The Labyrinth is a roleplaying game inspired by different geographical, economic, cultural, and historical characteristics of Romania. The team of players must work together to perform a series of tasks and move forward through a labyrinth that crosses the Romanian territory with the ultimate goal of exiting the labyrinth.

The story of the game

Once upon a time, there was a royal child, called Hero, who left his father’s castle to find Youth without Age and Life without Death that had been promised to him upon his birth. Finding out that his father, the Emperor, had made the promise just to trick him into accepting to be born, Hero decided to embark upon a quest and find what was so much desired by everybody but, as most people would say, impossible to achieve especially at such a young age: Youth without Age and Life without Death.

Thus, as predicted by the fairy godmother, on the special day when the rainbow had only three colors, blue, yellow, and red, Hero went out the gates of the castle and headed northwards. He traveled for several days and, suddenly, one morning, as the mist rose, he found himself surrounded by some strange looking monuments that looked like tombstones, but were too colorful to be regarded as such. As he approached one of these monuments to take a closer look, a clocklike creature with long arms and legs, appeared from behind one of the monuments, stood in front of Hero, blocking his way, and said in a ding-dong voice:

  • - Who is this stranger that has just trespassed the borders of my realm and set me running again after years and years of rusting away in my sleep?
  • Hero, pretending not to be afraid, answered quickly:
  • - I am sorry to have disturbed your sleep, sir …!
  • - I am the Guardian, replied the clocklike creature authoritatively, and this is Săpânța, my country. Who are you and what are you doing here all by yourself?
  • - I am Hero, son of the ruler of the stronghold of Bacău. I am traveling for pleasure and business: I must find Youth without Age and Life without Death.
  • - Hahaha!, laughed the Guardian. There is no such thing, at least not for you, child, everybody knows it … But, once you are here, you must obey the rules of my country, that is, if you want to be free again, because, for now, you are my prisoner. So, whoever steps into my territory without a visa sets me running and has to bear the consequences.
  • - Well then, what are the consequences?
  • - If you want to be free again and have your chance of finding what you’re searching for, you must take this route that takes you into a labyrinth. There will be obstacles, but I cannot tell you of what kind and how to overcome them. I will accompany you, just to remind you that the clock is ticking and to make sure that there is no cheating going around … Also, I hold the keys to the truth that you shall need and I will help you when you will ask for my help. But remember, everything has a price!
  • At that point, two more creatures appeared out of nowhere behind Hero’s back: one of them looked like an old ragged book and the other one like an antiquated pencil. Drawing closer, the book-like creature said to Hero:
  • - I am your father’s Advisor, Hero. The Emperor has sent me to take care of you. And this is the imperial Storyteller, said the Advisor introducing the pencil-like creature. So far, we have kept ourselves at a distance, unseen. But now, looking at this creature here, I believe that you and we should travel together. We may help you with the guidance and recording of your travel. What do you say, my child?
  • Hero looked around in amazement and stood silent for several moments; however, time was already ticking away and, as he now wanted to be free again, agreed to be accompanied by the Advisor, the Storyteller, and the Guardian. They took the Route indicated by the Guardian and crossed several countries. Upon entering each new realm, Hero had to figure out passwords to be allowed to move forward and the Advisor would help when necessary; from time to time, when having a rest, the Storyteller would tell a story about their whereabouts.
    Eventually, upon exiting the labyrinth Route, Hero found himself standing in front of the gates of his father’s castle. Entering the castle, Hero found the Emperor ill and unable to rule the country anymore. Approaching humbly the throne where his father barely kept himself straight, Hero said:
  • - Dear father, I have crossed many countries and seen and learned many things. I will rule the country from now on, together with the team standing here today with me: the Advisor, the Storyteller, and the Guardian; they will be my councilors. Traveling together with them has made me realize that Youth without Age and Life without Death means making wise decisions to benefit oneself and others and only by working as a team will we be able to do this. The Emperor agreed, happy to see Hero back, older but stronger and wiser.
  • There were elections organized, and Hero, together with the team of councilors, were elected to rule the country.

Target audience

The game is intended for higher education students; students do not need any pre-knowledge.

The main learning goals we are trying to achieve with the game are:

  • Goal 1: students increase their general knowledge about Romania and Romanian culture.
  • Goal 2: students practice and develop communication skills in English.
  • Goal 3: students practice and develop soft skills: leadership skills: e.g., decision making, team communication, negotiation; management skills: e.g., time prioritization, interpersonal skills, communication, financial management.
  • Goal 4: students practice and develop intercultural awareness related skills: perspective switching, observation, empathy, decision making, taking practical and effective actions.
  • Goal 5: students practice and develop collaboration skills in English.

