Review: Labyrinth The Board Game – adventure directed by Jim Henson

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Poor Jareth sits on his throne, has a toddler on his lap and waits. With every minute and hour, a tiny Toby turns more and more into an ugly goblin. It first goes through the fingers, then the feet to the belly. But there is still hope that the kidnapped child may remain in the human world. Somewhere outside the city, his sister Sarah wanders and looks for his little brother with all her strength.

Moreover, she will not be alone. In addition to the different creatures, there are players in particular. And that’s a good crowd – all who buy game : The Board Game. It was designed by , based on ’s classic movie.  complemented with his illustrations and the whole work was published for all fans under the logo at the end of . Distributor for Europe is .

On the lid, we can see the title maze, five heroes and also corresponding figures for the contestants. At the beginning of the game, however, players decompose a big game board, that offers a view of the huge labyrinth and in the middle of it a goblin town with a royal castle. Most of the plan is covered by card silhouettes, that is positions players will be traveling on.

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They each have to choose their own hero from four available. The fifth character belongs to the evil King Jareth, who will enter the game later. Players will also take a card with their hero picture (according to them they also get several willpower tokens) and another card with special skill. Each of the fairy-tale characters has his specific starting point on the board, where miniature is placed. But back to the information on the card – heroes each have their own speed, wit and brown (strength).

Players prepare cardboard clock with a hand, which at the beginning points to one. So far, there is plenty of time to save Toby. Next to it, players also lay dice. More important, however, is a pack of labyrinth cards – players add city entrance card in the bottom third of the stack. They can never be sure exactly, when they find it during their exploration, just as you would expect in a labyrinth.

Players are at the beginning of the game in the situation, that they got inside the labyrinth and are trying to find their way to Jareth. In their efforts, they have a common goal, but they will strive for it in a gradual fashion, each alternating with their own turn. It goes around in a fixed order from Hoggle to Sarah. At the end of each round, clock tick and hand moves one hour forward.

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In turn, player can choose between resting (which means rolling a dice and possibly gaining one willpower point up to a maximum of six) or move. Each digit on the character card corresponds to one of the dice – the larger, the better dice and bigger numbers. It is also this case, when player simply rolls a according to speed of his character and moves that many spaces. He can choose whether to move clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Any turn, he stops on free space without a card, he immediately draws top one from the deck and places it on the board on his position. At that point, he must immediately execute instructions printed on it. The same goes for the moment hero stops on the already revealed card. Here too, encounter that is waiting for the character needs to be solved. There are also special places, where heroes can fall asleep or fall into swamp (and then stink so nobody wants to travel with them). At the beginning of the movement, other heroes can join players and move with them free of charge.

Many cards in the menu will require players to prove their strength, cleverness or speed. For each such test, dice will again be used. Even these tests can be done by more than one person at the same time, each one rolling his dice and they always use highest score of them all. At the price of one point of will, player can even roll one extra dice.

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All this is just a prelude. The final comes when players reveal entry into the city. Jareth finally appears in his castle, but there are four obstacles between him and gates (and you) – heroes have to overcome them. After reaching their position, player always compares roll with the result of a dice, that one of the other players uses for the guard. It is not yet won, as the Sarah player must now enter the castle and pass the final exam. Each time she fails, another hour will pass by. If midnight sets in before Sarah resolves the final maze, entire team loses. However, if she defeats Jareth in his trial and score of the dice is higher, players can rejoice in a common victory.

Labyrinth: The Board Game is a cooperative game, that remains perfectly true to the original. Everything happens exactly as you remember from the movie. This is a great news at first glance. But while the first matches are great joy to play, this choice has later a negative effect on replayability. The matches are very similar, although there are not always all cards in play and they come in different order. The course itself is the same and it slightly spoils the experience in future.

It does not alter the fact that playing is fun all the time. The impression can be very well compared to Talisman with all the dice and going here and there. This time, all players must work together. Here it is very important to behave like a team, passing some exams together and, above all, using the possibilities of mass movement. The game in this respect offers the participants enough opportunities to deal with the dangers they face.

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According to the basic rules, game is played best in four players. At that moment, everyone has their own character. If there are fewer players, heroes have to be spread across them and this negatively falls on the overall experience. Fortunately not so much, because players have to debate and invent common tactics as they work together. So they think more like a team and do not have to impersonate in one hero to get the full joy of playing.

The biggest part of the gameplay is not only the theme but also dice. They are differently strong and, above all, you will likely know their differences soon (in the castle, when you stand against the guards). Overall, the game is not extremely difficult, but rather just that. But this corresponds to Labyrinth as we perceive it – more like a family game. On the other hand, the level of difficulty can be slightly modified up and down.

Discarded cards are not thrown away into special stack, but to the bottom of drawing deck. This is unpleasant for all players, because it is not easy to guess, how far the players are from finding entry to the city. And thanks to this, heroes do not even know, how far they are in the match until the entry is found. This is a great element that makes  every part of a really exciting experience.

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Processing deserves true praise. Beautiful miniatures and graphics are in the spirit of the original movie. Everything breathes with the retro fantasy feel with a pinch of darkness, just like the original Henson movie.

We definitely like Labyrinth: The Board Game very much. We are not only enjoying it in our regular player’s circle, but it also had success in families with older children. This is because today, this movie is a classic on TV screens and everyone knows it. In addition, in the light of David Bowie’s recent demise, this box can also be seen as a tribute to this great singer. Labyrinth: The Board Game is a very good addition to the category of cooperative games.

DesignerAlessio Cavatore
ArtistJohnny Fraser-Allen
PublisherRiver Horse Ltd., Crazy Pawn Games, dV Giochi, MeepleBR, Tabletop Troubadour Games
Year Published2016
# of Players1 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
(5 voters)
Playing Time120
Mfg Suggested Ages6 and up
User Suggested Ages4 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(1 voters)
CategoryAdventure, Movies / TV / Radio theme
MechanicArea Movement, Cooperative Game, Variable Player Powers
ExpansionJim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game – Fireys! Expansion, Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game – Goblins!
FamilySeries: Jim Henson's Board Game Collection (River Horse)
Primary NameJim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game
Alternate NamesDentro del Laberinto: El Juego de Tablero, Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Jogo de Tabuleiro

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Labyrinth The Board Game – adventure directed by Jim Henson
Final word
Labyrinth: The Board Game is a game, that takes on a beautiful classic fairy tale and makes it into a really fun game. All the participants will join in trying to get Sarah to her brother in time. But it's not easy at all, because the maze is big and there is only little time. The game is very exciting thanks to the interesting concept of the endless deck. Everything is controlled by dice rolling to meet card requirements, but also a team spirit that emphasizes cooperation. The game is slightly repetitive in upcoming matches, but the overall impression remains very positive for Labyrinth: The Board Game.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
excellent theme
you never know when you will find the entrance to the city
dice make the game exciting
simple rules
team spirit
beautiful processing
Cons
replayability
with fewer players, each has to control more characters
very random
4
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