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REVIEW - 21305 - MAZE INTRODUCTION Admittedly, I definitely wasn't one of the first backers of the Labyrinth Marble Maze. Not that I didn't like it, but I only visit the LEGO Ideas website every once in a while. When I saw this project I supported it immediately though. Because I have been waiting for this set my entire life? Not really. But it's definitely very original and it is somewhat linked the LEGO games product line, which I do appreciate. When TLG asked if we would be interested in doing a review, I didn't hesitate to volunteer. I liked the opportunity to find out more about this set, especially how the tip-and-tilt mechanism works. I'm guessing we will find some Technic elements, but who knows! PICTURES Pictures can be clicked to view hi-res versions. DISCLAIMER This set has been provided by the CEE Team of TLG. It's not my goal to promote this set. It's my goal to give you an honest opinion about it. Therefor, the opinion in this review is my own and is in no way linked to TLG. SET INFORMATION Number: 21305 Title: Maze Theme: Miscellaneous, LEGO Ideas Released: 2016 Part Count: 769 Box Weight: 1542 gr Box Dimensions: 38 cm x 26 cm x 9 cm Set Price (MSRP): € 69,99 (est.) Price per Part: € 0,091 (est.) Links: Brickset, Bricklink THE BOX The box looks different than a regular LEGO set box. For starters, the entire box is covered with a maze pattern, which obviously represents the set. Furthermore, it's a box with a flip-open cover, so it can be easily used to store LEGO parts or other stuff. The front of the box shows the image of the default Maze, with a container to store the balls. It also tells us that a booklet with inspiration for extra mazes is included, which made me curious. The right bottom shows the LEGO Ideas logo with the number #13, which indicates this is the thirteenth set published via LEGO Ideas (CUUSOO). The back of the box shows it's a 2-in-1 set, which boils down to the fact that there's an extra maze included. The base will probably remain the same. The back also refers to the inspirational booklet. CONTENTS OF THE BOX Nice thing about this kind of box is that you can open it up gently to see what's inside. The instruction booklet is stored beneath the baseplate, which protects it perfectly from damaging. The bags and the four black plates are stored on top of the baseplate. Makes you wish that more sets are be packed like this. Thumbs up for this box The box contains: 1 x Instruction booklet 1 x Base plate - 32 x 32 4 x Black plates - 16 x 8 8 x Unnumbered Bags BOOKLET A single booklet with instructions and inspiration, so there's no separate inspirational booklet. PLATES A 32 x 32 baseplate and four black 16 x 8 plates. BAGS Ten unnumbered bags, which is more than I expected. HIGHLIGHTED PARTS If you are into building modular buildings, this set is a great source for parts. It contains loads of tan bricks and tan and black tiles. You might not expect it, but this sets also contains some interesting parts. 32 x 32 BASEPLATE The Baseplate is actually pretty rare. It's only found in the Parisian Restaurant in Light Bluish Grey. 6 x 6 TILES These tiles aren't new, but they are by no means common. From 2009 to 2012 they appeared in eight sets. Edit: Actually it's this tile included in the set, which is less rare. SOCCER BALLS The Orange Soccer Ball appears in only four other sets and is quite popular in the GBC scene. YELLOW TECHNIC AXLES Since 2016 TLG has changed their "axle strategy". Axles aren't mostly grey and black anymore, but yellow and red. Red for even length axles and yellow for uneven length axles. This set contains two of these new axles, 4 x 9L and 2 x 3L. PLATE WITH TOWBALL This 1 x 2 Plate with Towball has been released this year (2016). It also appears in some Mixel sets and a Nexo Knight set. TECHNIC AXLE CONNECTOR This orange Technic Axle Connector makes his debut this year (2016). It will probably appear in one of the 2H Technic sets as well, because it could have been used in any color in this set. Don't want to spoil the fun, but I can only think of one set.... PART LIST This set contains 769 parts, which can be found in the part list at the end of the booklet. Looking at the image makes clear that this set contains more colored parts than you'd think at first sight. THE MAZE AND THE DESIGNER The first two pages of the booklet are dedicated to the Maze and the Designer. THE MAZE LEGO Maze reinvents the classic ball and labyrinth game, adding a twist of creative LEGO building to the fun. Built entirely from LEGO elements, the LEGO Maze consists of a base frame and a simple tip-and-tilt mechanism made up of LEGO beams and axles. You turn the wheels to move the maze up and down or from side to side, guiding the ball away from the traps. Challenge your family and friends and see who navigates past the obstacles fastest. Once you've mastered the two maze designs included with the set, you will find lots of inspiration to start creating your own mazes using the bricks included or any of your own LEGO elements. You decide how simple or challenging the maze should be. Add extra traps or more walls, or use different colored elements. The interchangeable maze system means you can easily swap maze plates without rebuilding the entire game. The set also