The Joy of Unboxing: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal

By June 6, 2019 Boardgames, Videos

Mouldy mildew, mother of mouthmuck, dangle and strangle and death.

Let’s go outside to open two games set in Jim Henson’s amazing worlds of Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.

Like many of my generation, I was blown away by the beautiful, pre-CGI fantasy films The Dark Crystal (1982) and The Labyrinth (1986) when they were released. This was a wonderful period of fantasy filmmaking that had been kicked off by the mainstream acceptance of Dungeons and Dragons and cemented by the success of Conan the Barbarian (1982)—such films as Krull (1983), The Sword and the Sorceror (1982) and yes, even Hawk the Slayer (1980)! The effects were practical, but no one took them to the incredibly ambitious level of Jim Henson’s workshop.

Wonderfully, a new Dark Crystal film has just been announced—Age of Resistance (here’s the trailer) and it will be very interesting to see if new generations born and bred on CGI will take to this imaginative vision.

In the meantime, it’s surprising that no one came up with boardgames set in these universes before Riverhorse’s Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. With artwork and figure sculpting by New Zealand’s own Johnny Fraser-Allen, they certainly look great, though I’ve read that the gameplay is simplistic and unsatisfying. Understandably, they were probably going for a more mainstream, Talisman-like market. But for fans like me, these are still worth adding to the collection, if only for the lovely miniatures.

Johnny Fraser-Allen used to work for Weta Workshop, but now runs a company making stunning 3D fantasy terrain. Check out his successful Kickstarter campaign Hagglethorn Hollow.

Now, on to the unboxings!

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