Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Arrivals 11/17/2015 to 12/7/2015

by Alexander "Face Full of Whipped CreamSmith

The holiday season is in full swing...and the games aren't slouching either! Take a look at all these new game we've got in these past few weeks!

 504, Telestrations After Dark, Shakespeare, Blood Rage, Above and Below, Orleans, Queen's Necklace, Favor of the Pharoh, The Bloody Inn

Pharoh's Gulo Gulo, Treasure Hunter, Tail Feathers, Terra, The AEG Black Box, Pie Face!, Timeline Challenge, Lift It!, Keva Maker Bot Maze

If you haven't heard, it's been an exciting couple of weeks. Labyrinth celebrated it's fifth anniversary with cake and games. It's been wonderful meeting everyone who comes to the store and we hope to carry on being a part of this great community.

Back in Stock: Twilight Struggle
New demos: Lift It!, Above and Below

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanks and Giving in 2015

As Thanksgiving and Labyrinth's 5th anniversary loom closely, I have become very introspective. I am unbelievably thankful for all the goodness in my life - an incredible (and patient) family, wonderful staff, amazing friends and customers. It is hard to imagine that just five years ago I was a basket case full of nerves getting ready to open the doors of Labyrinth, wondering if anyone would ever come in the doors. But on the other hand, so much has changed in those 5 years. My son, who had really only just started school, is now so independent and in middle school. My father, who I loved possibly more than any human who has ever existed, was diagnosed with cancer shortly after I opened Labyrinth and died right before our 1st anniversary.

I have met so many amazing people and am so lucky to have tons more friends because of it. I've learned a lot about a fascinating industry and luckily, Labyrinth has been very successful in many ways. In all of our success though, I've tried to remember that my first and foremost goal when starting Labyrinth was to build community, to bring people together in real life to spend quality time together. In my own humble opinion, I think we've done this, and it's why I consider us successful.

A couple Dads were standing around chatting in the store the other day, greeting others as they passed by with their hurriedly wrapped birthday gifts, and both turned to me, and said, "It is amazing. This place has become like the Hill's community center." This made me proud, but also reminded me why I love Capitol Hill so much. So many businesses and places on the Hill feel like this to me. Our little section of the world is very special. I hope that Labyrinth can continue to be an important part of our community for the next 5 years and beyond. Thank you all for supporting us. And, I have to give a special, enormous shout out to Judy Thomas, Labyrinth's assistant manager, who has been with me since before we opened the doors, and whose influence is felt in almost everything we do.

However, some of my other thoughts lately have not been so happy. I'm absolutely sickened by all the hatred and fear prevalent in the world. I hope that during this holiday season we can all spend some time with friends, family or even complete strangers being kind and giving back to the world we live in. I will, and Labyrinth will. If you are looking for some joyous fun, please stop by one day or join us for one of our events. The holiday cookie battle on Small Business Saturday (November 28th) and our big 5th anniversary party on December 5th are both sure to be tons of fun.

This blog was supposed to be about Thanksgiving game recommendations, but it got a little bit away from me there. Sorry. Anyway, if you are looking for a wonderful way to disconnect a little and spend some quality time with friends and family, please try some of these new favorites:

Between Two Cities
This game, by local game designers Ben Rosset and Matthew O'Malley, is definitely one I'll be playing this holiday season. It will probably take one play through for some to understand, but it is easy to just start playing and let less experienced players figure it out as they play. In this game, you are building two cities. You must collaborate independently with both neighbors to build the two best cities that you possibly can. Each type of 5 different buildings scores for different things, like being in a row, collecting different kinds of entertainment options, etc. Your score will be taken from your lowest scoring city, and the winner of the game is the person with the highest score. This is the part that confuses most people, but I promise it makes complete sense when you play it. The things that I like most about this game are how you work with both of your neighbors, how it plays from 3 to 7 players in only about 1/2 hour, how it is really very simple, but with tons of think-y strategy. I honestly cannot recommend this enough if you are looking for a fun, easy game for a crowd. I would think children 8+ could handle this if they like games.

Qwirkle, Forbidden Island, and Say Anything Family
I'm adding these here again, just because I cannot imagine a Thanksgiving game recommendation list without them. They are my quintessential favorite family games. Qwirkle and Forbidden Island play 2 to 4 players extremely well. Say Anything Family is better for a slightly larger group, 3 to 6 players. Forbidden Island is cooperative and slightly more complicated. Qwirkle can be adapted to play with children as young as 4 or 5. Say Anything Family is an awesome way to get families to share and laugh. Kids need to be able to read and write, but otherwise should have no problem with the game play. All of these are fun enough to even play with a group of all adult gamers, although with an all adult crowd I'd probably play regular Say Anything.

