Friday, April 17, 2009
Board Game Review - Living Labyrinth
OK, here's the deal. I woke up this morning with what I can only assume is the flu. I think this because my head feels like I've got a bicycle pump stuck up each nostril, only instead of air, these pumps are shooting out snot. My joints hurt from my toes to my earlobes, and I hardly have the energy to climb the stairs to my office, much less write some witty, humorous pap about a game. Normally I would spend the day in bed, but by happy coincidence (and by 'happy' I mean 'crappy'), my daughter fell off her bike last night and had to go to the doctor this morning to see if she had a broken arm. She didn't, but I also didn't sleep today.
So now it's half past midnight, and I've played Living Labyrinth, and it's fun, and there's got to be something funny in there somewhere, but frankly, I can't come up with anything. So with massive apologies to Bucephalus Games, I'm just going to straight-up tell you about the game. Then I'm going to have a cup of tea and pass out.
Living Labyrinth is from Bucephalus Games (I may have said that. The snot is interfering with my ability to communicate clearly). These guys just announced their presence at GenCon last year, and they've already got a bunch of games out. I'm not entirely clear on their exact count, but I got four games from them, so there's at least that many.
Living Labyrinth is like a kids' game meant for adults. You build a 5X5 board out of double-sided tiles, and all the tiles have paths on them. But when you first build the board, the paths don't tend to go anywhere, so you have to spin the tiles so that you can move. To spin the tiles, you play cards, and then you move on your trail and try to cross the board and go out the other side.
You also have to try to stop other people from winning, which you do by flipping their tiles and spinning them and switching them with other tiles. It would be awesome if you could play a 'shoot that whiny asshole in the eyeball' card, but they don't have those, because it's a kids' game that adults can play. Instead there are panda bears and monkeys.
Living Labyrinth plays pretty fast. From the time you open the box to the time you put everything away it's probably about half an hour. Since you really only have to cross five tiles, it's not all that tricky to get across the board. It's also kind of tough to stop anyone for very long, so someone is going to win before you can finish making popcorn.
This is the kind of game that would play best with a family. It's not too deep, but it's fun, and the pieces are pretty nice (though I'm not sure why the Bucephalus guys though plastic wafers make good pawns - a little dude from Sorry would have been a lot easier to manipulate). You can play fast, before everyone gets bored and distracted and your jackass kids start to fight just to make you tell them to leave.
I have three more games from Bucephalus to review, and honestly, I'm hoping the others have a little more meat on them. I didn't dislike Living Labyrinth, but I would almost always rather play something more interesting. But kids can dig this one, and adults can probably get behind it, so even if the rest of the games are as easy as Living Labyrinth, I'm still going to have fun trying them out.
Playful, fun art
Really easy to learn
Fast to play
Flat wafers make clumsy pawns
Not much meat on these bones
Dogstar Games is supposed to be trying to get these Bucephalus Games in stock. When they do, you'll probably get them below retail, with free shipping. So check there first, and if they still don't have them, you could get a copy here:
Posted by Matt Drake at 8:55 PM