Game on: Labyrinth

This isn’t a nod to the mid 80s film, but a board game that I got the chance to play while on holiday.

In German it’s Das Verrueckte Labyrinth (or the crazy/mad labyrinth). I was playing it in Italy, and didn’t think to check what it said on the side of the box – I was too keen to play it again.

To be honest, we have a set at home, so I should get it out and play some more, instead of just revisiting it every once in a  while.

But when you are playing with at least one other player who rather likes legends and stories, and leads a discussion on which picture you like best in the labyrinth, that is further reason to sit down and play. Without. Further. Ado.

The game

Labyrinth is a Ravensburger game – which is an indication of quality as far as I’m concerned.

Ravensburger is a German company, and I started trying out their games when doing school exchanges to Germany. (Another great one is their sleuthing game, set in London, with more than a nod to Sherlock Holmes.)

Anyway, let’s get my enthusing down to a manageable level. As the name suggests, you are making your way through a labyrinth – less minotaur, more castle dungeon, if that helps you picture it.

The labyrinth has a mixture of directional tiles, if you will – some are straight paths, some are T-junctions, and some are elbow junctions (ie they look like the shape of an elbow joint).

Your task is to move through the labyrinth, following the path that makes most sense to you, to look for treasure.


The point where the discussion started earlier was relating to the visuals.  The stone walls denoting the dungeon bit are easy to imagine, but there’s around 25 tiles with pictures on too.

Some of the pictures are on fixed tiles; others are on moveable tiles.

If you ever played Dungeons and Dragons games, or can think back to any kind of quest story, you can probably imagine some of the pictures.  They include pictures of jewels, goblets, swords.

They have also have a mixtures of characters: princess, wizard, goblin, ghost and so on. Finally, you’ll find animals: moth, frog etc.

Despite the D&D reference, this is drawn in a friendly, rather than frightening, style.

Object of the game

This is a game where you each have a piece to move around the board – but no dice are required (which can help if your junior player has had enough of counting on dice for one day).

Each piece has a starting point, in the four corners of the (square) board.

At the start of the game, everyone is dealt a number of cards to show you what you need to collect on your quest – these match the tiles on the board.  You move around the board, ‘collecting’ these in the order you have them in your hand.

Once you’ve visited a picture, you declare it (by turning your card face up). The person who visits/collects all their cards, and gets back to their starting position, is the winner.

Moving around the board

The board has a mixture of fixed tiles and spaces. You have an extra amount of moveable tiles that you fit into the spaces to fill up the board. And – one more.

Having one spare tile means that you can insert it at the edge of the board, into a row which is made of moveable tiles. (You obviously can’t move the fixed tiles, though you will find yourself wishing you could, at at least one point in the game.)

Being able to move a row of tiles means that you can adjust the configuration of the labyrinth. This means you need to look ahead – what row can you move that will make the tiles line up better for you?


You can play with just two players. We played as a foursome – this can make it more fun and more complicated, as one person’s ‘good move’ of tiles can undo the planning work of another.

One thing you’re not allowed to do is ‘undo’ the go of the person before you ie you can’t just move the row back to where it was. Other than that, you can move any row you want to – you have to move a row before moving a piece.

Occasionally, the labyrinth is lining up well for you, and you don’t need to move a row – but you still have to move something.  So as well as planning your route, it’s good to work out which row you can move that doesn’t affect where you want to go.

One move I should add in, which I particularly like, is where you have your piece at the edge of the board, in a moveable position. You can use the spare tile to move that row so that your piece comes off the edge of the board – it then goes back on the opposite side of the board.

This can be great if you are getting stuck in your section of the labyrinth – and speeds up getting to where you want to go.

Length of game

The game can take time, particularly if there are several of you playing, and complicating each other’s moves through the labyrinth. I anticipate you could play it with fewer cards to collect/visit, which would speed up the game.

My visual ability decreased the more I chatted during the game, and I ended up having to ask the two (not so) junior players where I needed to go to finish up.  They were rather more interested in beating each other than I was.

Lest you think that this game is out of reach, I’m pretty sure we found ours at a reasonable price on Amazon. Don’t worry about language either – the box has instructions in multiple languages.  And the cards themselves are just pictures, so they’re easy to use.

So if you have a reasonable stretch of time ahead, a coffee just made, a wet day outside, and some agreeable companions for questing with – go forth into the labyrinth.

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