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Subject: Review of Lego Minotaurus rss

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Calum M
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My nephew has just turned seven. He loves Lego but already has a huge amount of it and so I wanted to give him something different. I realised that one of the Lego games would be the ideal thing. Today I gave him it and we played a game. Here's my review:

Opening the Box
What you see when you open the box will be familiar to any Lego fan. There's several clear plastic bags with Lego pieces, a big green base board and two little books. One is the normal Lego construction booklet and the other is the rule book.

Construction
The initial construction can be a little time consuming, though this was probably my nephew's favourite part of the process. The good thing is that once you've built it the first time then you can store it back in the box completed.

The Pieces
As with all of this range of Lego games, the playing pieces are special Minifigs that sit on only one dot, rather than the normal two. There is also the special die which has been created for the range. Unlike the other games however, Minotaurus doesn't use the special system of swapping what appears on the faces. There is also the Minotaur piece itself which is pleasingly big compared to the little Lego people. Then all that's left are the green pieces which are hedges - which don't move during the game - and grey wall pieces - which do move.

The Gameplay
Each player has three playing pieces. The aim is to get them to the centre of the maze. In a two player game you have to get two pieces to the centre and in a three or four player game you only have to get one. On each turn you roll the die. This will allow you the chance to move one of your pieces 3,4,5 or 6 spaces, to move a wall piece to anywhere you want or to move the Minotaur 8 spaces. If the Minotaur meets any piece when its moving then that piece has to go back to the start.

Overview
As you can see from the description of the gameplay there's really not much to the game. Its been designed for children 7+ and its probably pitched just right for this age-group. However adults will find that there's not much depth to it. I think if it was being played with a group of adult players then it would be good to make the victory condition that you had to get all three pieces to the centre. This would allow the game to go on for long enough to make maximum use of the moving walls and moving Minotaur rules. The one rule that I would like clarification on is how close the Minotaur needs to get to a piece to send it back to the start. I was playing that the Minotaur actually needs to have enough moves to sit on top of the playing piece. This lead to the ridiculous situation of the Minotaur's sticking out arms actually being round one piece - but it not being captured.

Conclusion
Overall I would say this is a pleasing little roll-and-move game. I would happily play it again, but would understand if adult players didn't want to bother with it.
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Andreas
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May I please ask why You think it is a pleasing little roll and move game. I understood and read from the german reviews that are out yet that all Lego games are roll and move or quite similar to ye olde games like Mastermind or Cootie.

If You say the boy is seven years old and this is a game for him then I wonder if there are not better games out there. No Lego pieces but better game play. And not roll and move.

E.g. Zooloretto or Carcassonne are publisher-recommended to ages 8 and up, same goes for a lot of the popular family games. Some bgg members do have tried them successfully with 7 year olds too. Then on the other side we have great childrens games like Der Schwarze Pirat, Kayanak or Giro Galoppo which are playable earlier, but will not lose their appeal until the children are say 10 or older.

Compared to these dont You think that the Lego gameplay (and relying solely on roll and move) leaves something to be desired? Or that one is better advised to buy regular Lego and another (better?) game?

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Chris Bailey
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Xeenu wrote:
Compared to these dont You think that the Lego gameplay (and relying solely on roll and move) leaves something to be desired? Or that one is better advised to buy regular Lego and another (better?) game?

surprisewhistle


The kid likes legos and he probably likes the game.
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Andreas
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ixnay66 wrote:
Xeenu wrote:
Compared to these dont You think that the Lego gameplay (and relying solely on roll and move) leaves something to be desired? Or that one is better advised to buy regular Lego and another (better?) game?

:surprise::whistle:


The kid likes legos and he probably likes the game.
:surprise::whistle::shake:


Yep but wouldnt he like a game from a renowned game publisher and with good ratings and reviews more? Or would his parents enjoy playing these with their children more? And how about the long term appeal?
 
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Xeenu wrote:
ixnay66 wrote:
Xeenu wrote:
Compared to these dont You think that the Lego gameplay (and relying solely on roll and move) leaves something to be desired? Or that one is better advised to buy regular Lego and another (better?) game?

surprisewhistle


The kid likes legos and he probably likes the game.
surprisewhistleshake


Yep but wouldnt he like a game from a renowned game publisher and with good ratings and reviews more? Or would his parents enjoy playing these with their children more? And how about the long term appeal?


