2 Minute Tabletop Review: Lego Magikus

I had been eying the new set of Lego games for a while now, but hesitated mostly because of the required ages being older than my son.  Usually I can figure out whether or not a game is accessible to my son, despite the suggested age, by looking at the board type and brief directions on the back; however, the Lego games offer no support on the box or indication on how the game is played.

So, I just decided to plunk the $11 down, and pick up one that looked as if it would work: Magikus.  And, to my delight, not only was it fun and accessible to my 5 year old, we were actually playing the advanced rules by the end of our week-long vacation.

The game is played by giving each player a set of 4 different colored blocks: red, blue, green, and yellow.  This is the receptacle to use when collecting ingredients for your “potion.”  The common area to pull the ingredients from is a 4×4 row/column setup of red/blue/green/yellow items.  The goal is the roll the dice, and collect the corresponding ingredient.  Once you fill-up your “potion” list, you win!

One way the game puts players more in control is by requiring the dice roller to announce which row or column they are rolling for.  To do this, the player places an owl piece at the head of the row or column.  If a color comes up that you wanted, you take it.  If a color comes up that you didn’t want, you still take it.  If a color comes up that’s already been taken, so sorry.

The dice has removable colors, so you are able to custom tailor the game to your liking.  Some sides of the dice let you steal an ingredient from your opposition, or lets you choose any ingredient from the row that you wish.  One whole side was dedicated to each of these, which was too many for us.  So, we simply removed them, and replaced them with an either-or choice of “steal” or “choose any color.”  It added a layer of logic to the game, where you had to decide if the row you chose or the player your playing against has the color you want.

The advanced rules weren’t too difficult, and we were able to pick them up quickly.  By the time he was familiar enough with them, my son only wanted to play the advanced rules.  They vary in style, but the one he liked was blindly choosing what colors you were going for, and creating your own potion list that no one else knew about.  So, in a given game, I could be aiming for a potion that included 2 blues and 2 reds, while he was going for an all red potion.  It made it very difficult to predict the opposition’s next move, and definitely upped the competition.
Some of the best games are ones that are equal parts logic and luck, so that you feel in control of the game, but never feel like you’re completely out of the running until the last roll.  Overall, especially for the price, Magikus delivers on all of these accounts.  We recently imported “Shave a Sheep,” which, for some reason, is a UK-only title, and I hope to have a post up soon about it (spoiler: it’s awesome).
Pros: Easy to learn; logic and luck based; unlimited ability to customize (it’s Lego, after all!); fun/challenging advanced ruls
Cons: Not necessarily for this title alone, but all Lego Games titles: You don’t know what game you’re getting until you open it (or read a review!); as assembled, the community potion set doesn’t fit into the box (some break-down is required)
Price: $10.99 at Amazon/Target/Toys R Us

One Response

  1. […] collection of “rewards,” with the bulk of the cost leaning towards the Lego board game (Magikus as reviewed last month) and the special fishing pole he had been eying for a couple of […]

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