Monday, March 12, 2012


Bought and played this very cool game with my kids this weekend. If you have kids and are looking for an interesting analog game, I highly recommend it. They really love it and it's very, very clever! Check it out: 

Players control Wizard Kids (the colored Chess pawn looking pieces) trying to reach a magic relic randomly placed on the board. There are magnets in the base of each pawn and a metal ball- on the underside of the game board- attaches to the pawn's magnet and glides under the board as you move your piece  (the red glowing metal ball in the above pic shows this). As you move (controlled by a die roll), you race to reach the relic before your opponents. The first player to collect 5 relics wins! And with only 1 relic active at a time, all players are racing for the same item, creating a lot of tension and drama! 

So far so good. But here is what makes the game crazy fun and fresh:
If you lift the game board, you'll see a hidden grid. Wedged into the grid are these little wooden walls that create- in effect- an invisible maze. Players can use up to 24 wooded walls to design the maze however they like. Once the maze is laid out, the game board is placed back over the grid and the wooded walls are (naturally) hidden. 

As players race to the relic, they must be careful not to glide over any of the hidden walls. Doing so will dislodge the marble. When this happens the player must go back to his starting square and his current turn is over. Over time, players construct a mental picture of the maze in order to avoid the walls and get faster and faster at reaching relics. Really fun and challenging, especially as the maze can change every game. Plus, you are engaged even when it's not your turn as watching other players try to navigate adds to your own mental picture of the hidden maze.

Overall, we had tons of fun with The Magic Labyrinth this weekend. More of a game for just kids or for adults with kids. But for that demo, I highly recommend it! 

That said, if you have a precocious  (aka griefing) 6 year old that you let build the maze while you go to grab a diet Coke, you could end up with something like this:
Anyone want to guess where my 6 year old Kate's starting square was :). I was both super proud and appalled. :)



ps. one of the rules is you can take as long as you like to make your moves BUT once you commit to moving from one square to the next, you have to be rapid. This makes it so you can't 'feel' your way thru the maze (which would make things too easy). 

The instant I played this I was like, 'This would make a super fun iPad game!' It would solve this cheating exploit and it seems the core game could really get some neat freshening up via digital elements. Turns out, there IS an app for this (think it's iPhone native only, not sure tho) but I hear it's not very good.