Geek Girls Rule! #78 – Review: Living Labyrinth

Disclaimer:  I am very good friends with Julie Haehn, the creator of Living Labyrinth, however, I am also a good enough friend that if it sucked, I’d say it sucked.

THAT out of the way, Living Labyrinth does not suck.  Not in the least.  Julz gave the Geek Husband What Rules a copy for his birthday (signed even).   I actually held off on playing this just in case I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to have to tell her that.   We broke it out this past Sunday at a friend’s house, and had a blast playing it.

The game is for two to four players.  The labyrinth is laid out at random in a five by five square.  You start at one side of the labyrinth, your goal is at the opposite side.  You are dealt four cards, and using the actions on those cards, which enable you to flip tiles, turn tiles and move tiles, you begin to work your way across the labyrinth.  The game definitely has a high “screw your neighbor” factor, in that you can both make your way easier and obstruct the other players by accident and on purpose.  My one complaint is that the directions are not as clear as I would like, however, I also have no suggestions for making them more clear, so take that with a grain of salt.  Plus they have some rules clarifications on the website.

We played the game through twice in less than an hour.  There was much shouting and several “Ah HA!” moments, as well as a lot of name-calling and threats as paths across the labyrinth were closed off both incidentally and on purpose.  I discovered quickly that in my circle of friends the key to winning is to keep quiet and let them screw with each other repeatedly, until suddenly they notice, “Hey, not only has Mickey not been joining in the name-calling, she’s ALMOST WINNING!! STOP HER!!”  By the time they noticed, I was already to a point where I could counter pretty much anything they threw at me, and it only took me an extra turn to win.

Living Labyrinth definitely has high party game potential.  It’s a lot of fun.  Easy to learn, particularly with the rules clarification on the site.  The concept is easy enough to grasp that both young children and drunken adults* can learn and play it in short order.   I highly recommend this game for just about anyone, particularly if you’re really into simple strategy games.   The only downside is that only four people can play at a time… Well, eight if you play in teams.

*You’ll note that since I do not have children, my qualifications for good games involve, “Can I learn this drunk?”  Fluxx  kind of fails at this, since my drunken friends have a hard time with the concept of “the rules change?  all the time?”

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