includes a removable container to store the balls and a travel lock that keeps everything in place when you are carrying or storing the game. Build up your gaming skills and enjoy hours of challenging and creative fun with this latest creation from LEGO Ideas. Here's a picture of the classic wooden toy. THE DESIGNER Jason Alleman LEGO fan and designer of the LEGO Maze "Growing up I was always fascinated with how things worked. I have never actually owned one of those original wooden mazes, but I would always be drawn to them whenever visiting someone who had one." "After building a few smell mazes it didn't take before I was building larger mazes to run a LEGO soccer ball through. I originally tried to recreate the wooden version of the labyrinth maze as faithfully as possible, but it quickly became apparent that this wasn't practical." "I decided to decrease the size of the maze and eliminate the holes. By having the ball fall into the depressions, the maze could be built using fewer larger plates." "One of the limitations of the original wooden toy is that it is always the same. There is no way to make it more or less difficult, or modify the maze to have a different play experience. As I was designing this model I really wanted to embrace the customization that having it built out of LEGO pieces would allow." "Not only can people modify the difficulty of the mazes to gradually increase their skill, but they can create mazes that follow specific patters, themed mazes, mazes with multiple pathways to the finish. The possibilities seem almost limitless." THE BUILD Enough with the background information and other facts, let's start building the maze! Of course, the inclusion of the baseplate is a huge spoiler of where we begin. This picture is taken right before you start to build some of the elements for the tip-and-tilt mechanism. As you can see the interior of the base doesn't solely contain black parts. Building the base feels like starting the VW Van, UCS R2D2 or some the other Star Wars UCS sets. What they have in common is that they have a monotone or duotone exterior, but the inner section is comprised of a color-vommit of parts. At first I found this strange, but I started to like it. It facilitates the building process and it prevents from getting only grey (or another color) parts. We continue the build by adding some Technic axles and liftarms, which will be connected to the upper section later on. The big black gear on the side will be used to control one of two tilting movements of the upper secion. Finishing the base is all about adding black bricks. After the base frame the first section of the tip-and-tilt mechanism is constructed. This consists of simple square frame, almost entirely made up of tan bricks and tiles. Two black pivot points connect the frame to the base. Here you can see the first section connected to the base. After attaching the second gear, the first section of the upper section can be tilted. The video below shows the inner workings of the Maze. We proceed by building the inner upper section of the tip-and-tilt mechanism. This section has a single stud border with tiles on the inside. These tiles provide a smooth surface to lay-in the actual maze. Since the maze doesn't connect to any studs it's easy to replace with a different design. Here you can see the inner section attached to the outer section. This basically concludes the tip-and-tilt mechanism and finishes the base. Here you can see the entire base in action. Now it's time to build one of the two mazes! This is a matter of building a custom base plate, which is made up of the four black 16 x 8 plates and a single black 8 x 8 plate. After building the base plate it's tan tile galore. Grey bricks are used as walls. I personally would have liked the grey bricks to be covered with grey tiles, to give it a smooth finish, but it's no biggie. The green section indicatates the start and the red section the end. One needs to move the ball from the green to the red section. The maze inlay is conviently placed in the inner upper section, which completes the build! Some people refered to the model as looking rather dull. I definitely don't agree. I think the black base with tan tip-and-tilt mechanism looks great. There's enough contrast between the base and the mechanism. The wooden game is entirely made up of wood, which would result in a completely tan model. I think this is a great compromise. FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS This being the maze game, one can't expect it to have loads of features and functions. You can turn the two gears to operate the tip-and-tilt mechanism. Besides that, there's a lock (the black box) to keep the mechanism in place when traveling. Furthermore there's a storage container which holds four balls. That's about it, and that's exactly what I expected from this set. The video below shows a demonstration of the game. Looking at the video you can see one downside of this maze layout. When the ball moves fast it doesn't "fall into the black holes". It simply moves on. I consider this inappropriate game play. I did make it to the finish once, but the ball jumped a few holes in the process. Another small issue is that the ball has mold marks, which makes it slightly irregular in shape, resulting in sudden