  • Goal 1: students increase their general knowledge about Romania and Romanian culture. We achieve this learning goal by using a map of Romania, puzzles with different sights in Romania, characters are based on famous Romanian fairy-tale characters and the story of the game is a rewriting of the Romanian fairy tale called Youth without Age and Life without Death.

  • Goal 2: students practice and develop communication skills in English. We will achieve this goal by having the whole communication in the game and all materials in English. Also, students' stories should be written and told in English.

  • Goal 3: students practice and develop soft skills: leadership skills: e.g., decision making, team communication, negotiation; management skills: e.g., time prioritization, interpersonal skills, communication, financial management. We will achieve this goal by putting students in different problem situations. They will need decision-making skills and the ability to take practical and effective actions if they want to perform the tasks successfully. Students will work in teams and will have to communicate and negotiate on information and time resources to move to the next level in the game.

  • Goal 4: students practice and develop intercultural awareness related skills: perspective switching, observation, empathy, decision making, taking practical and effective actions. We will achieve this goal by having students play different characters. Each character has some predefined characteristics and a set of actions to perform. Students will have to put themselves in the role of different characters and act based on the character features as well as their personality.

  • Goal 5: students practice and develop collaboration skills in English. We will achieve this goal by having students play a game in competing teams. Students in teams will have to collaborate in English to perform the tasks as well as create several short stories or find hidden clues in a text on the back of a puzzle.

    The goal of the game is:
    • the goal is to perform a series of tasks and, based on correct answers, to move forward through a labyrinth towards the final exit point;
    • each team has to save resources, collect pieces of information, find clues on the map and solve puzzles across three levels of difficulty;
    • on their way they are faced with various obstacles;
    • the winner is the team that exits the labyrinth first.

What do we need to play?

Click on the buttons to see all the materials.

Inventory of cards

Role cards for players:

The role cards contain a description of the character and the actions the character may perform during the game.

Role cards (Blue team) Role cards (Green team)

Cards for Heroes:

The Labyrinth Routes contain the tasks that the Hero and his/her team must perform to progress in the game.

Labyrinth (Blue) Labyrinth (Green))

Gate cards (Blue) Gate cards (Green)

Resources for Storytellers:

Pen and pencil to take notes

Cards for Advisors

The Books of Resources contain additional resources that the Advisor may give to the Hero to help solve the task, or indications on how the Advisor can help the Hero for certain tasks: search for clues on the map, make a puzzle and find the answer, play a song.

Book of resources (Blue) Book of resources (Green)

Cards and resources for Guardians:

The Treasure chests contain the correct answers for all the tasks and indications for the Guardian.

Puzzles (Blue) Puzzles (Green)

Treasure chest (Blue) Treasure chest (Green)

Romanian banknotes

Cards for teams:

1 Board map of Romania for the each team

1 Game instructions and rules for the each team

Board map of Romania Game instructions sheet

Game setting

The Labyrinth Route for 1 level of the game looks like this:

ENTRANCE (1 task –)

The HOUSE of Moldavia-Bucovina (1 task)

Gate 1 (1 task)

The HOUSE of Dobrudja (1 task)

Gate 2 (1 task)

The HOUSE of Wallachia (1 task)

Gate 3 (1 task)

The HOUSE of Banat-Crişana (1 task)

Gate 4 (1 task)

The HOUSE of Transylvania (1 task)

Gate 5 (1 task)

The HOUSE of Maramureş (1 task)

EXIT (1 task)

There are two Labyrinth Routes, a Green one for the Green team, and a Blue one for the Blue team. Each Route contains an Entrance, 6 Romanian traditional Houses specific to and representing 6 Romanian regions, 5 Gates between houses and one Exit point. The houses, gates, entrance and exit are associated with tasks the Hero and his/her team have to overcome to exit the Labyrinth successfully. The Gates are represented by fun tasks meant to provide short breaks and a moment of celebration for having overcome a certain task. There is also one map of Romania for each team, on which the Guardian traces the path that each team covers as they move forward through the game. With the board map of Romania and Romanian regions we support the idea of a cultural component in the game. The idea of the board map is to help players visualize their labyrinth path as they perform tasks and progress in the game.

