Saturday, May 18, 2024

‘Zombie Princess And The Enchanted Maze’ Review: Become A Knight In Shining Armor Or Zombify Everyone, Your Choice

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Zombie Princess and The Enchanted Maze is a tile placement race game within a maze and is published by Wizkids, who recently released a variety of new games which you can read in our GenCon Report. The story goes, there was a spoiled princess who asked her gardener to build her an enchanted maze with a mini castle bedchamber in the middle. She got what she asked for, and she waited for a knight to come take her heart by being the first knight to find the key hidden in the maze. She soon realized no one knew about the maze, until one day, as she was waiting, she was bit by a zombie rat, which turned her into a zombie princess. Her screams were heard far and wide and soon knights were lining up to go through the maze, find the key, and be awarded the heart of this princess. But what they don’t know is that the princess is now a zombie princess and is no longer waiting for her true love, but for some lunch.

What’s In the Box?

  • 1 Board
  • 4 Princess castle pieces
  • 4 Keys
  • 48 Maze tiles
  • 4 Knight standees and bases
  • 4 Zombie Knight standees and bases
  • 1 Zombie Princess standee and base
  • 20 Extra Action tokens 
  • 1 Zombie Princess die

How’s It Play?

The Zombie Princess standee is placed in the middle of the board in the castle. Players start on one of the corners of the board with the key that matches their color placed across from them on the other corner of the board. Players need to move across the board to find their key and then get to the middle of the board to the castle. The Zombie Princess moves around the board, so she won’t be in the castle at the point where players are moving to the castle in hopes to win the game. 

Remember how I mentioned that the zombie princess won’t be in the middle for long? That’s because players take turns moving the zombie princess around on their turn, trying to reach one of the other knights. If the Zombie Princess or another zombie knight reaches another knight, they are turned into a zombie and instead of getting their key and returning to the middle of the board, they now are trying to go after all other knights to turn them into zombies. 

Players take turns in a clockwise direction following similar steps. First is the zombie princess phase. The current player will roll the Zombie Princess die. If the result is an X, they won’t do anything with the zombie princess, but if the result is a 1, 2, 3, or ZR, they will control the zombie princess by performing 3 actions in any order they would like. 

These steps include placing a new maze tile directly adjacent to where the zombie princess is at, rotating a tile that is unoccupied by others, or rotating a tile that the zombie princess is on or rotating the castle center piece. The last step again, in any order, is to move the zombie princess the number of tiles according to the result of the zombie princess die. ZR will let you move her as far as she can go along the open path of squares. When moving your own knight or the zombie princess your movement is dependent to the open path made from the tiles. 

After the zombie princess phase is the knight phase. Players will have 4 actions which they can choose to perform in any order they would like, minus the final action which is always last. The other 3 actions are to place a maze tile, rotate a maze tile, and move your knight. These 3 actions have the same rules as doing them with the zombie princess, except now it’s with your own knight. The 4th and last action is to draw maze tiles so you have 3 in front of you again, then it’s the next player’s turn. 

So, the end result of all this is you will be creating a path to get to your key across the board and then continue to the center of the board. Zombies can go through the castle but can never stop inside of it. The first player to get to the castle with their key wins, or when all players become zombies, the apocalypse begins and ultimately no one wins. 

There are some variants that allows a 5th player to play as the zombie princess, or players can play the advanced rules which adds extra action tiles. Each player will have 3 of them to use and will be able to use one of them each turn to perform the listed action on the token. The tokens allow players to remove a maze tile, rotate an occupied maze tile, slide a maze tile, or place a maze tile on any unoccupied space. 

The Verdict

This game’s theme makes me feel like my 6 year old daughter thought of this story and it then became a board game. I say that because the theme is kind of random, but the mechanics and game play are pretty straight forward. Put another way, the story or theme makes the game seem pretty exciting, but when it comes to the gameplay itself, it’s fairly basic. 

The game becomes a puzzle in which you are trying to defend yourself from any potential zombie interactions, mess up the other knights if possible, and progress yourself toward your goal. With this puzzle, players can get lucky with tiles, but players tend to progress evenly until there is a setback from an interaction with the zombie princess.  The game does get a little more exciting when other players start turning, but its hard to run from multiple zombies without getting caught.

The components are the same quality of other WiKkids games. I’d say that the idea of the standees are a nice thought, as they have a front and back side to them, but the follow through with the idea didn’t quite work for me. Also, each player has 2 potential standees, one they start with, and another zombified version. The zombified version is an interesting take on zombies. At the same time, I also can’t really see what’s going on with them due to the way they are produced. 

Ultimately the game works and can be fun to play on the first couple plays or with the right type of people, but I’m afraid it won’t last the test of time and won’t find time on my table compared to the games I have in my collection currently. 

Zombie Princess and The Enchanted Maze is out now and available at at your FLGS!

Images and Review Copy Courtesy of WizKids

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