Wooden maze games range from traditional ethnic puzzles to more recently created competitive and educational games. Strictly speaking, mazes and labyrinths are different. Mazes are designed to confuse you with multiple possible pathways and dead ends, while labyrinths usually have only one entrance, which is also the exit, and only one route through a regularly laid out pattern. Some wooden maze games come somewhere between the two, and no distinction is made, with those games often referred to under either category.
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Wooden Labyrinth Game
The wooden Labyrinth game is probably the most well-known classic "maze" game. While officially called Labyrinth, it has many features of a maze, and is often termed so by promoters and users alike. Unlike traditional labyrinths, it doesn't have a regular layout, or a single entrance/exit, and more than one route is possible. A single route is marked out on the top layer of the game, though, and the aim is to move a steel ball bearing around the pathway without letting it fall into the box below through one of the numbered holes along the way. Basic versions of the game have a fixed top layer and are tilted by hand, while premium versions stand on a flat surface while a player manipulates wheels on two sides of the box structure, which tilts the movable top layer.
Quoridor is a wooden maze strategy game made by the French company Gigamic. The game is played by two people. The object of the game is to move your two playing pieces across the board, while tactically building mazes designed to prevent your opponent from moving his two playing pieces across the board first. Identical small flat pieces of wood are alternately slotted into the board by the players to create the maze throughout the game.
This traditional Indian wooden maze game has three small steel balls free to run around the inlaid route. The player has to try and keep the balls in the centre of the round pattern which, ironically, is actually more labyrinth-like in appearance than The Labyrinth game. The game is not as easy as it looks, and is enjoyed by all ages. Fair Trade markets a version made by hand in India that is ideal for travelling. The balls cannot fall out of the grooved "track" and so do not get lost.
Magnet Express Wooden Maze
This wooden puzzle won a Best of School Supply Eye-Hand Coordination Award, and it also helps children to develop problem-solving logical thinking, as well as visual tracking. Opponents start at opposite ends of the board with either a blue or red magnetic "wand." The two wands are handily attached to the board by cables so that they won't get lost. The first child to get all five metal balls into the middle of the board by guiding them through the maze with her magnetic wand wins the game.
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