Labyrinth by Ravensburger is a game racing for treasure in a moving maze and available in Original, Junior and Star Wars. This is a really good problem solving game which tests your spatial awareness as you shift the pathways along finding the best solution to help you reach the destination you require for that turn.
How to play Labyrinth
The game of Labyrinth is simple to understand but more challenging to play as you weave your way around the Labyrinth maze searching for objects – but all the while the maze keeps changing!
Setting up Labyrinth
You simply have a board that has fixed pieces/places; the four “home” corners (with circles of each of the players’ colours) plus another twelve places with pictures of different magical objects/characters. This is the only thing that remains consistent throughout the game.
The rest of the board is made up of 34 moving maze pieces – each with different paths and walls on drawn on them; some also have more objects/characters to collect drawn on them too. Initially these pieces need popping out of a big sheet of cardboard but then are just stored in little square holes in the box. The pieces need to be shuffled (they are quiet chunky and it is best to do this in small parts unless you have really big hands!) then, without looking, placed in the spaces on the board in order that they are turned over. There should then be one maze piece left over. This means that a random maze is generated so no two games are the same. Next the 24 object cards are shuffled and dealt equally among the players (2 players = 12 cards each; 3 players = 8 cards each; 4 players = 6 cards each). These are then kept faced down until the start of the player’s turn (with a new one only being uncovered on the next turn after the last object/character has been reached). Although to make it easier for younger children they can look at their cards and decide which one they will chose as their goal for each turn.
Each player starts at their corresponding coloured start square. The youngest player goes first by turning over their object card without showing other players. They then have to MOVE THE MAZE by placing the left over maze playing piece and insert it into any of the rows with yellow arrows. The idea is to guide the playing piece along the maze without hitting any walls – to reach the matching picture on their object card. Even if the player can reach the object without moving the maze they HAVE TO move the maze first. This can be either to help reach a goal, to not affect the path to the goal or to make it harder for an opponent to move. The maze cannot be pushed back at the same place that the previous player has just pushed out (they can be pushed in the same direction on that row). If there is a playing piece on the edge that is being pushed off the board then they are placed on the opposite side on that equivalent row (this does not count as a turn for that playing piece). If the player is unable to reach their object goal they do not have to move their playing piece but they can move it closer or in a strategic place for a later turn. Players do not move on to a new goal until they have reached their last one. The winner is the first player to reach all of their goals and get back to their starting point (or just their goals if they are younger players).
Thoughts on Labyrinth
We reviewed the original version of Labyrinth and I think it is a really good game for our 9 year old son. The game is recommended for ages 7-99 years and there was no rules either way about whether you could push the maze and then discover that didn’t work so try pushing it a different way. I think to make it harder there should be a rule that once you start pushing the maze that is it, and it cannot be corrected. In saying that it would have made it really hard for me as I struggled to visualise in my head what would be the impact to all the other spaces. The 9 year old, however, had no such problem! I think it is a great way to introduce visual problem solving and strategy skills which will come in handy for his Grammar school entry test. We took Labyrinth with us camping as we started to celebrate National Unplugging Day on Sunday June 25th 2017. This is a day to #gogadgetfree and spend time with family. We found that the Labyrinth game was great for any bouts of boredom! It is easy to set up and has no small parts that could be easily lost. It is a fun game and due to its nature different every time it is played.
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Q: Who would play Labyrinth – who would be good at it, who would find it difficult and who would be most likely to win?
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I received a review copy of Labyrinth. All words and opinions are honest and my own.