If he likes Legos, I don't see why he'd like those other games more, unless maybe an adult decided the kid should like something different and tried to shape the kid's tastes to something more "sophisticated."
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James Cheevers
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Our children have access to all types of games from Agricola to Monopoly. My 10 year old son was interested in Minotaurus because it "looked cool". We got it for him for his birthday and he sat and put the game together so we could play as a family.

Yes it is a basic roll and move game, but it is fun. Even if it turns into a 'Lets get Dad' variant. We have lots of better games that they play but if one of my children decides that they want to play 'Pokemon Yahtzee' or 'Ludo' or even 'Snakes & Ladders' (which my young daughter adores) then I'm more than happy to spend time with them.

It's not about what get played. it's about the time spent together.

Also, the building nature of the Lego game has encouraged some creativity from my son as he is constantly creating new boards and rules for the dice.
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Murray Grelis
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I see the encouragement of creativity as a major plus for this game.
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Kevin Taylor
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Xeenu wrote:
If You say the boy is seven years old and this is a game for him then I wonder if there are not better games out there. No Lego pieces but better game play. And not roll and move.



Chances are the Lad isn't from a gaming family so if you tried to palm "Carcassonne" or even "Zooloretto" off onto him he probably wouldn't thank you for it. gulp

Unfortunately image and branding means everything to children.

Anyway, I quite like the sound of this particular Lego game with it's "moving walls" to play with my little one.

And yes, I've already got a similar "Labyrinth" game but he wouldn't be interested in it! Stick Lego on it and Voila! Jobs a good'un.
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Gerald Rüscher
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Xeenu wrote:
If You say the boy is seven years old and this is a game for him then I wonder if there are not better games out there. No Lego pieces but better game play. And not roll and move.

E.g. Zooloretto or Carcassonne are publisher-recommended to ages 8 and up, same goes for a lot of the popular family games.

I agree! My boy is 6 1/2 years old and he loves LEGO but finds the LEGO board games rather boring. He definitely prefers stripped down versions of Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride. The point here is that LEGO and boardgames are two very different activities which don't mix too well. LEGO is creative while gaming is more analytical. For instance, I find Creationary rather annoying: Build small LEGO models, but with a very limited set of bricks and with limited time. What's the point here? Is it assumed to be more fun to build a model if the bricks I need are missing and if I'm in a hurry? From my point of view definitely not.

The "best" LEGO game I've played so far is Lunar Command but by regular board game standards this still rates at most 6/10.
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Andreas
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I hope I did not hijack this post. If the original poster sends me a geekmail I will make my own "is it worth it" thread - but he did one of the until now very few reviews of a Lego games on the geek and he rated it quite highly.

Yes there are maybe different standards involved - the kids like it and they like branding. Make that Lego Star Wars for example... On a sidenote: A mother I know had her children select a game in the store. They wanted and got Mouse trap. Asked whether she likes it, no she likes the playing with the children, but would like it more with another game - e.g. Zooloretto which they also have. One of the boys is 11 now and I wonder how long he will continue playing Mouse trap. And Lego too btw.

Maybe depends on what they are used to as Gerald pointed out. A gamers son or daughter might be beyond roll and move in his/her game playing needs and wants. After all only the games for really small children have a pure roll and move mechanism without at least some decisions or some push your luck elements (at least if they are in any way recommended on the geek).
 
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Christopher Marx
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For what it's worth...

The design of the LEGO board games is purposefully stripped down, leaving many options open for changes to the rules. It is meant to encourage children to come up with their own variants. Since everything is made of LEGO bricks (including the dice), the games can be completely redesigned and rebuilt with a few extra bricks.

The value in these sets/games is in the creativity they encourage.

YMMV
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Mik Svellov
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Vistathon wrote:
Unfortunately image and branding means everything to children.

What makes you think adults are different?
Most adults enjoy buying expensive brands even though they can buy stuff with the same or even higher quality that have no brand.

Some even buy brands they know are faked.
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Andreas
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crumbb wrote:
For what it's worth...

