Magic Maze — Cooperation beyond human limits

English translation of “Magic Maze: Cooperando oltre i limiti umani” post on Educere Ludendo

Four fantasy heroes were catapulted into a strange world (which to us looks like a shopping mall), their weapons are lost, they have short time to find them, and they must be able to run to remain trapped in this strange world!
Magic Maze is a cooperative game where, from 1 to 8 players, must control four heroes and lead them step by step to they salvation through 20 scenarios.
Each player receives a power card that allows him to perform a set of actions to any hero moving through the intricate hallways of the shopping mall.
All players act simultaneously, while time passes inexorably.
Players can not speak, but they can make a suggestion to another player putting in front of it a red wooden marker. That player having to undersand the suggestions and determine wicht action has to take. Do I will have to move the Archer or the dwarf? Do I will take the gun and go on the hourglass box that allows me to turn and gain time?
If you complete the scenario, you can move on to the next one. Otherwise you will be stuck in a time loop “forced” to repeat the same scenario forever!

A player has placed the red marker in front of the player who has the power to pick up / down the escalators and moving east. But the player will be able to figure out what to do?

Recommended Age
Magic Maze is a game for 8 and up, but it works fine also with secondary school, with high school, with groups of young people and with families. Not by chance was the most voted game in Play! (The biggest Italy game-fair) and it is among the five finalists for the Italy “Gioco dell’anno 2017”.

In the bottom of the picture the powers that are distributed in an 8-player game. At the center of the table you see the four heroes who have just landed in the New World. To their left, the stack of tiles of this scenario. To the right of the red marker used to “communicate”; the hourglass; and a set of “x” that are used to say that an hourglass box was used. Above the goal card. When all the heroes are simultaneously on their weapon, this card turns and the power of teleportation stops working. More Above you will find the cards to play in “loner” mode and tiles to be added for the other scenarios.

Educational aspects
Magic Maze was one of the games that I chose to take with me into “Vacanza insieme 2017”. We were a group of over 250 people of all ages who have “occupied” a hotel in the Dolomites. Among them was a group of boys of 8–10 years who is passionate about the passing game is several hours in the evening and is in the late afternoon . See their approach to the game was really interesting. 
As we can imagine the first difficulties was representing by the impossibility to talk each other. But after only a few matches (or about 30 minutes … always under my close supervision) the guys respected this rule among the incredulous and amazed looks to parents and seniors who saw 5 guys playing in complete silence!
However, the greatest difficulty that the group had to face was to finish the first scenario. Initially I see that a couple of guys tended to focus more on other players moves than their activities (the tipical problem of the dominant leader ). Also it was difficult to see where is the best way to use its power and how unlock some situation! Everyone reasoned for themselves! 
Games after games … Or rather defeat after defeat. The kids blame other player. Observing the group, it was clear that they could not cooperate. They did not have any tools to cooperate. They were not used to play as a team.
I attended all their matches. After every defeat I started to explain that they had to focus on helping the group. If one player had not seen the sequence you imagine… you could try to found another solution. What they should strain to think more about how to make the best from their powers. After 9–10 games on the first scenario …. the group magically change the way to play! They begin to work together and win three scenarios in a row!

Magic Maze is one of the few cooperative games I’ve played that profoundly stimulates the group to cooperate (along with Apollo XIII). Or rather, it is one of the few games in which cooperation is critical to be able to win (or survive). 
I think these games will allow to develop the competence of “team working”. But surely a group of kids will have the need to be helped to understand what it means to “play as a team.”

Initially you have to worry about exploring throughout the mall. It ‘very important so that players move the heroes on the colorful exploration and boxes corresponding to the player with the power exploration is ready to turn the card and connect it to the “maze.” Be warned that with the heat of the tiles can move and should be able to remain calm during the game

Suggestion for Parents
Magic Maze is a very unique game. The level of adrenaline is really high throughout all the game. But for some player (older or younger) could be frustrating bye the impossibility to speak. 
During the match you could take advantage of the few moments in which we can speak freely. In the first scenarios, you can speak only when someone “turn an hourglass .” In the next scenarios some heroes will be able to activate the possibility to speak on certain boxes. In all these cases, you can talk until someone starts to move a hero … but be careful that the time passes! And be even more careful that as soon as someone moves a hero you have to re-enter into “silent mode” until the next opportuninty. Make well those moments to coordinate your activities !
When you “lose” a scenario dedicate the right time to de-briefing. You have to learn how to manage it in the most constructive way. If it is possible trying to figure out where a player on your team is “stuck” and find a ways to help him in the next game. 
Step by step you will notice that the group will begin to improve their non-verbal communication. The focus of each player will be how to increase its role in the group and how we can coordinate in order to end succesfully the game!

The first task of the game is to explore to find all the objects and outputs!
Keep a hero next to an hourglass space so you can turn around and buy time! But be careful not to turn too soon!
All tiles have been explored and have to worry that every hero reaches his weapon. The purple wizard and the Green Archer simply have a hallway. The orange Nano has to go down the escalators and the warrior can use the teleport er approach his weapon
When players have managed to recover all the weapons (simultaneously) teleportation is “disabled.” In the picture you see the paths that each hero will have to do to achieve its output. You will not have time to get them one at a time and you need to act in parallel on multiple heroes. In many cases some heroes will find themselves along the same path in the same direction. But be careful when you have to move them in opposite directions !!!!