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Subject: Condemn or praise? - A Magic Maze review rss

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Mick S
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
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Miami Nights: Drive Hard
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Miami Nights: Drive Hard
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I picked up a copy of Magic Maze during a huge sale around Black Friday. I have played a bunch of games by myself and only a handful with the wife. I have yet to play with any bigger groups, but hope to fix that in the coming weeks.

Theme: A bunch of mythical characters in a shopping mall. Yes, you read that correctly. It is definitely an odd premise, but you're essentially gathering supplies in a mall and then escaping before time runs out. Each meeple needs to get to their respective colored tile and retreive their bow or axe, etc. I don't know how or why those things would be in a mall, but I digress. Once all the items are obtained, all players need to quickly escape the mall before security catches them (i.e. the sand timer runs out).

The bright tiles are nice and connect well together to form a labyrinth of possibilities, but I must admit that once placed, the tiles don't even give off a mall vibe. It's actually confusing. The game board doesn't really resemble a mall (aside from an escalator or two) or a fantasy setting. It's stuck somewhere in between.

Quality: The game comes in an oversized box with decent cover art. The board tiles are nice and thick and do lay well when everything is connected. The action tiles are the same thickness and a little smaller, perfect for their intended purpose. The meeples are your typical plastic pieces then theres a sand timer. Kind of hard to mess these things up.

I don't really have any complaints in regard to physical pieces. The only thing I would say is that the quality of design could have been a little better in the artwork and theme. I've heard some people complain about the theme and how they don't want their kids playing a game of thievery, but I'm not here to talk about. I just feel that the mall and fantasy ideas should have been thought out a litte more. I feel like I'm rambling, but basically, I don't have a solution, but be aware that you will get looks and a request for explanation to every person you show this game to. A mall full of dwarves? Why are they looking for weapons in a mall? Why are they stealing them?

Gameplay: I'm just as torn with the as I am with the theme. In solo mode, I think the game is great... because it's really friggin hard. You can only use one hand to flip through your action tiles and you then make your way through the mall. I probably won half my games so far playing solo and that's being generous if I missed a sand timer extension by a second or two.

When I finally got to play this game with my wife, she gave me some looks. She got passed the odd theme fast enough, but then she laughed at the premise. "So you're saying we just move these guys around and sit here in silence?" When she repeated it so bluntly, I laughed. We played a few games and had a decent time. We won every game and struggled to keep totally silent. I put the box away and hardly talked about it afterward.

Conclusion: I'll admit, this game will likely be a solo game for me occasionally (something I didn't think I'd be saying when I bought the game). My wife liked the game enough, but I just don't think it shines with 2 players. I'm speculating here of course, but I could see it getting worse with more players, especially if you're stuck with the vortex or escalator tiles. Even though my review hasn't been super positive, I still feel a strong aversion to giving it a bad rating. Maybe I'll have to update this review someday, but I'd still give it a 6/10.
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Iron Jack Tirey
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Kentucky
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I love this game at 2 players, and it was a rush to play at 8 the one time I got to do that. But I will say this is certainly not going to be every persons cup of tea. And if you have a player who just doesn't get what you are trying to do, it can really hurt the overall experience, because there is not a lot you can do to help them.
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Ian Allen
United States
Madison
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I tried this at Gen Con with 4 players and it frustrated me. I think I left the moment another person walked up and showed interest and I made an excuse like I was late for something.

Not to say others won't enjoy this, but the not talking and trying to get other players to GUESS what you want them to do, combined with the timed element, made me want to be anywhere else.
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The game is a blast with 4 (once you played through the first two scenarios and get the hang of it). It IS frustrating, stressful, tense, focused and sweaty, but a blast. If you succeed - release and laughter. Fun, fun, fun!
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