Snake Oil
I'm adding this one because we played it at last Thursday's game night, and we were all in tears laughing so hard. I had forgotten how much fun this party game is. It's yet another take off of the classic Apples to Apples voting-style games, but in this one, you must choose two random items to mash together and then sell to someone, a pirate, a Frat boy, a cheerleader, etc. Last night I sold a beard diaper to a Frat boy to protect his beard from spilled beer and vomit. It's much more creative, family-appropriate, and kind that other popular games in this genre. If you have younger children, you could still play (although they would need to be reading). I might recommend a quick look through the cards to make sure you are comfortable with all the content, but really Frat boy and nipple were about the most controversial I saw.

Here's another cooperative game because I'm thinking this holiday season might be a good time for cooperative games.  Mysterium is a beautiful game, bringing together game elements of the classic Clue with the modern day best seller, Dixit. In this game, one person plays a ghost who is trying to send messages by giving beautiful, esoterically artistic cards to psychics who must use this information to deduce the murderer, location, and weapon. It is a great game, and I would think you could play with kids 8+.

The Game
Aside from having a ridiculously bad name, there is nothing negative I can say about this game, The Game. Ugh, you can see why I hate the name! The Game is another cooperative game in which your group is trying to get rid of all the cards in a deck numbered from 2 to 99. You are placing them into 4 stacks, two of which are ascending and two of which are descending. You can only break the ascending and descending nature of a particular pile if you can go exactly 10 in the opposite direction. You must play at least two cards from your hand each turn, but can play as many as you'd like (up to your hand size). This game is incredibly difficult to win (but I'm sure Josh will tell you that he and Melissa did win once), but the fun is in seeing how close you can get to finishing the deck. My best so far is 5 cards left.

6 Nimmt!
Another fast card game, but this time it is a competitive game. I played this on Thursday with the Capitol Hill Village gaming group, and we all had a blast. The best thing about this game is that it plays up to 10 people, and it is very easy to teach, but again has a nice amount of strategy. You could easily play this with pretty young children, probably as young as 5 or 6.

There are tons and tons more that I would recommend, but I really need to get to work now. If you would like help finding the perfect game for your holiday celebration or the perfect gift for a loved one, please stop by. We'll be happy to help you find just the right thing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Arrivals 11/10/2015 to 11/16/2015

by Alexander "Robins and Eagles Are Birds Too" Smith

It's getting to be that time of year when we are absolutely FLOODED with new games. Take a look; with so much cool new stuff, it's impossible not to find something new and cool this week.

7 Wonders Duel, Luna, Favor of the Pharoh, Rattle Battle Grab the Loot, Broom Service, Timeline: Challenge, The Game, The Answers, Bang!: Duel, Pie Factory, The Builders: Antiquities, Marusenko Sphere Puzzles, Albert's Insomnia, Hansa Teutonica: East, Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets

Above and Below, Ghostbusters: the Game, Between Two Cities

Back in Stock: Runebound, Arboretum, Sheriff of Nottingham

Pokémon Mega Blaziken EX Premium Collection, Mega Swampert EX Premium Collection, Pikachu EX Legendary Collection, Hoopa EX Legendary Collection, Pokémon XY Breakthrough Elite Trainer Kit, Pokémon XY Breakthough Boosters, Pokémon XY Starter Decks, Pokémon Collector Chest Tin, Pokémon World Championships 2015 Decks

Magic: the Gathering Commander 2015 Decks, Yu-Gi-Oh Dimension of Chaos Boosters, Monster Playmat Tube

New demos: Superfight!, 7 Wonders: Duel, Codenames, Between Two Cities, Albert's Insomnia

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Arrivals 11/3/2015 to 11/9/2015

by Alexander "A Giant Hamster Ball is Totally a Superpower" Smith

Superfight! is the kind of game that pits a kindergarden class that breathes fire and has jetpacks against a blimp-riding octopus armed with pepper spray. Each player lays down cards and argues why their crazy combination wins. Argue about silly things like how not having slept for three days is beneficial in a fight; we certainly have.

The Game is a cooperative card game where players must work together to play out all of their cards by placing cards that are higher than the card in the ascending pile or lower than the card in the descending pile. The catch is that players may not reveal exactly which cards they have in hand. We almost beat the game when we played it in the store, and we're gonna keep on trying until we finally can!