The design of the LEGO board games is purposefully stripped down, leaving many options open for changes to the rules. It is meant to encourage children to come up with their own variants. Since everything is made of LEGO bricks (including the dice), the games can be completely redesigned and rebuilt with a few extra bricks.

The value in these sets/games is in the creativity they encourage.

YMMV


If its stripped down by purpose why then dont they include extra material to prop it up. Those games are not exactly cheap.
 
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Kevin Taylor
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Great Dane wrote:
Vistathon wrote:
Unfortunately image and branding means everything to children.

What makes you think adults are different?

What makes you think that I don't think that Adults are differant?

I was merely refering to the topic that was being discussed.
Ok let me rephrase it to - "Unfortunately image and branding means everything to everyone"
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Andreas
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I took the liberty of posting a new thread in the General Gaming forum. May perhaps the fellow geeks discuss their likes and dislikes of the Lego game line here: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/3916153#3916153?
 
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Gerald Rüscher
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crumbb wrote:
For what it's worth...

The design of the LEGO board games is purposefully stripped down, leaving many options open for changes to the rules. It is meant to encourage children to come up with their own variants. Since everything is made of LEGO bricks (including the dice), the games can be completely redesigned and rebuilt with a few extra bricks.

The value in these sets/games is in the creativity they encourage.


Of course you're right when you say that LEGO is designed to bring out creativity but IMHO this concept does not work with the LEGO board games.

When a kid plays with regular old-school LEGO (i.e. w/o the board game aspect) it's easy and rewarding to be creative. You just build your model with trial & error. If a design looks bad or is unstable you almost always recognize it immediately and can then correct your mistake instantly. It's a quick and intuitive process.

However this does not work with a board game. First of all, it takes quite some experience to change a rule in a meaningful way. And secondly, the result of this change is not obvious. You need to play the game (probably the *entire* game) to see how the new rule affects the game. And as far as I'm concerned, playtesting is rather work than fun. It simply takes too long. It's boring if the new rule was not a good choice. And it's probably very difficult for a kid to analyze why a certain rule set does not work.

Bottom line: Designing, building and testing 10 different LEGO model designs takes a kid an hour. Testing 10 different rule variants probably takes more than half a day (if the game is not stuffed back in the shelf after 30 minutes)

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Great Dane wrote:
Vistathon wrote:
Unfortunately image and branding means everything to children.


Some even buy brands they know are faked.


You think the Rolex watches one gets from turkish beach jewellers are not genuine??

soblue
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I have played this with a group of adults (not regular game players but enthusiastic from the start) and we all had a good time, with lots of people eager to join in / play again.

I agree that in such a game the victory condition should be all three men to the centre, this is how we played it.

I thought it was explicit in the rules provided that the Minotaur had to be on the player - the 'hug' situation is quite amusing though!

I think you can swap what's on the faces, but I forget what the provided alternative bits were.

I'd say it's a fun, reasonably cheap light game, and the brand will give it mass appeal. But I don't see it being played even as a filler by most people visiting BGG.
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mazarane wrote:
I'd say it's a fun, reasonably cheap light game, and the brand will give it mass appeal. But I don't see it being played even as a filler by most people visiting BGG.


I couldn't agree more. It's a toy at the end of the day which just happens to have a gaming element.
 
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Vistathon wrote:
mazarane wrote:
I'd say it's a fun, reasonably cheap light game, and the brand will give it mass appeal. But I don't see it being played even as a filler by most people visiting BGG.


I couldn't agree more. It's a toy at the end of the day which just happens to have a gaming element.


Cheap is relative. Lego Minotaurus is around 21-25 Euros retail. That puts it squarely in the price range of Haba and Selecta and near Drei Magier. Way above the price of Zooloretto and You can get Carcassonne with an expansion for that money.
 
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you could always try to use a good game and then use lego figures and pieces with it. if the kid likes that. if not, just give them the lego games if they want to play them.
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hwarang wrote:
you could always try to use a good game and then use lego figures and pieces with it. if the kid likes that. if not, just give them the lego games if they want to play them.


