Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013 Cookie Battle Winning Recipe!

by Lea Sidoti and Becky Topol

This year’s Small Business Saturday Cookie Battle was a landslide victory for Lea! Her Oatmeal Caramelitas were a universal smash, winning by nearly twenty votes! As a thank-you gift to everyone who stopped by on Saturday (and everyone who has made Labyrinth's three years so special) we present the recipe for the winning cookie of the 2013 Cookie Battle:

Oatmeal Caramelitas


  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup quick oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 1 cup of flour with baking soda, salt, oatmeal, brown sugar, and melted butter in a large mixing bowl. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 11"x17" baking pan (this will be very thin to cover the whole bottom of the pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans. Blend caramel ice cream topping with remaining 3 tbsp flour and spread over pecans. Sprinkle evenly with remaining oatmeal mixture. Press lightly. Bake 25 minutes at 350°.

And there you have it! Lea says that her Oatmeal Caramelitas would be just as delicious without pecans, so if you have an allergy to tree nuts you can simply leave them out of the recipe. These cookies are guaranteed to be a hit at any holiday party!

A selection of the delicious cookies from this year's Battle, Caramelitas in the front row, far right.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

New Arrivals This Week 12/3/13 to 12/9/13

by Becky "Floppy-Eared Hero Puppy" Topol

DC Comics Deck-Building Game actually arrived last week, but just too late to get into the blog post. The mighty heroes of the Justice League of America - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more - are ready to fight for truth and justice, and you get to decide how! Each player chooses an oversized Hero card, each with its own special powers, and starts with a deck of ten cards. From there you must acquire defensive cards to deflect the attacks of the endless stream of villains and minions, as well as defensive cards to defeat them! With simple rules and fast setup, DC Comics Deck-Building Game is a concise new take on the deck-building genre and makes for a great gateway game, or a quick filler for more experienced players!

Flash Point: Fire Rescue - Veteran and Rescue Dog Expansion Pack also snuck in late last week. This pack contains two new specialists for your firefighting team: the veteran and the rescue dog. The veteran is not the best at any one thing, but his long history of experience helps your whole team become more effective, and gives him a knack for avoiding danger. The flop-eared rescue dog is able to get to victims quickly and drag them out to safety. Plus, it’s incredibly cute.

Blueprints is a building game for two to four players who take the part of architects trying to construct buildings out of various materials. Each kind of material is represented by different colors of dice, with orange representing wood, green representing recycled materials, black representing stone, and clear representing glass. Every turn players take blueprint cards and take turns selecting dice from the pool. Then, you must place the dice on your blueprint to build the structure. Each kind of material scores based on different criteria, so you must place your dice strategically in order to score as many points as possible, win architecture prizes, and become the most successful architect in Blueprints!
After tons of people asked us about it, Francis Drake is here! Packed full of gorgeous art and high-quality pieces, Francis Drake is a worker-placement game that puts you in the shoes of a Golden-Age captain. You must stock your ship with all the goods you need to win a race from England to the Spanish Main, where the riches of the Aztec and Incan Empires await. Follow the paths of the real journeys of Francis Drake, and attempt to snag him as the leader of your mission! Collect treasure into your chests, court rich investors, stock up on ammo and food, and try to get information from the mysterious Informer. There are countless ways to try to outplan, outwit, and outgun your opponents as you swashbuckle around the world in Francis Drake.

Going, Going, GONE! is a high-energy bidding game that challenges players to keep their cool while juggling five simultaneous auctions. As the Auctioneer counts down from ten to one, bidders must drop their wooden cubes into the five transparent Auction Cups in the hope of winning Item Cards. When the countdown ends, the player with the most cubes in each cups wins the Item Cards for that auction. Sets of cards can be sold throughout the game, but players who hold onto a set til the end can make even more money. An easy-to-learn game, Going, Going, GONE! is perfect for auction hounds of all ages!
Wave 2 of starship miniatures for Star Trek Attack Wing is here! This wave includes the Federation’s U.S.S. Excelsior, Dominion Koranak, Klingon I.K.S. Koraga, and Romulan R.I.S. Vo. Use these new ships and weapons to explore, defend, and conquer new reaches of the galaxy!

