FTW Staff Picks - Labyrinth
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Designer: Max J. Kobbert
Player Size: 2 to 4 Players
Game Length: 20 minutes
For fans of: The Magic Labyrinth, Sorry
The FTW Staff Picks series was started with the goal of introducing newer or overlooked games that we enjoy playing. Because of that, you won't find many of the classics covered here such as Clue, Scrabble or Yahtzee. That's not to say we don't enjoy busting out a classic every now and then, but they're mostly known quantities. The 1986 original, Labyrinth, falls under the category of slightly lesser known games that evoke the same levels of nostalgia. And unlike many of the older roll-to-move games, that are actually kind of dull when you look past their reminiscent qualities, Labyrinth is actually a lot of fun.
Like many traditional games, Labyrinth has a very simple ruleset. The goal of the game is to collect all of your designated treasures before your opponents. The labyrinth is set up with tiles randomly at the beginning of the game. Treasure cards are evenly distributed among the players. Players have to build paths from their pawn to their treasures, one at a time. On a player's turn they take the extra tile and shift one full row or column, pushing the tile on the opposite side out. Afterwards, that player has the option of moving their pawn anywhere along the path they are currently on. If they manage to end their turn on their targeted treasure, they flip the card over to complete it and move onto their next card. The player who successfully collects all their treasures is declared the winner.
There have been numerous implementations of Labyrinth over its 30 year history, but its core gameplay has remained the same. As a family-game, it's quick to setup and learn and even offers some puzzle-solving skill-building for the younger ones. As a gamer's game it offers light strategy and simple cutthroat elements. It's the type of game that can be enjoyed by a wide range of gamers; perfect for the cafe environment. A lot of people who try it out for the first-time end up buying their own copy on the way out. Plus, there's something about the aesthetic of the game that just oozes old school. I can just imagine the kids of Stranger Things playing a Cthulu-themed Labyrinth.