Playing the game

Roles of the players

The students form 2 teams by drawing role cards: Blue or Green Hero, Blue or Green Advisor, Blue or Green Storyteller, Blue or Green Guardian. The Guardian joins the team with a different color.

The 2 Heroes draw the Labyrinth Route according to their color (e.g., Green Hero draws the Green Labyrinth Map); the Labyrinth Route contains Entrance, Gate, and House tasks that the Hero must solve to be able to advance into the labyrinth and finally exit the labyrinth.

After having answered the Entrance task, the Hero moves to the first House card, and solves the task written on the respective House card to be allowed to move forward to the 2nd House card, and so on. Between Houses, there are Gate cards; the Heroes must also complete the tasks on the Gate cards, but these are more like a moment of celebration, fun, and a break.

To solve the task from the House cards, the Hero has the following options:

  • 1. Answers/performs the task all by himself/herself;
  • 2. Asks for Resources from the Advisor;
  • 3. Finds the answer by solving a puzzle from the Guardian;
  • 4. Finds the answer on the map;
  • 5. Searches for clues on the Internet to be able to perform the task.

The 2 Advisors (1 for each team) help the Heroes answer the questions by providing him/her with Resources (additional questions and/or clues) upon the Hero’s request but do not provide the answer. Each Advisor receives a Book of Resources at the beginning of the game, according to the color of his/her team and the Labyrinth Route of the Hero. The Advisor supports the Hero to solve/perform all the types of tasks: searching for clues on the map, solving puzzles and finding the answer in the text on the back of the puzzle, advising the Hero on how to perform tasks that require dancing, singing, preparing a meal, making and telling a story, playing music on the phone.

The 2 Storytellers (1 for each team) accompany the team and take notes of what happens during the game to write a story. He/she holds a notebook and a pen (or a pen and paper) where he/she takes notes on what happens while the team crosses a certain level of the labyrinth so that he/she may write the story and tell it to the Guardian at that level’s Exit point. After hearing the story, the Guardian allows the team to exit the respective Level.

The 2 Guardians (1 for each team) hold the Treasure chest with the correct answers and the puzzles available for certain tasks. The Guardian confirms when the Hero gives correct answers. The Guardian rewards the Hero with 1 LEU (Romanian banknote currency) for each task that the Hero solves all by himself/herself (namely, without any resources from the Advisor, puzzles, or map), except for the Gate tasks, where there is no reward. The Guardian evaluates how each task is solved/performed and, based on the result, allows the Hero and his/her team to move forward in the labyrinth. The Guardian listens to the story of the Storyteller and after that allows the team to exit the respective Level. After drawing the role cards, the Guardian joins the other team, for example, the Green Guardian joins the Blue team.

Re-playability of the game: players change roles; teams exchange labyrinth routes. Time for playing the game: 45 minutes.


The teacher is the Game Master/Narrator in the game; he/she:

  • - narrates the story of the game;
  • - explains the rules of the game;
  • - presents the challenges of the game;
  • - is in charge of role distribution (players draw their role cards out of a box/bag held by the Game Master/teacher);
  • - distributes the other materials to each character (Labyrinth Routes to Heroes, Books of Resources to Advisors, Treasure chests to Guardians) and 1 board map to each team;
  • - monitors the progress of each team without interfering and makes sure that everybody plays by the rules.

Read the handbook to find out more about:

  • - rewards and punishments,
  • - player engagement, participation, and motivation,
  • - game mechanics and
  • - all other important information about the game.

The Labryrinth Handbook

How to use the game in (higher) education?

The game mechanics allow it to be adjusted and used for educational purposes at different disciplines.

The game setting, instructions, and rules remain the same; but the tasks may be replaced to refer to learning content from disciplines as varied as Mathematics, Economy, Philosophy, History, Biology, foreign languages, etc.

Also, the game is highly adjustable to the learner’s age and needs by having tasks with varying degrees of difficulty.

For example, the game could be easily transformed into a game for teaching Mathematics at an academic level or the primary school level; or for teaching Biology at first-year students and Biology at third-year students.

Also, teachers can modify the tasks to adjust the game goals to their learners’ learning styles – audio, visual, kinaesthetic – by connecting the tasks to visuals or auditory materials, or kinaesthetic experiments.

Download all the materials

The game was prepared at the »Vasile Alecsandri« University of Bacau (UVAB), Romania.