Today’s visit to the beautiful Chateau Fontainebleau south of Paris, and especially its expansive gardens, have provided the tangential inspiration for today’s idea. In essence the game is mechanical mix of Tsuro and slightly heavier Euro-action selection games, all with a mystical medieval theme. There is also something of Sara Douglass and her excellent Troy Game series in this game – the idea that players are together weaving a magical labyrinth and then traversing it is an idea that I absolutely loved in the series.
Day 27: Labyrinths
The game begins with the central hexagonal castle tile being placed in the middle of the board, and each player taking a number of pieces of their colour. The pieces represent the agents of that player who are going to walk the mystical paths of the labyrinth as it is created. Over the course of the game, players are going to be placing more hexagonal labyrinths tiles around the central tile, each tile containing one or more lines that create paths through the labyrinth, as well as symbols of power that are activated when players pass them on their route.
A players turn is very straightforward – first they draw and place a new tile into the layout, and then they may either move an agent, or place a new agent on the central tile. When a player moves their agent, that agent moves along a line of their choice until they reach an unoccupied tile, and then they get to take the action corresponding to the power symbol on that tile. Additionally, if they pass over other pieces, they get to take the matching minor action of that tile as well, with the player who is occupying that tile gaining 1 point. If they pass over their own agent, they get nothing.
There are also some obstacles along some of the lines on the tiles – these cannot be passed by a player’s pieces until that player has the necessary knowledge (each obstacle is colour coded) – one of the power symbol’s action is to activate your knowledge of one type. Other actions include gaining points, placing new agents on the central tile, or moving unoccupied tiles, or increasing the value of certain power symbols in the final scoring.
Some tiles show a dead end for one of the lines – once a line has two dead ends (one on each side of the central tile), that path is closed, and no agents may be placed or moved on it. At the end of the game, points are awarded to player who has the most agents on that path – they gain points for each power symbol on that path according to its value. Once all paths are closed, the game ends.
I must admit as I was writing this I wasn’t exactly sure how the moving around could be interesting – although as long as you are able to switch paths via the central tile, you have the option of being mobile and taking more actions directly, or trying to block more tiles and gaining points as other players pass over you. The timing of when the dead end pieces come into the game would probably have to be controlled carefully as well, perhaps by shuffling the six tiles into the bottom quarter of the pile. In any case – do you think the central mechanism works, or would you change it in some way?