The Grizzled is a cooperative card game set in the trenches of World War I. The team must complete their mission by handling the threats played each turn. Each player chooses which card to play, and if too many of the same card is played, the team fails the mission. What's brilliant about this game is how it is played in total silence, forcing players to trust each others' judgement.

The Builders: Antiquity is a game where you will hire workers and assign them to complete marvelous monuments of the ancient world! We had a lot of fun with The Builders: Middle Ages, so we're really excited about this one.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is a game that hinges on your ability to aquire planets though investing in resources, colonizing planets, and upgrading their facilities though selective dice rolling. This game follows some of the same mechanics found in Tiny Epic Kingdoms, but puts a new spin on them, making the game much bigger than the tiny box it comes in.

6 nimmt! is a trick taking card game where you want to take as few points as possible. Each player is dealt ten cards, and each round they'll select a card to play. Players will then place a card in the pile that is closest in value to their card, going in order of lowest value to highest value. If that makes the pile too big, that player must take the whole thing!

The Marvel Avengers Metal Earth models are here, and they look excellent. Now you can build Iron Man, War Machine, Captain America's Shield, or Thor's Hammer. I can't wait to see if they do more!

Pokémon BREAKthrough is a new expansion that takes the game of Pokémon to the next level...literally! One of the most exciting features is the addition of a new type of evolution to the game: Pokémon BREAK. BREAK cards are laid on top of a normal card, bolstering its hit points and giving it a new attack. These golden versions of the pokémon you know and love look stunning and are sure to be much desired by fans, much like EX pokémon.
In other news, we've received a restock of Codenames. When we first got Codenames, we had shelves in the back filled with preorders, and the ones out on the floor were snatched up soon after. We also have received a restock of Saboteur after what feels like a year. If you've been looking for these games, we now have them again, so stop on by!

New demos: The Game

Sunday, November 1, 2015

New Arrivals 10/27/2015 to 11/2/2015

by Alexander "Mezmerize, Mezmerize, FANGS!" Smith

Fury of Dracula is a game where one player takes on the role of Count Dracula while up to four others play as vampire hunters. Dracula moves in secret, so the vampire hunters will have to work together to track and capture the dreaded vampire. We played this last Thursday and it ended up with Dracula (Tommy) narrowly escaping being cornered in Cádiz, Spain and then sucking all the blood out of Van Helsing (Kathleen) in a one-on-one fight.

Netrunner: Data & Destiny is the newest deluxe expansion for the Netrunner Living Card Game. This set features the NBN corporation faction as well as three new runner 'mini-factions'. I'm looking forward to making all sorts of new decks for the mini-factions, and I'll be happy to add some of the amazing new cards to my NBN  deck.

The Dungeons and Dragons: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide adds a wealth of background about the Forgotten Realms setting, as well as exciting new character backgrounds and options.

Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham expands Elder Sign with eight new investigators, twenty locations, and new mechanics which will give the investigators lasting benefits in their search for the otherworldly.

End of the World: Wrath of the Gods and End of the World: Zombies set the stage for roleplaying in an apocalyptic world. The books has mechanics things such as scavenging and dealing with mental breakdowns... both of which become much more common in these trying times. Each one also comes with pre-built characters, scenarios and hooks to build your own story.

Monikers: Shmonikers is a 111 card expansion to the party game, Monikers. With new names for your friends to guess and more ideas for wacky rounds, this compliments the original extremely well.

We've received a massive amount of Top Trumps this past week, and it's amazing. We have editions for Ancient Egypt, Doctor Who, Space, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and more! One of the Star Wars versions even comes with it's own Death Star tin!

Just in time, Dead of Winter is back in stock. Fend off zombies and work towards a common goal with other survivors as you work towards your own secret goal which might be at odds with the group's plans. This game has been incredibly popular, so grab it while you can!

New demos: Fury of Dracula

Saturday, October 24, 2015

New Arrivals 10/20/2015 to 10/26/2015

by Alexander "I Have No Idea Whose Ghost I'm Moving" Smith

Hansa Teutonica is a German board game where you are a trader trying to expand your network. Set up shop in cities, train your merchants and land lucrative deals in this great commerce game for two to five.

Pocket Imperium is a space game that packs a lot of gameplay into such a small box. Build ships, explore the galaxy and wipe out anyone who might oppose you and your fleet. The modular board ensures that your corner of space will never be the same.

