The amoebas have escaped the lab and you must be the first to track them down. In Panic Lab, twenty five cards are laid out in a circle on the table. Cards consist of amoebas with various attributes (spots or stripes, one or two eyes, and two different shapes, which I shall refer to as “Ghosts” and “Slugs”), vents, starting labs (yellow, red and blue), and mutation devices. Each of the starting cards shows two directions black arrows (left) and white arrows (right). The starting players rolls the four dice. The first die will show the color of the escaped amoeba, the second shows it’s shape (ghost or slug), the third shows stripes or spots, and the fourth shows the starting card color and direction.
Players look at the dice and, starting from the indicated start space, follow in the indicated direction to find the indicated amoeba. For example, you may start on yellow, and following along to the left (black arrow) to find the orange, spotted, ghost amoeba. But, wait… if you hit a vent, you must jump to the next vent and continue. This may pass over your intended target! So, as you keep going if you hit a mutation card, it will change one attribute of the amoeba for which you are searching. The player who correctly follows the path and finds the correct amoeba wins the round and gets a victory point chip. But beware, if you pick the wrong amoeba, you lose a victory token! And you have to follow the path without giving any indicators to your opponents. (You have to do it in your head!)
This game is recommended for ages 8+, however, the kids I have played with were very frustrated by the thinkyness (it’s a word, really). Keeping the attributes in your head and following along the path may seem easy, but is actually incredibly hard at times. The more spots you hit and change, the harder it becomes to keep track. This game has cute art and deceptively simple rules, but can be a great brain-burner. Recommendation, unless you are very good at keeping multiple instructions in your head while changing frequently, I’d give this one a pass.