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10 Family Favorites Under $25

by Kathleen, owner of Labyrinth

There have been numerous reports lately of people feeling more depressed or stressed than normal, and I’ve been feeling it too. The weight of the last year lays heavy on all our shoulders. Many of us are burnt out - so tired of being home alone or with our families. Or is it just me? Spring is here bringing warmer weather and vaccines, and I’m starting to feel hopeful that one day we’ll see an end to this horrible quarantine, but I still often feel anxious and grumpy. My kid and I have been spending way too much time on screens which seems to make us both more irritable.

Just the other day, I was listening to a podcast about the healing powers of play, and it reminded me why I opened Labyrinth – to bring people together to enjoy brain-stimulating, unplugged fun. When was the last time you really laughed? We are better, healthier, happier, and much more successful when we take time to play. Scheduling time to play isn’t a luxury or something you should do only after you’ve finished cleaning the house or clearing your inbox. Turning off screens and playing a game or doing a puzzle with your family or friend bubble shouldn’t be relegated to when you can find the time. You need to schedule it. Do it regularly. Your mental health may depend on it.

This is your call (and mine) to make time to play a game or puzzle. Try a new one. Bring out an old favorite. Post a picture on our social media. @labyrinthdc on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

In case you are ready for a new game, here’s a list of ten of our favorite, family-friendly games under $25. These are generally easy to learn, quick to play, and great for a wide range of ages from grandparents to younger kids. They should all play in about 20 minutes.
 
10 Gallon Tank – From local game designer David Smith, this game has you try to build the most beautiful aquarium. It is good for 2 to 5 players, aged 8+.

Animal Upon Animal – This animal stacking game is truly great for all ages. It is recommended for 2 to 4 players from 4 years old to adult.

Bear Down! – In this 2 to 4 player game, you strategically move your bears to catch salmon, but be careful not to tumble off the waterfall. It is great for ages 6 to adult.

Cahoots – This is a fantastic cooperative, card game for 2 to 4 players. It should be good for ages 7 to adult. You try to play a card of either the same color or number into one of 4 stacks trying to achieve certain goals.

Kingdomino – Build a kingdom with varied terrains on domino-shaped tiles in this award-winning, fast family game. It plays well with 2 to 4 players. We’ve played it with kids as young as 5 years old.

LLAMA – I’ve laughed so much playing this game. Everyone seems to love it. It’s a little bit like more advanced Uno. It’s a very enjoyable adult game for 2 to 6 players that can be easily played by kids as young as 6.

No Thanks! – This is our go-to game when we do not know the crowd we’ll be playing with. Anyone can play and enjoy it. It’s a push your luck game that will result in tons of laughter. This plays 3 to 7 players and is recommended for ages 8+.

Punto – This is one of my family’s favorite travel games. It comes in a tiny box, plays well at 2 or 4 players, and can be played in a small space. You try to create a line in your color of 5 cards, but you can’t always place them where you’d like. It is recommended for 7 year olds to adults.
 
The Game – Another fantastic, cooperative card game in which you are trying to play all of your cards in ascending or descending piles, with strict placement rules and limited communication between players. It plays 1 to 5 players, aged 8 and up.

Weight for It! – This is a new favorite which mixes strategy and physics. Players take turns placing weights onto a spinning wheel to try and make it rotate so the correct colored arrow is aligned with the number on their card. When the staff played, there was a ton of laughter (and some not super family friendly language). We are looking forward to both playing this with kids AND at Boozy Board Game Night one day. It’s recommended for 2 to 4 players aged 8 and up.
 
 

 

Staff Pick of the Month

Maglev Metro, by Yoni Gray



Maglev Metro is a gorgeous new game by Ted Alspach (creator of Suburbia, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, and a wide variety of Werewolf games). Seriously, look at the pictures of the board and pieces. The overlapping routes! The metal trains! The meeples that go inside the trains! All that and Ted’s name on the box made this an instant buy for me. As it turns out, it plays really well too!


 
Each player gets a train, a set of acrylic hexagons printed with train lines, and a player board which starts with a few metallic robots on it. Those robots unlock actions you can perform on your turn. You’ll usually start by building some track to existing stations or to construction areas. Once you have track that goes there, you can build new stations in those blank spaces. You can also use actions to move your train, pick up robots, and drop them off at their destinations.
 
Getting a robot to where it wants to go will add it to your board to unlock more options on your future turns. You might decide you want to be able to build more track per action, or turn your train around in the middle of your route. You might even decide to unlock new passenger types, including human commuters! This opens up new station colors and new meeples to ride on your train, and delivering these passengers to their destinations can seriously rack up points.
 
The game supports 2-4 players and is recommended for ages 14+. The aesthetic of the overlapping tiles is most satisfying with all 4 players, but the game still feels balanced with 2 or 3. (There’s also a solo mode, but I haven’t tried it yet.) The board is double-sided: Manhattan makes it easier to build and rebuild your train line quickly, while Berlin rewards more careful long-term planning. Once everyone has the rules down, either board takes about 60-90 minutes to play.
 
Who is this game for? If you like spatial reasoning and route planning, this game will be very satisfying for you. There’s a lot of strategic depth for players who are looking for it, but you can also play more casually (especially on the Manhattan map). Fans of management simulation, skill tree, and/or engine building mechanics will enjoy optimizing the robots and commuters on their player board to make the most of their future turns and maximize their score.
 