Roll For the Galaxy: Ambition is an expansion that introduces new factions and homeworlds, different dice, and optional objectives to your space-age dice game. If you enjoy the base game, this expansion will make you reexamine your play strategy.

Spooky Stairs is a children's game that seems like a simple roll and move, but when all the pieces are eventually covered by ghosts and switched around, you'll be trying to figure out who's who! Be the first one to reach the top of the steps to win, but make sure you're actually moving the right piece!

Pokémon Battle Arena Decks Mewtwo vs. Darkrai contains two 60 card decks, two coins, two sets of damage counters, a playmat and two foil cards featuring Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX. Playable right out of the box and perfect for those looking to play or fill their collection with powerful Pokémon.

New demos: Spot It! Halloween, Spooky Stairs

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Arrivals 10/13/2015 to 10/19/2015

by Alexander "Steam Mogul" Smith

T.I.M.E Stories is a cooperative 'decksploring' game where you are charged with the duty of a time agent: to eliminate temporal anomalies by solving the mysteries of the past. Using Time Units will allow you to possess a host from the era and interact with the environment. As you navigate through the location, you'll uncover more information and possibly solve the mystery. While you likely won't solve everything the first time through, you'll be able to apply information you've learned from your previous encounters when you turn back time and start from the beginning again. For those looking for even more mystery, the supplemental T.I.M.E Stories: the Marcy Case adds another scenario to explore.

The Golden Ages is a civilization building game where you decide the future of your civilization's culture. Will you be known as having great armies or producing beautiful works of art? When you've sufficiently advanced your culture, you can begin a Golden Age where you decide which types of advancements earn points for each player. While the other players scramble to earn points in the category of your choosing, you'll earn money until your Golden Age is over.  

In Mission: Red Planet, you'll send steampunk astronauts to Mars in search of precious materials that will fuel the Victorian-era Earth. Players will secretly assign their astronauts to be sent to different locations to mine the valuable materials, but you'll have to be smart if you want to come out ahead. By sending your astronauts to a less bountiful region, they might be able to collect all the goods themselves while other players divvy up what appeared to be a more lucrative region. You'll also have secret actions and a hidden goal that will help you gain a competitive edge over your fellow gentlemen prospectors by messing with their plans.

Mistfall is a cooperative adventure card game for one to four adventurers. One of the biggest draws for this game is the amount of customization and variety offered to the players. Each character starts out with basic equipment and action cards, but these can change if you want your character to specialize in healing friends rather than slinging balls of fire. The adventures and board configuration change as well, using a randomization method that ensures players will never be doing the same thing twice.

Coup Rebellion G54 is the expanded version of one of our favorite secret identities games. Each player will begin with two identities which will give them particular powers additional to the shared basic powers. Players will take turns announcing which power they use throughout the game; however, bluffing about your powers may be beneficial. Other players can call your bluff, and if they do, you'll lose one of your identities. If you were telling the truth, they'll lose one of theirs. If you lose both identities, it's game over. With 25 possible identities, players have quite a few opportunities to take advantage using deception in this clever bluffing game.

One Night Revolution is a dystopian take on One Night Ultimate Werewolf. It is the eve of the revolution that will free the people from the uncaring government, but among the ranks of rebels hide a number of informants who will snub the uprising if given the chance. Using variable powers, each player will gain or manipulate information about the other players. By the end of the night, the players will have to decide who among them is the spy. Rebels will want to use logic and deduction to piece together who is who, but the informants might lead them down the wrong trail and cause confusion in the ranks.

The new Star Wars: the Force Awakens Metal Earth models are here. Assemble and display models from the newest Star Wars movie in your very own home! Fans of the series will be pleased to see the level of detail that has gone into the creation of Kyli Ren's Command Shuttle, the Special Forces TIE Fighter, Poe Dameron's X-Wing Fighter and the First Order Snowspeeder. 

New demos: Dragon Flame, Battle Merchants, Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Manhattan Project, Stratego, Go Ape!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

New Arrivals 10/4/2015 to 10/12/2015

by Alexander "Weird Ghost Dreams" Smith

Mysterium is a game for up to six psychic mediums who must interpret information given to them by a ghost who can only communicate though dream-like vision cards. Each medium must find a suspect, a location and a murder weapon, but their only clues are abstract images that they'll have to interpret. Could the floating islands connected by chains connect to the chain seen in the workshop? Or do they look enough like drain plugs to mean the bathroom? Use your psychic intuition to find meaning in this game of visions and unsolved murders.

