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Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Not as vacuous as it seems at first glance rss

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Danny Stevens
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It has been stated elsewhere that this is a roll to move, event card game that is somewhat of a "Talisman Lite". After a few plays I have to disagree. The mechanics of the game are simple but they both subtly support the movie theme and provide some interesting risk management and resource management decision making.

The Resources

First what are the resources to be managed? That seems simple: Will Power and Time. Actually there is a subtle extra bit: group cohesion. Deciding when and how to gather the players together as a group and keep them together as a group is important. Avoiding the Bog of Eternal Stench is also important as a consequence, as being inflicted by "Smells Bad!" ruins group cohesion.

You could also say that moving through the event deck, your discovery velocity as it where, to find the gate to the goblin city is resource management, although it is a method for doing time management.

Lets work backward from the endgame to look at decision making choices.

End Game, The Maze


The maze has very few decisions. Sarah is rolling against her wit to be allowed to recite her spell and win. Each failure costs her a will power and advances the clock.

Her choice here is only "should I spend will power to reroll a failed test". The answer to that is look at the odds of defeating Jared's current wit roll and the amount of will power and time left for success. If Jared's roll is3 or less and Sarah still has her special ability, or its do or die time, then that is when the special ability card gets played for sure.

End Game, the goblin city

Once the gate is discovered you are rushing head long to clear the guardians and get Sarah to the castle. Ideally Sarah should arrive there with her special ability to play, lots of will power and plenty of time to spare. Early game strategy should be built around achieving this.

Play order is geared around Sarah going last on a turn so the team can deliver her as a group effort in a single turn. Also brawnier Ludo and Sir Didymus can be moved in during Hoggle's turn and forge ahead to knock over goblins while advancing Sarah. However the character's may not manage to arrive as a group so teams of two can work as well.

Everyone should try to hang on to special ability and free card rolls for this stage of play. Once your in then everyone should start using those re-rolls from the ability cards. As with Sarah in the maze there is some risk management with doing re-rolls. If the opponents have rolled high and time is not so short then it may be better to save re-rolls for another turn. On the other hand if a few characters are going to be hit hard all at once by failure then re-rolls become more likely to be chosen.

Resting in the goblin city is rarely an option, as time is usually horribly short. However if there is some time spare and Sarah or the heavy hitters Ludo and Sir Diddymus need their will boosting, and the characters are grouped together appropriately, then resting and giving will power to others (telling stories, giving pep talks, being comforting) then it can be a wise choice.

Mid Game, 15 cards drawn

The number 15 is a little arbitrary but once about 10 to 20 event cards have been drawn the board is usually getting a few event cards cluttered about, Jared is roaming the board blocking some move options and the team is close to finding the gate.

A number of things are going to be pressing hard on the players, time, low will power and group scatter.

Moving to the Oubliette and resting for low will power characters is an option. Especially gathering together characters to share will power to Sarah, Ludo and Sir Diddymus (in that order of priority) is an option. However you still need to be drawing new event cards, searching for the gate. If there is a swathe of empty spaces nearby then you want to search them. In a group, use Hoggle to do the move. The other characters can then rest with the group or choose to move on to search some more.

Choosing move dice can be important here, as you can choose lower range dice than the maximum one for your character. If your aiming for empty spaces look to either direction to see which dice range gives you the most opportunities to draw a card. At the same time consider position with respect to the other players.

Trying to join up generally means choosing a dice with a smaller range, so you increase the odds of finding them. This can sometimes be important when one character is coming to the rescue of another who is trapped on an encounter that they are not well suited to.

Overall, at this stage of play try to keep the characters near one another or in two teams. Draw into a single team if the gate is likely to be found soon, if you can.

Early Game

From the start you want maximum search velocity more than resting or collecting together. The board is empty spaces and you can move anywhere and draw an event card. The characters should be drawing 4 cards every turn early on. When moving in the early game generally use the red dice, range 1 to 4, rather than gallivant around the board at speed. This stops players from cluttering one another's board area with already drawn cards.

When choosing a move dice look, as mentioned earlier, to see which dice gives you the most opportunities for landing on an empty space.

Conserve your special abilities in the early game, you don't need them here. Also don't use will power for re-rolls unless it's good odds of success and more than one character is effected by failure. The more characters, the more essential, the lower the result to beat the less risk the re-roll is wasted.

Conclusion

This is fun. The strategy is just enough to keep me involved and light enough to allow playing with younger players. The connection of the mechanics to the theme is pretty good and the event cards provide enough variation to keep things interesting.
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Mike Beiter
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I am very pleased to read this.
I was hoping for a little more depth than roll and move etc.

I am pleased that there is a level of strategy and resource management here.
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Trey Chambers
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Have to disagree. This is the worst game I've played in many years.
 
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Mike Beiter
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Shampoo4you wrote:

Have to disagree. This is the worst game I've played in many years.


Throw him in the bog of eternal stench!!!
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