Posted 20 hours ago

Sit Down, Magic Maze, Strategy Card Game, Ages 8+, 1-8 Players, 15+ Minutes Playing Time

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In ideal circumstances you’re not so much sacrificing the social side of the game as you are boiling it until the lid blasts off and kills someone. The rules say to flip tiles using just one hand–you can’t hold the deck in your hand–and this one is too hard for me to police. The best Magic Maze gives you is the comedy of silence – to have an entire table staring at you waiting for you to make the obvious move that you can’t see.

You need to find the fun in someone banging a pawn in front of you while you become ever more increasingly aware of the fact that you’re the bottleneck in the whole unfolding disaster – that nobody can do anything until you do the one critical yet entire hidden thing that unblocks everyone else. Due to the forced lack of communication, all players are instead invited to place the “Do Something” Pawn in front of their comrades when they spot another player could make a move. Whether it’s Pandemic or Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert, I prefer to keep time around the table competitive. The biggest challenge in Magic Maze is keeping your mouth shut, but when you manage that you discover a fantastic co-op game that is quite unlike anything else I’ve played.As such you’re often in a situation where you can’t do anything to progress the goal you have and are completely ignorant of the goal of the person angrily banging the gavel in front of you. You get to talk and laugh about the successes and failures because they reveal something of you as a person and something of your relationship with the spymaster/spymistress. For my lunch games group, for example, I brought them through all of the rules in three or four games, knowing how much they could handle. I suppose it’s becoming more common to provide solitaire components in game boxes, but it was still a surprise to find these tiles.

It also allows “alpha gamer” quarterbacks–the bane of most cooperative games–an outlet for their direction of the other players without the annoyance of actually directing their moves. Not like any other game I’ve played before, it’s really good fun and gets you thinking and playing in a new way. Disclaimer: You don’t actually have to bang the pawn – you’re just supposed to place it in front of someone.Well a simple set of four characters drawn of the archetypes of the RPG world – a dwarf, an elf, a sorcerer and a barbarian. Many people absolutely love Magic Maze, and even the ones that don’t love it seem to find it a fun experience.

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