‘Labyrinth’ board game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
As a kid, I always dreamed of adventure, of searching caverns and battling monsters. I slew many a dragon with my wooden sword and shield, and I wish I had known about this one game back then.
Labyrinth (1986) is a thematic shifting tile game for two to four players designed by Max J. Kobbert and published by Ravensburger. In the game, players take turns placing tiles into a set board and moving their pieces through the shifting maze in order to collect treasure. The first player to collect all of their treasure and return to their starting space wins.
Labyrinth is a great of example of a complex design leading to simple gameplay. The game is very easy to pick up and is suitable for younger players. There is a strategic element that more advanced players can utilize, but the game definitely lacks the advanced rules and complexity to feed the hunger of players who seek a more difficult challenge. However, the sliding dynamic makes for a more complex game than other tile placement games such as Tsuro (2004).
Don’t confuse this game with Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (2016), a much more complex game licenced wholesale from the movie. I haven’t played it, but from what I know about licenced games, it’s not worth the risk.
If you have a copy of the 1986 game, I would recommend bringing it out once in a while for a bit of nostalgia. Otherwise, I would recommend getting a copy for any fledgling gamers you might know, as it makes a great introduction to the world of more complex thematic strategy games.