We've also received a shipment of classic abstract strategy games! Our popular maple/walnut chessboard is back in 14" and 15" sizes, as well as the very elegant ebony/maple board. Small magnetic chess sets with storage drawers are back in various shapes, all perfect for travel. For players of the ancient game of Go, we now have a beautiful large wooden board with black and white playing stones. We also have a great new Shogi board with drawers to hold the pieces.

Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: Loco Lingo Building Site, Zingo Sight Words, You’ve Been Sentenced!, Word on the Street Jr.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Arrivals This Week 11/26/13 to 12/2/13


Eldritch Horror is a new cooperative game in the world of H.P. Lovecraft. As evil stirs beneath the thin layer of sanity that holds society together, you and your comrades must travel the world to save our reality. Solve mysteries and gather clues, all of which will vary based on the Ancient One who is threatening the world in your particular game. Dreadful fortune may strike you, and all manner of physical and mental traumas await you on your journey but you must press on, battle monsters, close otherworldly gates, and ensure that the Eldritch Horror does not enter our world and consume us all!

Coup is a hidden-role game of bluffing and deduction in which everyone starts out with two characters, each with their own special powers to gain you more precious influence. Each turn you may take the special action of any character, assuming that another player doesn’t call your bluff. A Mascarade-style game with a player elimination element, Coup is a whole new twist in the Resistance family.

Firefighter co-op game Flash Point: Fire Rescue has a new expansion- Extreme Danger! This new box includes six building configurations, as well as firefighter-specific miniatures, and tokens for explosive objects, hazards, chemicals, and fireproof doors. With all these new obstacles and dangers, can you still save everyone from the fire in Flash Point: Fire Rescue - Extreme Danger?

Templar: The Secret Treasures lets you help the Knights Templar hide their many treasures inside an abbey. Armed with characters and treasures, players must move through the abbey and secret away their treasures with the help of the kindly Abbott. Avoid Vitus and Prior Severus, refill your stash of treasures from the harbor, and score points whenever you can!

Stefan Feld’s Amerigo, like Templar, is being made available in brick-and-mortar stores before it can be bought online. To help Amerigo Vespucci secure trading routes and build settlements in the South American islands, you must use actions from the specialized cube tower. Different colors of cubes represent different actions, and are added to the tower throughout the game. Some will fall immediately, and some will get trapped for a time, meaning that players must make tactical choices based on the cubes they know are in the tower. The board changes size based on the number of players, making Amerigo a well-balanced tactical game for two to four players.

Munchkin Gets Promoted is a new booster pack for the ever-popular Munchkin card game. The pack contains three new cards - “Billiard Ball of Nonexistence”, “Get A Head”, and “Get Promoted”, along with a dozen previously released promo cards that are now out of print!

Unspeakable Words is Game Magazine’s 2007 Word Game of the Year, but is new to our shelves. It will be featured on this week's Tabletop You Tube show with Wil Wheaton. This card-based word game has a Cthulhu theme, and as such is unlike any of its less-Eldritch brethren. Points are awarded based on how many angles the letters in your words form, so an O is worth no points while an A will net you five. It’s fast, fun, easy to learn, and you have to win a sanity check against your powerful words before you can score! With 30 miniature Cthulhu pawns, Unspeakable Words is monstrous fun for all ages!

Majority Rules is a party game of crazy situations. At the beginning of every round, each player nominates a person, animal, or thing as a Candidate. Then, a question is drawn: Which candidate would be most likely to cheat on a test? Report a UFO sighting? Get recruited for the CIA? Each person must then attempt to defend why their candidate would be most likely to act that way in that situation. “Of course Einstein would report a UFO sighting! He’s a SCIENTIST!” “Jaime Lannister would definitely be recruited to the CIA - spies need to be charming!” But of course, the majority rules, so whoever nominated the Candidate with the most votes wins the round!

ConeZILLA is a fast and charming game of numbers and memory. Players race to build their ice cream cone into a ten-scoop ConeZILLA by playing cards in numerical order. Each scoop of ice cream is numbered from 2 to 49 and placed face down, and players must flip over one card each turn and decide whether to add it to their cone. A scoop can only be added if the number is higher than that on the highest scoop currently on the cone, so you must judge carefully and remember where each number is if you want to build a ConeZILLA!