Who should stay away? The rulebook is clear and thorough, but there’s a lot to read and remember—this is not a simple game. Also avoid this one if the thought of lining up the overlapping tiles or fiddling with the tiny meeples and trains gives you anxiety (though I find it extremely satisfying).

What other games does Yoni like? I’m a big fan of Suburbia (another Ted Alspach game with hexagons). I tend to really enjoy games that involve spatial reasoning, progression, engine building, and/or complex scoring. I don’t really do cooperative games, and prefer either high “puzzly-ness” or high player interaction—or both! Long-time favorites include Carcassonne, Dominion, Power Grid, and 7 Wonders. More recently, I’ve been enjoying Azul, Wingspan, Catan: Starfarers, and Curious Cargo.

In this issue:


             New MTG Set: Strixhaven

             Take & Paint: Red Slaad

             New KeyForge Set: Dark Tidings

             Girls' Guild of Heroes Spring Break Camp
                
             Bestsellers

New Magic the Gathering Set: Strixhaven


Magic the Gathering's latest set, Strixhaven: School of Mages, is just about here! This set invites players to experience life as a young mage, choosing one of five magical colleges that each has a unique theme and game-play style. 

Another new addition to Strixhaven will be the Mystical Archive, a set of cards showcasing different instants and sorceries from Magic's history. Strixhaven will include 1 Mystical Archive card in each Set and Draft booster pack, and at least three of them will appear in every Collector Booster Pack. 

You can pre-order Strixhaven products from our online store. Individual commander decks and prerelease packs will be available as of April 16th. And, individual draft, set, and collector boosters will be available on release day (April 23rd). 

To celebrate the release of Strixhaven we are hosting two online prerelease events! These events will open for registration on April 1st.

Sunday, April 18th: Must be able to pick up your pererelease pack in store. Registrtaion Link

Tuesday, April 20th: Pickup or shipping for prerelease pack are both available. Registration Link

Take and Paint Event: Red Slaad

 

One of our favorite online events, the Take & Paint series, is back! If you've ever wanted to get into the hobby of miniature painting or if you're looking to pick up a few new tricks, the Take & Paint events are perfect for you. 

WizKids has put together a phenomenal product for these events, including the Red Slaad miniature, 12 Vallejo paints, a brush set, and a water pot. This bundle is all you need to join us on April 9th, where staff-member Evan will be leading a painting workshop and discussion. This is a casual painting event for both new and expreienced painters alike. 

More information and the link to register can be found here. 

New KeyForge Set: Dark Tidings
 


 
The fifth KeyForge expansion is finally upon us, with the world of the Crucible being overtaken by ocean waves in Dark Tidings. Dark Tidings releases April 16th, keep an eye on our social media for more updates! The new set introduces many changes to the world of KeyForge, including: 
  • 250 new cards including a brand-new House, Unfathomable. This House specializes in exhausting their enemies, leaving them unable to reap or attack. House Unfathomable also excels at a new mechanic in KeyForge, controlling the tides...
     
  • Each Archon deck in Dark Tidings will come with a card showing high tide to one player, and low tide to another. Each House will have different ways of controlling the tide, with some cards getting more powerful or only being able to be played when that player controls the high tide.
     
  • The last major change coming to Dark Tidings is the implementation of Evil Twin decks. Evil Twin decks will be exact replicas of other decks in the game, except many creatures will feature an alternate Evil Twin variant. These cards will feature new artwork and abilities that will set them apart from their twin. 

Girls' Guild of Heroes Spring Break Camp

 


Every day during the week of April 12th through the 16th, DM Melissa will be running a Girls' D&D camp! Each new session will build off what was achieved last session and is perfect for female adventurers ages 10+. We've had a lot of success with our Girls' Guild of Heroes events the past few months and we're excited to have an entire campaign with them! 

More information and registration found here.

Labyrinth Events


Make sure to check out our other upcoming events
by taking a look at our Event Calendar

March's Bestsellers

(Now with links to our online store!!!)

(Best seller list does not included collectible card games like Magic: the Gathering or Pokémon, or auxiliary products.)

By Quantity Sold
  1. D&D 5e Candlekeep Mysteries (Alt cover)
  2. Azul
  3. Lost Ruins of Arnak
  4. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
  5. Wingspan
  6. Arkham Horror LCG: Lair of Dagon*
  7. Uno
  8. Marvel Champions LCG: Scarlet Witch expansion
  9. Catan
  10. Parks Nightfall Expansion
By Revenue
  1. D&D 5e Candlekeep Mysteries (Alt cover)
  2. Lost Ruins of Arnak
  3. Wingspan
  4. Azul
  5. Catan
  6. Chess Set (11.75" Wooden Magnetic Folding)
  7. Wavelength
  8. Sherlock Holmes: The Thames Murders
  9. 7 Wonders Duel
  10. Parks

    * Arkham Horror LCG: Lair of Dagon is currently out of stock but we hope to have it back soon!
Why not earn rewards for your shopping? Join Team Labyrinth and for every $250 you spend with us, you'll earn a 10% discount! It's easy; all we need is your name!
 
The 10% discounts are good on any one purchase (where a greater discount doesn't already apply) and they never expire!
Be sure to check out our website and our Facebook for the most current news and announcements about events and new games. Until next time, keep gaming, and remember: play nice!
Copyright © 2021 Labyrinth Games & Puzzles, All rights reserved. 
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