I'm a huge Labyrinth fan. Have been all my life. It was the first DVD that I ever purchased.
When I saw there was a game coming out, I was pessimistic but open. As soon as I saw the box and board I knew it would be awful.
Knowing I would never pick it up, I signed up to play at a convention (figuring I would then know that it is awful without having to purchase it).
5 people showed up to play. 2 knowing the movie well, 2 never having seen it, and 1 having probably seen it once as a kid. Clearly not the target group for this game.
So what is the game? Roll-and-Move with dice checks and a slight theme.
How do you play? Well the 4 players each pick a character from the film. Sara, Hoggle, Ludo, Sir Didimus. On their turn, starting with Hoggle and ending with Sara, each player rolls their speed die, moves EXACTLY that many spaces in either direction. They draw a card and do what it says (usually roll one of several different sided die, according to that characters skill). Then it's the next player's turn to do the same.
The Goal? Get to the center of the Goblin City(reach a certain card in the last third of the deck) before time runs out and Tobey is turned into a goblin forever. (one full rotation on the timer/clock. Each round moves it one space and additional cards and possible failures may move it additionally)
But wait, you said there were 5 people playing! You're right! The "lucky" (me in this case) player gets to be Jareth. It changes from a straight co-op to a 1 vs all. How exciting!
What does Jareth get to do? Well as the master of the Labyrinth, Jareth has very important rolls to fill like: rolling the target die for rolls instead of a player doing it; instead of letting a player draw their card, YOU draw two cards and choose which one that player will face; instead of a player moving the Jareth piece when a card tells them to, you get to do it. That's it, that is your involvement in the game. The only thing that slightly matters is the cards, but probably not. Most cards are roll a skill vs a d?. You roll the die, and the player whose turn it is rolls against it. There probably isn't a huge difference between the players lowest score and the target die.
UNLESS the heroes have found each other and decided to move together. Then everyone in the group gets to roll and take the highest.
Once they get into the goblin city, no more cards are drawn. So you just roll. Luck is your last defence.
To win though, the person playing Sara...and ONLY that player, must recite a line from the movie. Never seen the movie(like the person playing Sara in my game)? Oh well. You can't win. (I guess, the rules don't say you lose). The people running my game just said "we don't make them do that, so they just win"
So who is this game for? Honestly...families that like the movie. I don't care for it, but I can certainly see how some people might enjoy it. It reminded me of Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) when I played. Roll to move either direction in a circle, encounter something on that square, repeat until you can win. I don't particularly like Talisman either. I keep it on my iPad because you don't need to be a gamer to get: roll high, get new things. As a hobby gamer, I would never sit down to play Talisman. but there are people who do. The people who do that have a family that might not be at that level or might not like that theme, might get a lot of joy from this. It has a place, just not for me.
There are cool things about it:
Moving as a group - you only move as fast as the slowest member, so if you need to move a distance to get to an open space and get a new card, you might waste precious turns. But everyone gets to roll for challenges. so huge advantage. There is strategy there. Do you form two groups? do you want to exclude Hoggle so he doesn't slow you down?
SOME of the cards - some of the cards are super thematic. "The Peach" card requires the player who drew it to make a will check, and if not, they keep the peach and when they run into Sara, they give it to her and she suffers negative effects. Great! If you are getting to a point where you need to start grouping up, that is a hard decision to make.
Could be adapted - This could EASILY be Wizard of Oz board game.
My final thoughts? This is a game for a family of 4 that likes the movie Labyrinth and enjoys family game night but wants something different, almost a pre-gateway.
ANYONE else...go watch the movie.
You think that's air you're breathing?
We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant That We Should voyage far.
Thanks for the review.
I think anyone could see this coming. In my opinion, there isn't enough substance in the movie. Without abstracting, it's hard to imagine how there would be much replay value.
I've read many reviews on this game, and most say the same thing... a re-themed Talisman that isn't really that fun, and may only be liked by huge fans of the movie... but even then, fans might not like it.
I'm a huge fan of the movie, and I've read how gameplay is... doesn't sound very exciting.
Having said that, I do have a comment or two...
Elijah's comment "I think anyone could see this coming. In my opinion, there isn't enough substance in the movie. Without abstracting, it's hard to imagine how there would be much replay value."
I would like to differ here... I think a lot could have been done differently to make the game more exciting... for one... not being a Talisman clone... make the Labyrinth an actual Labyrinth... more interesting cards, and something other than die-checks.
Having said that... I think I'm going to buy this game... not for the game, but for the miniatures... then I'm going to use them for a far more fun game... Ravensburger's Amazing Labyrinth game... a better game that really needs more David Bowie in it.