It has been done. Jason Spears showed us e.g. Lego Settlers here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/442350/page/2
 
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Xeenu wrote:
ixnay66 wrote:
Xeenu wrote:
Compared to these dont You think that the Lego gameplay (and relying solely on roll and move) leaves something to be desired? Or that one is better advised to buy regular Lego and another (better?) game?

surprisewhistle


The kid likes legos and he probably likes the game.
surprisewhistleshake


Yep but wouldnt he like a game from a renowned game publisher and with good ratings and reviews more? Or would his parents enjoy playing these with their children more? And how about the long term appeal?


That's just silly. Children don't care about how renowned a game publisher is. They don't care about reviews or ratings. Let kids be kids. They don't have to commit to playing a certain set of board games for the rest of their lives when they're seven years old.

Xeenu wrote:
If the original poster sends me a geekmail I will make my own "is it worth it" thread - but he did one of the until now very few reviews of a Lego games on the geek and he rated it quite highly.


I didn't think he rated it very highly. He just said that it was a fun game/toy for kids. Kids games and adults games are necessarily rated by different standards. Get over your idea that everyone should play the most sophisticated and well-designed games possible at all times. Sometimes it's just about kids playing with legos.
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Leezer wrote:
Xeenu wrote:
ixnay66 wrote:
Xeenu wrote:
Compared to these dont You think that the Lego gameplay (and relying solely on roll and move) leaves something to be desired? Or that one is better advised to buy regular Lego and another (better?) game?

:surprise::whistle:


The kid likes legos and he probably likes the game.
:surprise::whistle::shake:


Yep but wouldnt he like a game from a renowned game publisher and with good ratings and reviews more? Or would his parents enjoy playing these with their children more? And how about the long term appeal?


That's just silly. Children don't care about how renowned a game publisher is. They don't care about reviews or ratings. Let kids be kids. They don't have to commit to playing a certain set of board games for the rest of their lives when they're seven years old.

Xeenu wrote:
If the original poster sends me a geekmail I will make my own "is it worth it" thread - but he did one of the until now very few reviews of a Lego games on the geek and he rated it quite highly.


I didn't think he rated it very highly. He just said that it was a fun game/toy for kids. Kids games and adults games are necessarily rated by different standards. Get over your idea that everyone should play the most sophisticated and well-designed games possible at all times. Sometimes it's just about kids playing with legos.


I agree to disagree with the poster. A detailed discussion of the Lego games qualities or lack thereof can be found here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/3916153#3916153

While kids are kids the parents and uncles can have influence
- they might be careful in choosing christmas/birthday presents and take something that actually provides gameplay
- they might lend the children a hand and show them the pleasure of playing a good game that actually needs some decisions and rewards skillful play. Yes that needs time and effort.
- they might get Legos and games separately.

Its not about the renowned or not publishers. Its about good and bad games. And about the staying power. 2 examples regarding toys:

a) My father made wooden blocks for my brother and me himself (granted he had access to cheap wood and some professional tools. Bit it was a great idea nevertheless). Good, big blocks in 2 sizes with rounded edges so as to be safe. Those blocks could be used for EVERYTHING. With Legos, with Playmobil, as Jenga before Jenga was in our stores, as houses or for driving matchbox cars around... Great toy with enourmous staying power, now used by the grandchildren. Play value is approaching 40 years now!
b) My nephew had to get a Hotwheels shark themed set. An awful toy without any value except to the manufacturers balance sheet. Staying power almost nil. Play value for 1 hour max. Compare that to the blocks.

There IS a difference and the adults should be able to get it and at least TRY to get the good stuff that has long-term value.
 
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Calum M
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Goodness, I didn't expect my review to start all this debate!

I want to clarify my feelings about the game a bit. I did enjoy the game when I played it but this was probably mainly for two reasons:
1) I enjoy playing games with my nephew. I'd have been happy even if we were playing Happy Families or... yes... even Monopoly.
2) I have fairly low standards. There are very few games that I don't enjoy.

Now, I think I if I'd bought Ramses Pyramid with its 'roll a three to finish' rule I'd have been annoyed. That sounds like the hallmark of a bad game. That's the sort of thing that would make me dislike a game.

What I feel about Minotaurus is that it wasn't a bad game. It lacks depth and so this will affect its the numbers of times its played. And yes, there are better games out there but fundamentally I didn't feel that there was anything wrong with the gameplay.
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