unexpected movement. This isn't a big issue though. What I do think is an issue, is that the tip-and-tilt mechanism has slightly more tip and tilt in a single way. This means that tipping one way has more effect than tipping the other way. Same goes for tilting. Sometimes you need to change direction really fast and having less movement can be limiting. Does this diminish the fun?! Not really. A little frustration is what makes this game fun. I still found myself challenged to get the ball to the finish. I showed it to my dad who immediately was inclined to play a few rounds. Putting this game on the coffee table will draw everyones attention, I can assure you that much. ALTERNATIVE MODEL AND INSPIRATION After building the first model, there's lots of parts left. These are used for building the alternative maze. You use the included brick separator to remove the tan tiles and grey bricks, until you only have the black base plate. On that base plate you start building the other maze, which you can see in the picture below. The alternative maze attached to the base. The alternate maze in action. Obviously there's no way to tell how many attempts I needed, but I can tell you this maze is a lot easier. It only took me three times to complete the maze. I must admit that I am not entirely sure what the start and what the end is, so I might have taken the wrong path. At the end of the booklet there are two pages with inspiration for three other mazes. Instructions for these mazes are not included, but they should be easy to build, by looking at the pictures. The front of the box states that it includes a booklet with inspiration for extra mazes. While it does include three extra mazes, I found this to be a bit of a dissapointment. Five mazes in total isn't bad at all, but the statement on the box made me expect more. All in all I do like the alternate maze. It has a bit of a Mini Golf feel to it, which I find rather cool. SUMMARY This set is what it is...a Maze game, so we need to judge this set accordingly. It doesn't have nice little details like the modular buildings, it doesn't have cool Minifigures like some of the Star Wars sets and it doesn't have loads of functionality like most of the Technic sets. We need to compare apples with apples and not with pears. I think the designer did a great job in recreating a classic wooden game into a LEGO set. Ironically the LEGO brand has a history in wooden toys, which adds some value to this concept. The set looks great. I especially like the combination of the black base with the tan tip-and-tilt mechanism. The first maze is a very simple, yet difficult, maze, while the second has more appeal, but is a lot easier. I think TLG (or the designer) made the right choice. The tip-and-tilt mechanism feels a bit flawed, because it extends to one side more than the other. This limits gameplay in a certain way. Same goes for the included balls, which have mold marks and are not completely round. However, both these flaws are minor issues. Overall the game is lots of fun and it will generate a lot of interest. This set contains a lot of tiles, which can be useful if you are into modular buildings. If you are looking for those orange axle connectors, this set comes to the rescue. And it will get you started if you are thinking of starting a GBC career All jokes aside, this set might not be interesting enough for everyone, but I think it's a very original set and I do like it a lot. Thumbs up for TLG and Jason Alleman (and of course for the 10.000+ backers who agreed with me) SCORE Okay, so how do I grade this set? 7 DESIGN Simple, yet true to original. 7 BUILDING EXPERIENCE Straightforward build. 7 FEATURES Changeable layout is a plus. 7 PLAYABILITY Just as much fun as the real game, with some minor flaws. 7 PARTS Basic set of parts, lots of tiles and it includes a 32 x 32 baseplate. 7 VALUE FOR MONEY Worth the money, if you are into this type of set. 7 Maze-merizing EXTRAS There's a nice article on Brickjournal about remotely controlling the maze with your Mindstorms EV3 units. Thanks you for reading this review. All pictures can be found in my album.
My board entry for the maze contest: it's a castle fortress! This maze board is raised-level, to enable the use of real holes. It is much heavier than a standard board, but works fine with the tilt system. It may be the case that it causes this board to require more careful gear manipulation. Any ball that falls into a hole rolls around under the "floor" and can easily be retrieved at the castle entrance, in a similar manner to public billiards tables. Apart from one high-risk short-cut, the maze has one path, and can be traversed in either direction. The video shows how this works both with the "soccer balls" and marbles. The original board when placed in the tilt system sat too low to do the castle appearance justice, so an extra brick was added below it as shown. (All vision is of the final version.) The inclusion of those bricks also makes it easier to insert & remove the board from the tilt system, it isn't easy placing a 24x24 brick inside a 24x24 hole. Enjoy a demonstration video, in which you may possibly catch my poorly acted vocal reactions. Flickr set Let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy. I have certainly had fun playing with the maze...