Labyrinth of Chartres

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Labyrinth of Chartres
Designer: Red Baron
Type: Novelty
Countries: 128 (Extra-Large)
Board Info
Reviews Launch Game
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Labyrinth of Chartres is a two-tier map design based on a medieval labyrinth in a French cathedral and a city map of Jerusalem.

[edit] Background

In medieval times, labyrinths were often built into the floors of cathedrals. They were meditation devices in which a parishioner could imagine being on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, stopping at each of fourteen "stations of the cross" to contemplate the Passion of Christ. Over the centuries these labyrinths fell out of favor in the church, and only a few survive today. One such labyrinth can be found in the Cathedral of Chartres near Paris.

The Chartres labyrinth is reproduced in this gameboard. It is not a maze, merely a simple, highly convoluted path from starting point to center, with fourteen stops along the way. On its own, this labyrinth would form a rather tedious game, so a map of Jerusalem has been added to show where (according to tradition) the fourteen stations are located in the real world. Players can transport themselves between the "real Jerusalem" and the "labyrinth Jerusalem" at each station, which has the effect of adding shortcuts to the labyrinth.

The "real world" path starts at the traditional location where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate, and follows the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional location of his crucifixion. The last five stations are contained within this church.

[edit] Gameplay

There are fourteen continents in this game, one for each station. A continent consists of a given station in Jerusalem, the corresponding station on the labyrinth, and the path on the labyrinth from the station to the next station. Each continent is worth three armies per turn.

Topologically, the design consists of fourteen long tunnels connected at both ends. This game was largely an experiment to see if such a configuration would make a good game. Unfortunately, this configuration often leads to slow, defensive games, which will limit its popularity. Nevertheless, it should be useful as a novelty game and should work well as a game for two players or two teams of players.

Players sometimes find it easy to get 'turned around' in the labyrinth. To assist these players, black dots have been placed in each segment of the labyrinth to indicate the 'downstream' direction. All segments downstream of a station numeral, up to the next numeral, belong to the indicated station.

[edit] Strategy

The game is most often won by a player who establishes a power base at either the top of the Jerusalem map or in the church at its bottom. This is because these players usually fight a one-front war while the players in the center are fighting on two fronts.

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