Players: 2 to 4
Game Length: 15 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 2-4 children (or adults!) who want a memory maze game with a unique mechanism
The Magic Labyrinth is an innovative memory game that won the Kinderspiel des Jahres (that is, the German Children’s Game of the Year) in 2009, where the players are magician’s apprentices racing to pick up magic items within a maze. There’s just one catch – thanks to the wonders of magnetics, the maze itself is invisible!
At the start of the game, players will set up the maze by placing wooden barriers in a grid that sits below the board itself. After doing this, they’ll replace the board and spin it around, so they won’t be able to remember the orientation of the maze. From here, they place the player pieces on each corner, with a metal ball attached to the underside of the piece via a strong magnet, and the game may begin!
A token is drawn from a bag and placed on the space that matches it; this is the players’ target. If they hit a wall in their move, the metal ball will be dislodged and fall to one of the corners of the table, and they’ll have to start again from their corner! Once a token is reached, that player takes it and another is drawn from the bag. The game is typically played to 5 tokens but can go as long as you have tokens in the bag if you want.
Taking a move you haven’t taken before in the game is always done with trepidation – there’s a good chance you’ll be knocked off and have to start over. Even those moves you’ve already done can be problematic, depending on how good your memory is – you (and your opponents) will be howling with laughter when you confidently take a move you presumed safe, only to hear the characteristic plunk and roll of the marble as it falls off the board.
The Magic Labyrinth makes an excellent children’s game, and even a good game for adults looking for something light. Some among us may even find ourselves losing to children – it all depends on your memory skills! Naturally, it isn’t a particularly deep game, but it is still innovative with its clever use of magnets.
The ability to change the maze will keep the game fresh, and allow you to adjust the difficulty by placing more or fewer obstacles. Make sure to be gentle when adding or removing the wooden barriers, though; while the cardboard grid under the board is sturdy, if you aren’t careful you could find yourself tearing it, potentially ruining part of the game.
If you’re after a quick memory game that can be enjoyed by all ages, The Magic Labyrinth will keep you captivated, and comes highly recommended.