A dwarf, an elf, a mage and a warrior have lost all their weapons and all their treasure. They can’t buy new weapons without treasure, but they can’t pillage new treasure without weapons. What are they to do? This isn’t the set up for a joke, it’s the basis of one of my favourite games.

1-8 players
Ages 8+
3-15 minute game time

I’m a big fan of cooperative games, and of games that break the norm and get you thinking. Magic Maze is both of these things wrapped up in a neat little white box. This game is akin to walking the dog, but with 4 different people controlling your limbs.

Magic Maze is a real-time, cooperative game that scales in difficulty based on scenarios and the number of players. The goal is to get the tokens to their respective weapons, and then out again without the timer running out. The premise sounds pretty simple, until you throw these spanners in the works…

  • Everybody plays at the same time
  • Everybody plays all tokens, but only controls specific actions (moving north, using escalators, etc)
  • There is a timer that you can’t let run out
  • You must do this in complete silence

What you end up with is a game where everybody wins and loses together, as the team works towards ripping off the kindhearted and friendly shop-keeps of the shopping centre. If you want to see some of the gameplay, check out the video below from one of our Magic Maze games nights. We may have let these newcomers to the game point and gesture (because not talking was proving too difficult), but it was still a lot of fun.

To ease our first-timers into their first game of silent Magic Maze last night we decided to allow pointing and nudging. The result was pretty amusing 😀 #magicmaze #silentgamesnight

Posted by BrainHackr on Saturday, 23 December 2017

If you have trouble diving into games then fear not with this one, as Magic Maze has a great built-in learning curve. The game book includes many scenarios, and each scenario tends to add at least one extra rule to the game. In the first scenario you can talk and all tokens exit through the same door. From the second scenario there’s no talking and tokens exit through their respective coloured doors. Future scenarios add features like dwarf-sized tunnels, crystal balls, and more special surprises.

I have to give the designers props for their accessibility focus for this one. Wherever the characters’ unique colours appear they are accompanied by icons, making play easier for colour blind players. I love this, as few games seem to keep players with disabilities in mind. The tokens also come with stickers to apply, to ensure the icons are ever present.

If you’re a fan of co-op games then try this one out. Personally I feel more accomplishment from winning a few rounds of Magic Maze than other games like Pandemic or Hot Shots. It’s a different co-op experience, and one that is definitely worth a go.

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