for me. For children, I would highly recommend this game. They will have a blast and they'll probably even be able to set up and play on their own after being taught how.
What are your thoughts on The Magic Labyrinth? Leave a comment below.