ToysBulletin.com reviews a new entry to the Labyrinth series of games from Ravensburger.
For readers unfamiliar with “Labyrinth,” it is a board game where players are challenged by an ever changing maze of tiles. The object of the game is to find a way to move the tiles, clear a pathway and reach various objects (pictures) shown on the maze tiles.
In “Ocean Labyrinth,” there is an underwater theme with players searching for fish, diving gear and sunken treasures of all sorts. The game is suggested for 2-4 players ages 7 years old and up, and a typical game can be completed in around 30 minutes.
The game contents include 34 maze tiles, each containing a pathway that is straight or shows a 90 degree right or left turn. Most of the tiles also contain an illustration (picture) of an underwater object. Additionally, there are 24 picture cards, 4 plastic divers (playing pieces) and a game board measuring approximately 14″ square.
To get things started, the 34 maze tiles are shuffled. 33 of the tiles are distributed face up at random locations on the game board. There will be one tile left over and this is called the surplus tile. The maze tiles will actually form a matrix of 7 rows of 7 tiles each on the game board. There are 16 locations on the game board where there is a permanent maze tile that cannot be moved. Thus, there are a total of 49 maze tiles in total (33 +16). Next, the picture cards are shuffled and dealt face down to each player. Since there are 24 picture cards in total, each player would get 6 picture cards in a 4- player game, 8 picture cards in a 3-player game and 12 picture cards in a 2-player game. Each of the picture cards contains an underwater image that matches one of the maze tiles on the game board. Players then choose a diver and place it in the corner of the game board with the matching color.
To begin, players turn over the first of their picture cards, keeping it hidden from their opponents. Players then alternate turns by first taking the surplus tile and inserting it on the game board. There are 12 entry points around the board that will allow the surplus tile to be pushed into an existing row. When that happens the maze tile on the end of that row will fall off the game board and becomes the surplus tile for the next player. Once the surplus tile has been placed, the player completes his turn by moving his diver along any open pathway (as far as he can get) with a goal of trying to reach and land on the maze tile that contains the picture that matches their current picture card. If a match is made, the current picture card is turned face up next to that player’s remaining stack of picture cards and the next picture card becomes the player’s new target.
The game continues until one player finds all of the matching maze tiles. The first player to do so is declared the winner. Although this may sound fairly simple, it is not always easy to maneuver around the game board. The pathways may not be going the right direction and although the surplus tile can certainly help get things pointed in the right direction, your opponent may have other ideas, and may purposely move a row that destroys multiple pathways leading to your next target tile. This is a game with a good amount of strategy, disappointment and excitement. It is a perfect family game and certainly loads of fun.
“Ocean Labyrinth” retails for $31.99, but at the time we wrote this review, we noticed it was on sale for $25.59. So head to the Ravensburger website and check things out.