This year at Phoenix ComiCon I was able to try out a game created by Robert Huss and originally distributed by The Game Crafter website.
“Alien Labyrinth” is a game for two to four players and is played in about 30 minutes.
In the game you and your fellow players are stranded aboard spaceship in an unknown part of space, with only one way off, an escape pod. The only problem is the pod just has one seat available on it.
So to be able to escape, you have to explore the spaceship trying to collect items that you will be able to trade in for credits, because you need ten credits to buy the final seat on the escape pod.
On a players turn, you have four actions, the actions can be used to move your pawn, rotate a room clockwise (either the room you are currently in or one adjacent to it), or you can enter an unexplored room. However, if you enter an unexplored room that will end your turn, but you will collect an item for being the first person into that room.
Now when I sat down to play “Alien Labyrinth” with fellow Lucky Mint staff member, Patrick Mueller, my first impression was it seemed very much like a game I had played previously.
The game that I had played that seemed similar was “Room-25.” In that game you play characters that have mysteriously been placed inside a square chamber. You have to explore several rooms to try and find room 25 to be able to escape.
With that, I had some concerns as I sat down, but as the rules were explained to me and I actually started to play the game, I realized there were some differences.
One of the biggest differences was in the complexity of the game, as “Alien Labyrinth” was less complicated and didn’t have as many phases per player turn.
What I enjoyed about this game was the fact that it was not a complex one, making it easy to pick up and play. It also makes it extremely easy to teach it to other people.
Huss talked about families stopping by previously asking to borrow the game so they could play it together. So regardless of the screw-your-neighbor type play, it’s still less cut-throat than Monopoly or some other games.
For these reasons I would consider this a possible gateway game that is good for introducing people to board games.
However, there are some issues that I do have with the game, first and foremost, the theme. The theme feels very just cut and paste to me. It provides no substance to the game and what I mean by that is you can put whatever theme on it like alien ship, haunted house or mystery cube like a movie that “Room-25” reminded me of.
Another problem I have with “Alien Labyrinth” was the artwork, as it was bland and unoriginal. Although talking with Huss he is hoping that the artwork will be updated since the game was picked up by Foam Brain Games, as all he used was pretty much clip art.
The box for the game could also use some better artwork, I understand the idea behind the font on the box, so you can read the title from either side, but the font is ugly. That may also get an update courtesy of FBG.
Also another gripe that may be fixed with the new publisher were the pieces, not that they were extremely bad, but I would have went a different direction on some. For example, I would have looked for something a bit better than blue discs for the credits.
The things I didn’t like about the game are being nit picky, but one bit of advice I can give to future game creators is make sure that your box looks appealing. Nothing hurts a game more than ugly box syndrome.
Overall, the game was simple enough to grasp and enjoyable and can be a great to play with the family as well as one that can be used to introduce people to tabletop games.
If you are looking to pick up a quick filler game or something that is good to play with your family, feel free to give “Alien Labyrinth” from FBG.