The Catan: Explorers & Pirates 5-6 Player Extension is finally here! Explorers and Pirates includes five scenarios and three missions on three islands with secret terrain. This extension allows two more players to participate in the game, bringing the maximum player number up from four to six. Build ports and cities, mine resources, and sail the seas with even more friends with the 5-6 Player Extension for Catan: Explorers & Pirates!

Haggis is back after being out of print. This two-to-three player climbing card game challenges you to be the first to empty your hand of cards while also trying to capture specific cards by winning tricks. You can also play special card sequences called Bombs, which automatically beat any cards that have previously been played. With a betting mechanic that keeps tension high throughout the game, Haggis is a brilliant and compact game for two to three players!

Six is also back. This clever two-player game involves just placing hexagonal tiles. Each player has a different color, and may place one tile per turn in an attempt to create one of the three possible winning shapes. Defensive play is just as important is offense in the compact yet deceptively strategic game of Six.

On top of all that, we’re thrilled to say that Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport and A Game of Thrones: The Board Game are both back in the store! Scoundrels adds a Corruption resource and raises the stakes of the popular worker-placement game Lords of Waterdeep, and A Game of Thrones places you at the head of one of the warring families of Westeros, on the war path to glory!

Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: ConeZILLA, Majority Rules, Tricky Track, Smart Cookie

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Annual Holiday Cookie Battle for Small Biz Saturday!

by Judy Thomas 

9am - 7pm (Cookie Battle hours are 10am until 6pm, unless the cookies run out first.)

Saturday, November 30 marks the third annual Small Business Saturday sponsored by American Express! It's also the day of Labyrinth's second Annual Cookie Battle, sponsored by the extremely competitive nature of the people who work here.

Small Business Saturday is a special day dedicated to supporting small, local businesses. On Saturday, November 30, American Express is giving Card Members an exclusive offer redeemable at qualifying American Express Card-accepting small merchants that appear on the Small Business Saturday Map. We’re happy to tell you that Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is one of those qualifying small businesses!

The offer is only available to Card Members who have registered any eligible American Express Card. You can register from 11/24 to 11/30 by visiting Registration is limited, so Card Members are encouraged to act early before it runs out. Here are the details:

1. You must register your eligible American Express Card online at Registration is limited, and opens at 12:00AM MST (Mountain Standard Time) on 11/24/13 and continues until 11:59PM MST on 11/30/13, unless the registration limit is reached sooner.

2. The Card Member uses the registered Card on 11/30/13 to spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location that appears on the Small Business Saturday Map. Online transactions do not qualify. The Small Business Saturday Map will be available at starting 11/21/13.

3. The Card Member will receive a one-time $10 statement credit for that transaction from American Express within 90 days after 11/30/13.

And here’s some additional information:

1. Corporate Cards and all pre-paid Card products (other than American Express Serve) are not eligible for this offer.

2. Only in-store purchases made at a business location listed on the Small Business Saturday Map, available 1/21/13-12/1/13, qualify. Online purchases do NOT qualify for this offer.

3. Single transaction requirement means that, to receive the credit, the transaction must equal $10 or more. For example, if the transaction is only for $5, the Card Member will not receive a credit. Multiple transactions of less than $10 will not qualify, even if the combined total of those transactions is more than $10.

4. If the qualifying purchase is returned or canceled, the statement credit may be reversed. 

So if that wasn’t already pretty great, we at Labyrinth Games & Puzzles would also like to invite you to participate in our Annual Cookie Battle on Small Business Saturday! Owner Kathleen Donahue and Assistant Manager Judy Thomas will be vying for baking dominance, and your votes will decide the victor! Plus, you get delicious free cookies and hot cider, and who doesn’t love cookies? Scrooges, that’s who.

So join us for Small Business Saturday and get your Holiday Cheer on!

