We’re all fans of mazes. Whether it be the giant hedges straight out of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; the endless, chaotic Queen of Heart’s maze from Alice in Wonderland; or just the run-of-the-mill logic mazes.
Labyrinth is no different.
This meandering, puzzle board game sends players on a quest for treasure among changing brick walls and corridors. Previously open pathways transform at the drop of a hat, causing you to rethink your direction and wander further into the maze.
With a playing time of only 20 minutes or less, you’re sure to find yourself getting lost in the Labyrinth.
Brief Overview of Labyrinth
This twisting maze can accompany up to four players at a time and is a great buy for family game night. It’s not as complex as other puzzle games produced by Ravensburger, such as Castles of Burgundy or Puerto Rico. You can play with children as young as seven years old; they’re sure to catch on quickly (and possibly beat you).
Just as well, Labyrinth is a shorter game, so you’ll only be stuck in the corners and corridors of the maze for around 20-30 minutes! This 7×7 grid has one tile out of place at all times, so as players take their turns changing the structure of the labyrinth, you may find yourself at a dead end.
It’s a classic, treasure-collecting race to the finish!
This component list is short and sweet. Labyrinth includes:
- 1 game board
- 34 maze tiles (12 tiles with objects, 13 straight path tiles, 9 right angle path tiles)
- 24 treasure cards
- 4 playing pieces
The game board comes with 16 fixed path tiles. These tiles are not the same as the maze tiles, which players will shuffle and place randomly throughout the maze. Both the fixed and randomized maze tiles are made from heavy-duty cardboard, with stone artwork similar to Super Mario.
Actually, Ravensburger does offer a Super Mario Labyrinth edition, which makes total sense once you see the original game art.
The cards are hard cardstock, polished with identical treasure images that you’ll deal out to each player. After looking through all the components myself, I’d give the components a durability factor of 9/10. If you sleeve the cards, you’ll be golden.
The four-player pawns are constructed from plastic and in the form of wizards, knights, and cute witchy identities.
Labyrinth’s cover art is nostalgic, creative, and appealing to younger audiences. This shouldn’t prevent adults from playing, though, as getting back to the starting line after completing your quests isn’t as easy as you’d imagine.
How to Play Labyrinth
Gather round, gather round. Before you set off into the maze full of treasures and mystery, here are a few things you must know about how to play Labyrinth.
- Shuffle the path tiles, and place them on the board to form the initial maze pathways. You will have one spare tile that will be placed throughout the maze to jumble the corridors.
- Shuffle the 24 treasure cards and deal them evenly to each player, face down.
- Every player starts in a corner of the maze. Whoever was the last to go on a treasure hunt, goes first!
As the game begins, all players glance at the top card in their treasure pile. This is their first goal.
You’ll need to do everything you can to get to this treasure token before you can move on to claim other valuable possessions. In your turn you’ll do two actions:
- Insert a tile into the maze.
- Move your player pawn.
1st Action: Changing the maze
However, not all rows and columns in the maze allow you to insert a maze tile. There are 16 fixed path tiles that force players to rethink their movements.
Just as one tile is inserted into the maze, another is forced out. The following player is not allowed to reinsert the displaced tile into the same position it was before.
This step causes an uproar of commotion, even for the player making the decision because they must change the maze before they’re able to move their pawn. You may be within arm’s reach of your intended treasure, but then find yourself walled in, needing to completely rethink your route.
2nd Action: Moving your pawn
Players are allowed to move their pawns as far as they like, or not move them at all. Occasionally, it’s better to sit out a turn if it places you closer to the treasure you’re looking for the following round.
Once you grab the treasure that matches your treasure card, you’ll reveal this card, leaving it face-up in front of you as you set out to collect your next treasure goal.
Labyrinth ends once a player turns over all their treasure cards and returns to their starting position. This player is not only the richest player in the game, but they’re also the winner!
Pros & Cons
- Simple but strategic
- Easily digestible mechanics
From opening the box to placing the first maze tile — it’ll take less than 10 minutes. This is ideal for set-up and tear-down when playing with children as it leaves little to no downtime.
The game is exceptional for its simple, yet strategic gameplay elements. You can place tiles to have an immediate effect, or sit back and observe a quicker path to your treasure piece for the next round. Little actions make all the difference, and things change quickly.
It’s not just your actions that are influenced by your tile placement — it’s your opponents as well! When you insert a tile, you may be clearing your opponent’s path to their intended treasure. This is where Labyrinth flourishes in strategy.
- Game-ending complications
While it’s safe to say that Labyrinth is an easy game, winning is no easy matter. Once one player flips all their treasure cards, it’s all eyes on them as they race to the finish. With a four-player game, this creates a 3 versus 1 battle to the exit.
Rightfully so, but the game doesn’t need to change so drastically when one player snags their final piece. Sure, players should play more defensively, but what about their treasure collecting?
I found it took longer to get back to my starting position than it did to collect all 7 pieces of treasure. This could be a significant downfall when playing with children if all other players gang up on their exit.
As a parent, this would be a good spot to initiate some sort of house rules to mitigate a breakdown. For all other players, remember that not all hope is lost. You should still attack but maintain a valiant effort in your treasure collection in the meantime.
Versions of Labyrinth
There are many versions of Labyrinth that have come out in the decades since its release. From Oceans to Disney villains, PAW Patrol to Frozen and glow-in-the-dark, there is a Labyrinth for everybody!
Labyrinth gets five gold stars from me for surprising me with its adaptability while being strategic enough to keep me interested. Games that accommodate a range of ages and playing levels belong in every gamer’s nook, so Labyrinth has definitely found a home in mine.
As it’s less than a half hour from start to finish, you’re able to serve up maze-madness in multiple doses, without breaking your brain. It’s competitive but humorous, changing direction (literally and figuratively) throughout the entire gameplay.
We hope you enjoyed our Labyrinth review! This classic children’s board game was a childhood favorite for me and many of my friends. Luckily, Ravensburger has continued printing new and improved editions, themed versions, and reskins of the classic.
Have you and your family tried Labyrinth? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.