Labyrinth Card Game: Two Variants

Based on the card game for 2-6 players by Max Kobbert, published by Ravensburger
These comments copyright 2000 by Steffan O'Sullivan
This page last updated July 6, 2000

Labyrinth das Kartenspiel (Labyrinth the Card Game) is the fifth game in the popular Labyrinth series. I had high hopes for it, as I enjoy Master Labyrinth, and love games where you build the board with tiles or cards.

I was mildly disappointed. It's an okay, game, almost as good as Master Labyrinth - but I had wanted something better! While it's probably a very good game with children, operating at a nice level for them, it's not as exciting as I'd hoped it would be when played with an all-adult group of hard-core gamers. Oh, it's not bad - just not great.

So, of course, I wrote my own versions, two of which are presented here after a brief description of the official game. Not that they're great, either, but at least they'll tax your brain more ...

The Official Game

The game comes with 50 attractive square cards, each resembling a tile in Master Labyrinth, except they each have two treasures printed right on them. There are 25 different treasures, each appearing on four different cards. The game starts with four cards in the center of the table, and each player with two cards in their hands. On your turn, you play one card, trying to create a connecting path between a treasure printed on the card you played and on a treasure in the existing layout. If you do, you collect the card with treasure that was on the table (not the card you played), provided you can leave an intact labyrinth on the table (all cards connected by edges, though not necessarily by paths). Draw a replacement card, and it's the next player's turn.

Play until the deck runs out. Each card you collected during the game is worth one victory point. That's basically it.

It's not bad, but the "true gamer" in me wants something more challenging. So, for the gamers in the audience, here are two variants:

Labyrinth the Card Game: Caffeinated Variant

Copyright © 2000 by Steffan O'Sullivan

To start the game, place four cards randomly in the center of the table and deal two cards to each player - no change so far.

Each player gets two actions each turn. An action can be:

  1. Play a card to the labyrinth, so as to connect a path to an adjacent card.
  2. Rotate a card 90 degrees - you do not have to maintain paths.
  3. Draw a card, up to the maximum hand size of six cards.
You may take your actions in any order, repeating an action if desired. That is, you may rotate one card 180 degrees (for two actions), or rotate two different cards 90 degrees each, or play two cards, or draw two cards, or some combination of those actions. If you draw a card as your first action, you may play it in the same turn as your second action.

Once an action is taken, you may not take it back! There is no "pre-rotating" to see if a given move will do what you think it will do. This is the master version - learn to live with your mistakes, Grasshopper.

At the end of your turn, collect cards for points - do not collect any cards until all your actions are completed. You may collect any card that has a matching treasure connected by paths, subject to the following rules:

  1. You may not collect a card you played during your turn - mark them with tokens or coins to show which may not be removed. You may collect a card you merely rotated, however.
  2. Every card remaining in the labyrinth after you collect cards must be connected to another card by an edge, not just by a corner. There does not have to be a valid path between a card and another card, so long as there is a common edge.
  3. The entire labyrinth must be connected edge to edge. For example, you cannot leave a group of two cards, even if they are edge to edge, separated from the rest of the labyrinth, or joined to it only at corners.
  4. You must leave at least one card from each set of treasures you collected this turn. This treasure must be one that was part of the connected set. For example, if you connect three Crowns, you may take any two of them subject to the rules above.
  5. You may collect cards with treasures even if you didn't play any cards with those treasures. Simply creating connecting paths, either by rotation or tracing through a card you played, allows you to collect cards, subject to the rules above.
Collected cards may not be used in your hand - put them in a separate victory point pile. Every card collected during the game is worth one victory point at the end of the game.

After collecting cards for points, draw a card (even if you took an action to draw a card during your turn). This final drawing of a card is free - it costs no actions. Maximum hand size is six cards, however - you may not draw a card if you already have six cards.

Summary of Play:

  1. Perform two actions from the following list of available actions:
    • Play a card
    • Rotate a card 90 degrees
    • Draw a card (up to maximum hand size: 6)
  2. Collect cards for your victory point pile (according to the rules above)
  3. Draw a card (up to maximum hand size: 6)

Labyrinth the Card Game: Steroids Variant

Copyright © 2000 by Steffan O'Sullivan

If, instead of mere caffeine, you want a mega-steroids variant, use the Caffeinated rules above, but with three actions instead of two.

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