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Arrivals This Week 11/19/13 to 11/25/13

by Becky "I Sleep All Night and I Work All Day" Topol

Dixit Origins, also known as Dixit 4, is the newest expansion for the gorgeous and ever-popular party game Dixit. This set features 84 new cards, each featuring fantastical and surreal artwork by Clément Lefevre. Each round of Dixit challenges the Storyteller to choose a card from their hand and give a clue about it, whether by telling a story, singing a song, naming a movie, or anything else they think may help some of the other players figure out which card they chose. The rest of the players must then secretly choose a card from their own hand that they think best fits the hint they’ve been given. All the cards are then shuffled, and everybody votes on which card they think is really the Storyteller’s. The Storyteller has to be careful, though - if their clue is too obvious or too vague, they’ll end up without any points while other players rake them in! Dixit Origins is a great way to freshen up your Dixit game with more of the series’ trademark beautiful artwork, opening the door to more stories!

Boxcars is a reprint of one of the earliest railroad board games, and the predecessor to Rail Baron. Played on a double-sided board featuring the United Kingdom and America, Boxcars gives you some money and a train, and sets you free. Journey from city to city until you earn enough to expand your empire. Buy, build, and rent rail lines, bankrupting other wannabe railroad magnates along the way. With three different sizes of train meeple to represent different types of trains, Boxcars goes back to train gaming’s earliest routes, where money is king and shrewd strategy is the only way to get it.

Ticket to Ride: Nederland is another new expansion available in the store today. The basic gameplay of Ticket to Ride remains the same with this new map: Players collect train cards and try to claim routes between cities in order to complete their assigned routes. Nederland adds a few twists of its own, however. Nearly every route on the board is a double route, meaning that two players can have trains running side-by-side no matter how many people are playing. Each route also has a bridge toll that a player must pay when building on that route. If it is a single track or the first train built on a double track, the toll is paid to the bank, but if it’s the second train on a double track, you must pay the player who first built there. If you can’t pay a toll you must take out a loan which will cost you points at the end of the game. With bonuses for coins at the end of the game, high-point-value tickets, and a whole new way to ruin your opponents’ plans, Ticket to Ride: Nederland adds new dimensions for Ticket to Ride fans!

Keyflower is back! A bidding, worker-placement, and city-building game, Keyflower is played over four seasons, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. As workers arrive to your new settlement, you must use their special skills to bid for tiles to add to your village. Workers can also be used to generate resources, points, and even additional workers, sometimes reaping benefits from other players’ tiles. The final round takes place in Winter, and players must decide which of their tiles to put up for auction, hoping that they themselves will not be outbid. With more tiles than can be used in any one game, no two plays of the brilliant Keyflower will ever be the same!

Click Clack Lumberjack is a quick dexterity game for the whole family. We had to open this the second we got it and have been playing it non-stop! Players stack up nine sections of a plastic tree, and then use and oversized plastic axe to swing at each section. The aim is to jostle the tree enough to knock the bark off, while not actually knocking the section out of the stack. Each section of bark is worth one point, and bark with grubs on it give you special bonuses! With tons of rule variants included, Click Clack Lumberjack is simple to learn, yet challenging and fun to play!

Bang! is a hidden-role game of deception and player elimination, and has always been a favorite at our Game Nights. Now, Bang! fans are in for a real treat: the Bang! 10th Anniversary box set! Packaged in a metal tin, this new edition of the spaghetti-Western party game contains all the base playing cards, as well as some of the most popular characters from all the expansions. The game also features special components, like wooden bullets, oversized player boards, and three brand-new characters. This deluxe edition of Bang! is the perfect thing for your next get-together - after all, a cowpoke is only as good as their gear!

Heart of Glorm is an expansion to the cooperative storytelling board game Mice & Mystics. This new storybook picks right up where the original game ends, and features a tale of dark and mysterious forces taking root in the castle. A malicious presence has hatched a plan that threatens to ensnare Prince Colin, and puts the future of the mouse-town of Barksburg in jeopardy. The Heart of Glorm set contains new cards, counters, and figures including Neré, a wild mystic who will bring her powerful knowledge of alchemy to your adventuring party.
The Pokémon: Sylveon Collection box is the first time the Sylveon card is available to add to your deck! The set includes Eevee and all its evolutions, including Sylveon, as awesome foil cards. Also included in the box are four Black & White Series booster packs, a Fairy-type energy to power Sylveon’s attacks, and a super-cool collectible Sylveon figurine!

Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: Keyflower, Click Clack Lumberjack, Power Grid

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Arrivals This Week 11/12/13 to 11/18/13

by Becky "I'll Judge Your Sentences Anytime" Topol

Compounded, a set-collection game for the science-minded. Playing as a scientist, you must attempt to collect the elements necessary to build your various chemical compounds. Some of these elements are acquired through pure luck of the draw, but most of them will come from trading with competing scientists. You and your competitors must work feverishly in your labs if you hope to complete your compounds before someone beats you to it...or sets your whole lab on fire with volatile chemicals!

You’ve Been Sentenced! is a party game for those who can bend words to their will. Players are dealt ten pentagonal cards, each with a different word printed along every one of its five edges. Each word has a different point value assigned to it, and players must use these words to create a sentence that will get them as many points as possible. Of course, your sentence is subject to the will of your opponents: If other players think your sentence doesn’t make sense, or is just plain grammatically incorrect, they can object. You have the chance to defend yourself, usually by coming up with a crazy story that puts your sentence in context. If you succeed, congratulations! The points are yours. But if you can’t convince everyone your sentence is valid, no points for you! With 540 cards and 2,700 words, you’ll never have to make the same sentence twice. Great for big groups of adults who love wordplay, and a great way to help kids grasp sentence structure in a fun way, You’ve Been Sentenced! puts your sentences on trial!

Speculation is a light stock market game perfect for those who like the feel of poker. Unlike most similarly themed games, the changing price of stocks is dependent entirely on the players' direct decisions and actions rather than pure chance. Each turn, players choose two of the stock cards from their hand, thereby changing the value of those stocks. In order to make the best choice, you must keep track of what cards are in your hand, what cards are already in the discard pile, and what stocks other people already have and will be trying to make more valuable. Of course, if someone plays a Bank Holiday, all that analysis is for nothing. With players having to keep all this in mind, the game is based mostly on anticipation of others' actions, making it feel more like real stock speculation than many other games in the genre. Speculation is a great, quick stock market game for those who are willing to play mind games to play the markets!

Campaign Manager 2008 is out of print and it's been quite a while since we've been able to find it. However, we just managed to find a few copies! By local designers Jason Matthews and Christian Leonhard, who also designed Twilight Struggle and 1960: Making of a President, Campaign Manager 2008 is a great, light political game that puts two players in charge of the turbulent McCain and Obama presidential campaigns. As campaign manager, you must try to formulate a strategy that will win your candidate that coveted seat in the White House. Draft a deck of advice to your candidate, influence voters in swing states, and target constituencies that can help you pull out a victory. Making sure your candidate’s pet issues dominate the national discussion may help shine a positive light on your campaign, but be careful; you’re treading a thin line between “Commander in Chief” and “Irrelevant Nobody”.

Magic: The Gathering’s 2013 Holiday Gift Box is available today! This special set includes four Theros booster packs, twenty basic lands, and an alternate-art Karametra’s Acolyte from the Theros set! The box itself can hold over 2,000 Magic cards, and comes with six illustrated dividers and a sticker sheet to customize them. If you have a Magic player in your life, or if you play Magic and want to treat yourself, the 2013 Holiday Gift Box is just what you’re looking for this holiday season!

We also have three new books for the Fate Core System RPG! The Fate System Toolkit shows you tons of ways to best take advantage of the eminently hackable ruleset of Fate Core. Packed full of ideas on how to create races and societies, as well as magical and technological gear, the Fate System Toolkit is a great way to make Fate your own, no matter what genre you're playing. The Fate Worlds books are chock-full of pre-made roleplay settings, each stocked with its own mechanics, NPCs, and story elements. Volume One: Worlds on Fire covers settings ranging from suburban witchcraft to fire fighters to WWI battle zeppelins. Volume Two: Worlds in Shadow gives you worlds full of time travel, robot knights in Camelot, and gritty noir-style mystery. With six worlds in each, the Fate Worlds books are perfect for everyone, whether you feel you don't have the time or experience to build a world of your own, or you just want to try something totally new!

Mage Wars, Mage Knight, Summoner Wars, Kem cards, and City of Horror are all back in the store. Mascarade is also back, after selling out almost instantly the first time we got it in. We made sure to get plenty more this time around, so if you wanted to get your hands on this incredibly popular hidden-role game, now’s your chance!

Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: Compounded