The king was accidentally turned into a frog! Gather your friends, stride across the forest, and find the correct ingredients to prepare a potion that will cure him in Magic Maze Kids!
Magic Maze Kids is a cooperative game that makes the original mechanisms of Magic Maze accessible to young players. Everyone controls all of the heroes, but only in one direction! Tutorials gradually teach you the rules, and several levels make the game evolve with the children.
The limited movement mechanic is used in a new way, with the addition of animals dotted around the board that must be shifted out of the way for characters to get past. The creatures are limited to a specific area of colour-coded squares but can otherwise be moved like the characters. On a map with two bridges, there’s also a troll who can be shifted between the bridges with the right direction.
The rules have been simplified from the full game, but the four characters still have unique powers – the prince can jump over an animal, the witch can take forest shortcuts, the wizard can make use of portals and the princess can travel along rivers. Magic Maze Kids is shaping up to be a friendlier take on an already fantastic game!
As an avid gamer with a limited gaming group, I’m eager to introduce my children to great games while they are still very young! My hope is that it will spark interest in them so that they then progress quicker to more complex games. If they enjoy a game that I put before them, that’s great, but better still is finding a game that both ignites their interest and is also an enjoyable experience for me! This, then, was my aspiration for Magic Maze kids. I’m going to share how successful it was in meeting that hope...
Magic Maze Kids (designed by Kasper Lapp) is a co-operative game that adapts the original Magic Maze game into a format accessible to young players. The theme is perfect for getting any young child’s attention...
The rulebook tells us that; 'The King did some experiments trying to make gold, but he accidentally turned himself into a frog. Now the Prince and the Princess, with the help of the Knight and the Wizard, are co-operating to brew a potion that can turn him back into his lion form.’
In Magic Maze Kids you don’t control a specific character; instead, every player can move any of the heroes or creatures at any time. However, you can only move them in the direction indicated on the Action tile in front of you. This means that all players have to co-operate in order to meet the mission goals and win the game. You either all win or all lose! Unlike the original Magic Maze, you are allowed to talk and communicate with each other as much as you like.
I’m of the opinion that children will learn skills and knowledge from most modern board games. However, what Magic Maze Kids brings to the table, which most other games don’t, is the opportunity for children to improve teamwork, communication and co-operation. Having a very competitive four-year-old son, it brings a refreshing change of approach for him in the world of gaming!
Accessibility and Replay-ability
The rulebook contains tutorials which serve to teach the rules in a gradual way. It’s a clever way of helping children to understand the rules but it also means everyone can start playing sooner rather than later.
The game box tells us that it’s suitable for those of us who are five years or older. I was actually able to move through the tutorials quite quickly with my four-year-old. He learned and understood the rules quickly and he particularly enjoys using the special abilities that each hero possesses. This means that he sometimes prefers to sacrifice using the quickest route to success in order to move the heroes in a way that uses their special powers!
Having played Magic Maze Kids many times now, my son and I win the game on most occasions. An excellent inclusion in the rulebook though is the final page which details seven additional challenges that can be added to the game to make it more difficult. These include rules that require the swapping of action tiles and the prohibiting of speaking and other communication. We will definitely be using these more in order to hold our interest in the game.
Whilst these optional rules improve the replay-ability of the game, my only criticism of Magic Maze Kids is that I would have liked more game boards to play on. I think a couple of extra boards, or a way of merging the boards that are included, would help to provide a different type of challenge as well as providing more variety of gameplay.
All-Age Fun? Final Thoughts on Magic Maze Kids
So, were my hopes for Magic Maze Kids met? In short, yes! We’ve had a blast playing this game... my lad is repeatedly requesting to play it and whilst it’s not my favoured strategy-heavy type of game, I couldn’t expect much better from a game that both me and my four-year-old can play together. We’ve laughed, screamed and solved problems together whilst playing this game. It’s been a great bonding experience. What more could I ask for!?