The Maze of Ishtar

Anachromagique, Inc, 1984, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up. Despite owning literally dozens of fantastic games that would keep my friends and I happily chugging along until we're old and gray (or more aptly, older and grayer), I continue to buy a lot of strange and obscure games (sight-unseen) off of eBay. And so far, my gaming partners have remained remarkably patient with my attempts to coerce them into trying them out (mainly for the purposes of these web pages, mind you - I am, and shall ever be, your humble servant). However, there are some games that just smell bad right from the get-go and I think trying to foist them upon my pals would probably wear their patience quite thin in a hurry. "Ishtar" is one such game (ouch, important marketing point: never use the word "Ishtar" in anything you do). I haven't played, nor will I ever play it, but from what I can tell it looks very much like a very weak version of Games Workshop's "Dungeonquest". Who knows? Since it predates DQ by a couple of years, maybe it served as their inspiration. Anyway, here's what has to say about it:

"This obscure game is similar to the German "Das verrueckte Labyrinth", but the maze is much more complicated. Up to 4 adventurers try to collect 4 items from the 4 corners of the maze and bring them to the center. Each of the complex tiles can be turned through magic during the game, an ingenious idea is that 2 tiles can be "locked" and prevented from being turned by having a pawn in-between them. Each player commands "himself" and a smaller "explorer" pawn, which explores the tiles and collects spell cards. Fantasy-themed, but essentially an abstract race/maze-game (which doesn't totally work, but is sort of interesting)."

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