My childhood Christmases always involved playing Monopoly on the family room floor, and if that doesn’t sound enough like an idyllic Dylan Thomas evening (A Child’s Christmas in Wales, people, not “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”), I have no memories of ever squabbling with my cousins over who got to be the shoe or the boat, just sheer excitement that we could fill out a boardgame, and endless hopes that the adults would keep talking over their sherry just a little bit longer.
So Stick and I went looking for a good Christmas game for our first-grade niece (since she wasn’t going to get her dreidel), a good Useless Present that we could play with her on Christmas, and Ron from the Game Connection recommended Labrynth.
Labyrinth is marked as ages 8 and up, but because Isabelle is so smart, we thought we’d give it a try. It’s very hard to put an age designation on the difficulty; there’s no reading involved, but players need a good sense of spacial relationships, and they must able to plan ahead and anticipate future moves. This fits Isabelle — she’s a lethal Connect Four player when she remembers to plan her moves ahead.
The object of the game is to move your token through a constantly-shifting maze, collecting treasure and hoping that the other players don’t ruin your planned path (either accidentally or on purpose!). Izzy’s Nana joined us to make up four players, and, even if it’s a bit strange to me to be one of the adults playing, it’s still exciting to get a full boardgame going on Christmas.