Yep, done I tell you. I had resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t as fast as I used to be when I thoroughly got trounced trying to beat my daughters at Jungle Speed. Then came Quick Cups, which proved way too quick for me. Lately it’s been Gloobz by Gigamic – such a cute game, but I have yet to win a single round! While at Geekway to the West we picked up another dexterity game from Gigamic called Panic Lab. This one is the final straw for me.
Packed in a perfect-for-travel tin box, Panic Lab includes four custom dice, some plastic tokens for scoring and 25 illustrated tiles. The premise is you and up to nine of your friends are working in a lab and a rogue amoeba has somehow escaped and you must find him. Sounds easy, right? Hold on…
All 25 tiles are arranged in a circle. Among the tiles are various colored and shaped amoeba along with three labs, air vents and mutate actions. In Panic Lab, everyone plays at the same time trying to figure out which of the amoeba cards is the correct one that escaped.
Of the four dice, three contain only two possible results (color, shape and pattern), while the third die dictates which lab and which direction he headed. One player rolls all four dice and the race begins to track him down. Right now you’re looking for a striped blue & purple amoeba with one eye that escaped from the red lab. Right now that is. I cannot adequately explain the complexity (and speed) needed to earn just one point (first to 5 wins), so let’s go through just one round using the die results from above.
Start at the red/orange lab and move in the direction of the white arrows (the die result has a white arrow in the center).
As you move clockwise (the direction of the white arrow), upon hitting the third tile the amoeba mutates. This particular tile gives him a second eye (if you had been a 2-eyed version, you would revert back to one eye).
Two more tiles and he enters the air vent, jumping to the next one in line.
Guess what he does next! You guessed it, another mutate. This time he changes colors to red & orange.
OMG, another hop into the air vent!
And another mutate! This time his pattern changes to spots from stripes! Are you keeping track?! Any idea what we’re looking for at this point?!
And yet another trip through the vent.
And FINALLY, he is caught! This is the first time any of the amoeba matched the current condition. All this happens in literally 10-15 seconds if you’re playing against my girls. Me…I was still on the first mutate. I’m not kidding when I say we’ve introduced this game to other adults, only to have them quickly lose 5-0 to our youngest child.
So why should you consider Panic Lab if you’re always destined to lose? First, the price. At under $10 it is a steal for the amount of fun inside the tiny box. Secondly, kids absolutely LOVE it. I haven’t seen a game in a long time that they’re this excited to teach to others (young and old). Of course, the fact they are proficient at it might be influencing their excitement to tell others.
Just like Gloobz, we see many opportunities for expansions that could include new amoeba as well as new tricks, mutations and much more. In fact, combine the two games, include plastic miniatures and this would be a candidate for cutest game ever!