Kill or be killed….in the end, that is all that will matter, and only one name will be remembered in the tales of legend.
In between however, there are decisions to be made. Knossus is a wonderfully simple concept, and familiar to gamers near and far – combatants enter a maze, and hunt the monster.
Yes, there are items you can pick up, and shrines to visit – but these are naught but tools to get your young Athenian back out alive.
Knossus is pared down to some simple but nasty decisions. It starts with the actions open to you. You have a hand of four action cards – each will normally allow you to move a certain number of spaces, maybe making a turn along the way. The twist is that you have to share these with the monster – two cards each. And so do your opponents. You may want to send the monster a certain way, but another player can immediately undo all your good work – or maybe even send the beast roaring in your direction.
So far, so good. At it’s simplest, your hero just has to rush to get the sword, then get to the monster and slay it – with the other heroes getting in the way.
But now consider the other items, and the shrines.
You can loiter by a shrine, using them to “fix” a specific movement cards – that can really help you make progress. But the shrines are a distraction, so while you are chasing this, your opponents could be racing ahead – and if they are quick and smart, finish the monster while you are still bending your neck to the uncaring stone face of your deity.
There are also other items which add useful tweaks – get the ball of thread and you can decide to spend your actions where you will, even all on the monster or all on your hero. Suddenly you become very dangerous to opponents who thought they were just about out of harm’s way…
Get the Amulet and you can take whichever other item you want, whoever has it – as long as you get to a shrine.
Put it all together and you get quick play from simple rules, but with cat-and-mouse interaction between players as positions and strategies shift, the game unfolds, heroes die and are replaced, until eventually one will claim the beast’s head, and walk with face aloft into the bright sunshine outside the labyrinth….
Failing that, next year Athens will have to send another seven victims.