Dale Yu: Review of Daedalian Depths (Book)

Daedalian Depths

daedalian depths cover

Though we normally review boardgames here, from time to time we take a look at other things which interest us (and therefore, we hope, interest you).  I was given the opportunity to look at Daedalian Depths, a new slim paperback book from Rami Hansenne.   We have reviewed one of his puzzle books before, Codex Enigmatum (https://opinionatedgamers.com/2018/11/09/preview-codex-enigmatum/).  

This new tome is a bit different – this one is laid out as a maze within a book.  The description reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books from my teen years, Maze by Christopher Manson (https://amzn.to/3wFH8KE).  The premise of that book is: “There are forty-five rooms in the Maze and each room is numbered. As outlined in the directions, by selecting the correct door in each room, it is possible to go from room #1 to room #45 and back to room #1 in only sixteen steps. Hidden in room #45 is a riddle. The answer to that riddle is concealed somewhere along the shortest path through the Maze.”  [NB: you can play an online version here – http://www.intotheabyss.net/ ]

From the publisher’s description: “You wake up and find yourself in a strange and eerie place. Numbered doors lead off into the unknown, but which one to select and what awaits beyond? Daedalian Depths locks the reader into an otherworldly labyrinth wherein astute readers may recognize the myriad clues embedded in the text and enigmatic illustrations. Gather your wits, challenge your perceptive and deductive abilities, and try to escape. But make too many wrong choices and the maze may swallow you whole.

This is a mind twisting book you could read in a few minutes, but if you want to solve the mystery, prepare to spend several hours poring over the text and illustrations. You will need to go back and forth between the pages, scrutinizing each clue. You will likely find yourself doubling back and going around in circles, but the persistent reader will find their way out and meet their destiny.

As you can see, this book is clearly modeled on the original Maze book, but presents all new riddles and puzzles for the reader.  Also, there is NOT a $10,000 prize for the first person to solve the puzzle!

daedalian depths prologue

On the first page, you read the Prologue which gives a bit of the backstory and explains some of the rules… Essentially, you must travel through the maze to reach the final chamber and exit the maze.  However, not only do you have to find the path to the final chamber, you also have to collect clues to solve the puzzle on that final page.  These clues will be found on the shortest path from the start to the final chamber.

The rest of the book are sets of paired pages, with the room number and story on the left and a richly illustrated line drawing on the right for that page.  In each illustration you will find one or more numbered doors.  You will also see lots of other details in the artwork; some hopefully giving you clues to which door you should choose in that room, and as mentioned above, some clues to help you solve the final puzzle.   Once you choose your path, you move through one of the doors/passages, and then turn to the page number matching the exit you chose.

daedalian depths page 1

But, there are a lot of things on each page!  How do you know which information is useful to you and which is just there for decoration?  I wish I knew!  I have been playing/reading this book for over a week now, and while I think that I’ve found the shortest path to the final chamber, I have not quite unlocked the final riddle.

There are some hints provided in the book – but those clues are for the initial room only.  The hints do help give some insight into how the first page works, and you can maybe use those clues to extrapolate how other rooms might work – but without any other clues, it’s hard to know for sure.

So you will wind your way back and forth through the 47 chambers (sets of pages) in the book, trying to find your way to the center.  On my first few passes, I tried to just read the book, make decisions quickly and see what came on the next page.  After getting in a few loops and dead-ends, I later decided to take a few notes to help me learn where I was going.   It has been an enjoyable pastime at work; I often have a few minutes of downtime between appointments, and I’d pick up the book and work on the current page – taking notes and working out where I wanted to go next; then make the decision, change pages in the book, and then put it back down, awaiting my next mini break to then look at the next page.

By the time that I figured out how to get to the final chamber of the maze, I think that I had seen about 80 percent of the pages.  I then actually went back through the maze to make sure that I had looked at everything – in case there was a hidden clue in one of the yet to be explored illustrations.

the maze

So, as I mentioned earlier, I have yet to discover the final solution.  But I have spent probably 8 to 10 hours total exploring, and it has been an enjoyable experience thus far, and one that I would recommend to others.  My only complaint (and it’s not really a complaint) is that I’m not sure how to know if I solve the final puzzle correctly, though I’m hoping that it will be made clear to me when I finally break thru and solve it!  I decided to write the review now, because it may be that my end result of this book is the same as the Maze – that is, I never actually solve the final puzzle!  And rather than wait for it, I figured I’d write the review now and let others know about the book so they can try it themselves!

If you are interested, you can find the book at Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/2TvZL5e

Until your next appointment

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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1 Response to Dale Yu: Review of Daedalian Depths (Book)

  1. Gerardo Solis says:

    Totally sold with this review, please let us know if you solved.

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