Create your own mazes and challenge your friends in Maze Racers. You and a friend must each create a marble maze as quickly as you can using magnetic foam wall pieces. When you're done, swap the puzzles and see who can finish the other player's puzzle first. We opened this game as soon as we got it, and we haven't been able to put it down since.  You'll be impressed at good you'll become at creating puzzles on the fly!

Isle of Skye is a tile laying economy game where you are trying to amass wealth and create the best kingdom on the island. Each tile has various geographic features that you will have to match up with the rest of your tiles in order to place it in your kingdom, but that isn't the hardest part. Each round you'll put tiles up for other players to buy. You can charge as much as you'd like for a tile, but if the other would-be lords of the island decline to purchase them, you'll have to pay for them yourself. Isle of Skye is a great combination of tile placement and clever money management and definitely worth taking a look at.

Mottainai is a Japanese word that represents the concept of not wasting and fully using each object. It also happens to be a great game where you play as Buddhist monks running a gift shop for souvenirs made from materials of varying value. Heralded as the spiritual successor to Glory to Rome, this is a very clever game with a clean aesthetic and deep gameplay.

Meow is a simple bluffing game where you either you're Meow or you're not Meow. Each Meow will draw a card that will tell you if you are a Meow (cat) or a Not Meow (not a cat). Other Meows can accuse you of being a Not Meow, and if they're right, you're out. If they're wrong though, they'll be out. Sound interesting? Come and play it right meow!

Minuscule is a bug race betting game. Each round, players will select a number of different bugs to enter in the race and then bet on which bug will win. You'll have a hand full of action cards that can change the results of the race by helping or hindering certain types of bugs. Become the savviest gambler in this small bug race game.

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn takes place in a world filled powerful beings called the Phoenixborn. As a Phoenixborn you will rally armies to fight against other Phoenixborn to absorb their power and become the sole protector of the world. You'll use cards and dice to represent units, spells and resources that will help you defeat your foes, making each game different from the last. With tons of powers and abilities to mix and match, the future of the Phoenixborn is for you to decide.

Cardline: Dinosaurs is THE game for dinosaur fans young and old. Each player is dealt a number of dinosaurs which they will have to arrange by either length or weight. Taking turns, you'll place one of your dinosaurs in the line and flip to the other side of the card to see if you have placed it correctly. If you have, it says, but if you didn't, it is removed and you'll draw a new card. The first player to successfully place all of their cards wins!
 Pandemic: Legacy is a game that is unique to each group playing it. Your team of specialists will unite again and again to cure global outbreaks before they wipe out humanity. Each time you pick up the game, actions that have been taken in previous games will bleed over into the next. Heroes can gain experience or become lost and diseases can mutate or be eradicated. This is a great twist to the classic Pandemic mechanics that you know and love.

Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition takes a bit of a different approach to the classic game of figuring out who among the villagers is actually a werewolf. A group of inquisitors has come to the village to lend their expert werewolf removal services, but there's a problem; some of the inquisitors are werewolves themselves. Vote one which villager you think as a werewolf but be careful not to let the werewolf inquisitors throw you off the trail.

What's this? What's this? It's Munchkin: Nightmare Before Christmas! Play as a citizen from one of the various holiday towns collecting loot from Santa's bag. The Nightmare Before Christmas universe is filled with tons of monsters, curses and treasures that fit perfectly into Munchkin.

Istanbul: Mocha and Baksheesh introduces a new commodity to Istanbul; coffee! Corner the market on this valuable new product and earn valuable rubies. You'll also be able to gain a business advantage by bribing others to do your work for you. New locations, new goods, and new gameplay all await you in this new expansion.

The Game of Thrones LCG is back with a new edition, and it's better than ever! The new edition has two additional factions bringing the total to eight, and now you can create decks that cross factions. The updated rules clean up confusion surrounding timing issues and makes the game more accessible. Game of Thrones 2nd Edition takes the best parts from the original and creates a whole new gaming experience that new and returning players alike are sure to enjoy.

We've also received a slew of new items for our collectible games. The new High-Speed Riders set for Yu-Gi-Oh, Wave 19 for Star Trek: Attack Wing, and TWO pinewood box sets for Doomtown: Reloaded have all hit shelves this week. Star Trek: Attack Wing players will now be able to add the Delta Flyer, the R.I.S. Talvath, and the I.K.S. Rotarran to their fleets. Doomtown fans will be happy to hear that both the Immovable Object, Unstoppable Force and The Light Shineth pinewood box sets are both out at long last.

New demos: Mysterium, Maze Race