Thursday, July 28, 2016

Junior Labyrinth, Produced by Ravensburger, Reviewed by Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions

Junior Labyrinth, Produced by Ravensburger, with Design by Max J. Kobbert &, Artwork by Joachim Krause

Reviewed by Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions

What are the recommendations for this game?

Number of players: 2-4
Time of game: Not stated (our games lasted roughly 15 minutes each)
Age recommendation: 5 years and older

The back story: 

You are ghosts in a maze. This maze is ever shifting, and to escape all of the important items/creatures/people must be found. The twelve that must be found are:
A jester, a dragon, a lute, a dagger, a clock, a treasure chest, a knight's helmet, an owl, a mouse knight, a frog, a candelabra, and a throne.

What comes in the game?

Rules Booklet
One game board
12 secret tokens (the 12 items/creatures/people mentioned above)
4 Ghosts with stands to serve as player pawns (one each of red, blue, green, and yellow)
17 maze cards

What is the end game objective? What am I striving for?

In this game you want to collect the most tokens, for when the last one is claimed by one of the players, the player with the most tokens wins. Each token can be considered as 1 point.

How do I set the game up?

Set the board up, and notice that there will pieces locked into place, players will be moving pieces around them. Make sure your pieces are accounted for, and the ghosts are in their stands. You will shuffle the maze cards and place them face up on the board, this makes it so that the game board is different each time you play. One maze piece will be left over.  Players will insert this piece into the maze, causing a row or a column to move either up/down/left/right and pushing another maze piece off the board. You will mix the 12 secret tokens face down beside the board. Players will draw from this pile which will tell them what item/creature/person they have to rescue. Place your ghost on the corresponding space on the corner of the board.

Now to play:  

The players determine who is the bravest to start. Turns will continue in a clockwise fashion from this point. You will take the extra maze tile and place it in such a way that your ghost will have a clear travelling path (or as close as you can get) to the matching picture of the secret token you have drawn. There are arrows on the board to assist you on what rows and columns can move, and in what way. The maze tile that is pushed off must be used by the next player. You will move to whatever position you deem is best to try and reach the symbol that you have drawn. Walls will stop your movement.

Special Note: A maze card can't be pushed back in at the same place where the previous ghost sent it off the board.

Special Note: If a ghost is pushed off the board, they are then placed onto the tile that was added back to the board.

Special Note: If a ghost is pushed off the board, and placed back on the board, this moving of a playing piece does not count as a turn.

Special Note: You can be on a space that is occupied by other players.

If you reach your goal, then score your token (keep it in your personal space at the table) and end your turn. Otherwise, you will say your turn has ended when you stop your ghost in what you believe to be the best position possible. The next player will continue the hunt of the drawn token, and if they are able to reach it, then they take the token for their own.

When does the game end?

When the last token is claimed.

Are there any variations for this game?

You could mix up the tokens and distribute them out to all the players. Once a player completes all of theirs, everyone else who hasn't played in that round will get to respond. The highest score at that point wins. Another way is with the tokens only known to you, going from the previously mentioned distribution to all players. When a ghost completes a token, then it is revealed.

Some game results:

First game, our 5 year old daughter Talia beat me 5 to 4, as we had to cut our game short due to an emergency. She had collected the Frog, the Dagger, The Candelabra, and the Helmet. I had the Jester, the Clock, The Treasure Chest, and the Chair. She was the blue ghost, and I was the red ghost.
Our second game was daddy winning 7 to 5, and it played about 20 minutes.
The third game was my nephew Ian against myself, and I had won 7 to 5 as well, in about the same amount of time. Ian was also able to easily pick up the rules of the game, and he is 9.

Final Thoughts:

First, let me be very clear that I am scoring this as a Family Game, with small children. My boardgamegeek score would reflect that some or all the players would be children. I would not expect a group of all adults to play this version of Labyrinth. That being said, on a family adjusted scale this game is a solid 8 out of 10. There have been a few times that the kids wanted to play something else, but about 80% of the time they will play it. The learning curve is not overwhelming, but for some, making the spatial recognition and connections might be a little bit of a struggle. For little ones, it can possibly be taxing due to the ability or inability to see moves ahead in one's mind (if I do this, it will lead to that), and not everyone easily picks that up.

I fully believe that this is a great family game that deserves at minimum a look, especially if you are trying to play games with your little ones that help them develop skills to look ahead.

Thank you so much for reading this report on Junior Labyrinth!

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and remember I am always....READY TO GAME!!!

RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)

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