Spotlight– Lairs By Naturalist Games

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Research

Megs radarThroughout the week, I keep my eyes open for new and interesting projects on Kickstarter, and I am always researching projects for my spotlights or my weekly list. I started my Meg’s Radar list as a reference for myself and to also give a few more projects for you guys to check out. So far, there have been some really good ones on the lists.

I pulled this particular game from my last list, because it was definitely worthy of a full spotlight. Lairs by Naturalist Games just seems so unique and different from anything I have played before, and I haven’t heard of any other games like it.

Journey to the Center of The Mountain

Its peak soars above the lower crags. It towers over the lands below. From the path of any journey, from any land high or low, it can be seen. The monstrous mass, the titan– it can only go by one name: The Mountain. At its center are ancient relics that will give great power. All of the creatures of the land seek it for themselves– they wish to obtain the Legacy. They dig their lairs deep into the mountain, searching…

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The creatures. Photo Credit: Lairs Kickstarter campaign page

Lairs is a 3-5 player semi-cooperative game that plays in 45-75 minutes. Players take on the roles of powerful creatures, each with their own motives and history. These creatures are vying for control of The Mountain by building their lairs to its center, so that they may claim its ancient power.

The game is played over two distinct phases: The Build and The Crawl. During the building phase, players will bid for chamber tiles for their lair. Each chamber tile has one of four characteristics: Dark, thin, vast, or ruin. The creatures roles also have one of those four characteristics. Creatures operate better in chambers that share the same characteristics. During the build phase, players creature roles are hidden, so that players may strategically prepare themselves and their lairs for the second phase of the game. Players may also pay loot during this phase to sabotage an opponent by building a chamber that is better for them in the opponent’s lair.

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Symbols for the 4 chamber types. Photo Credit: Lairs Kickstarter campaign page

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Legacy cards. Photo Credit: Lairs Kickstarter campaign page

The build phase ends when a player has reached the center of The Mountain and has claimed the Legacy. There are seven different legacy cards, and each turn the player who obtains them into a different kind of enemy. Once a player has obtained the Legacy, they become the enemy of all of the other players. The other plays then become allies who must go through the enemy’s lair and defeat different encounters. The cards that players use to bid for chambers during the first portion of the game, come back into play during the crawl phase and are used to help them defeat encounters they face. The ally players will make their way through the enemy’s lair, fighting monsters, solving puzzles, and occasionally dueling the enemy. There will also be Legacy specific encounters that the ally players must face. Once they have made their way through the lair to the center of The Mountain, they will fight an epic final battle against the enemy.

What’s In The Box

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Components infographic. Photo Credit: Lairs Kickstarter campaign page

A copy of Lairs will include:

  • 8 Unique characters
    • 8 Character cards
    • 8 Character stands
  • 29 Chamber tiles
    • 24 Standard Tiles
      • 6 Ruin
      • 6 Thin
      • 6 Dark
      • 6 Vast
    • 4 Individual treasure tiles
    • 1 Ritual Tile
  • 60 Play cards
  • 36 Encounters
    • 21 Legacy encounters
    • 15 Standard encounters
  • 7 Legacies
  • The Vault tile
  • The Puzzle Grid
  • 25 Loot tokens
    • 20 Silver tokens
    • 5 Gold tokens

Pledge Levels

This campaign offers 8 different pledge levels, ranging from $1 USD to $349 USD.

1b41521e39eaaa2a570d6f3bbcfcf9d3_originalThe first level is a thank you level, but it also gives you access to the PnP. Now you can of course had a few extra bucks onto your dollar pledge to show support for the developers, but for a dollar (or more), access to the PnP is a great deal. There is also a $2 level that you can pledge to that will give you a sticker set of the creatures in the game. This level is also an add-on, so you can pledge for the game and add-on $2 to a higher pledge level to get yourself some stickers too. You can pledge $19 to get yourself a shirt featuring The King of Caverns character. Again, this can also be added onto any of your higher pledges.

The next level was an early bird pledge for the game for $22. Unfortunately, that level has already sold out. The next level to get just the game is $27. For a $59 pledge you can get the game and a wooden organizer from Basically Wooden. The next pledge level is a retailer option for $120 to get 6 copies of the game. The final pledge level is $349. This will get you a full wood box, with wooden organizer from Basically Wooden, and of course the game.

Add-Ons

So there are a couple different add-ons you can get with this one. Some of the add-ons you can also get as pledge levels, as I mentioned before. So, the first available add-on is the sticker set for $2. For a pretty reasonable price, you can also add copies of two of their other games. At $6 each, you can get a copy of Game Election or Costume Party to add onto your pledge. Lastly, you can add the King of Caverns shirt for $19.

Stretch Goals

There are currently 5 stretch goals available for this campaign (I will mark unlocked goals with a purple diamond):

  • $10,000- Funding goal
  • $12,000- Wooden loot token add-on 
    • Wooden loot tokens, made by Basically Wooden, will be made available as add-ons.
  • $14,000- Wooden character token add-on
    • These will be laser cut, wood-burned, color-stained tokens that will be made available as add-ons. 
  • $16,000- New Legacy added
    • A Kickstarter exclusive Legacy called Heart of Shadows
      • Gives the enemy player ability to isolate an ally, forcing the rest of the group to race to save them. 
      • Available for all pledges
  • $18,000- 2nd New Legacy added
    • Another Kickstarter exclusive Legacy, called The Turning Cloak
      • Introduces a secret traitor mechanic, which pits one of the allies against the others
      • Available for all pledges
  • $22,000- Four new characters
    • Available for all pledges

Naturalist Games

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Photo Credit: Naturalist Games Twitter page

Naturalist Games is the brainchild of Pat Roach and Alex Papadimoulis. The pair have been making and publishing games since 2007, but saw their first big success on Kickstarter with their game Release! in 2015. After this success, Naturalist Games was born. They are a small publishing company with big ideas, and I am excited to see what game they come out with next.

If you’d like to follow along with this project or any future projects by naturalist games, you can follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Final Thoughts

When I first watched the Kickstarter intro video for this game, I was ready throw my wallet at the screen. The concept of the two-phase game, that incorporates both solo play and cooperative is really intriguing, especially with how it is designed here. I could be wrong about there not being anything like it, but I know I haven’t heard of anything or played anything with a design like this. I am really looking forward to what this game becomes and I can’t wait to try it out. I am definitely curious to see how the bidding phase works in this game, and how it comes into play with the crawl phase. I do wish, however, that they had included a rules overview, or a video review on the Kickstarter page. Though their campaign is close to funding, I think that a video review/preview would have pushed them over the edge already. Either way, I am very excited for this game and what it is bringing to the table.

As I am writing this, there are 24 days left in the campaign and they are currently 88% funded. 

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Was this helpful to you? What other information would you like to have seen? Have suggestions for future Spotlights? Would you like me to do a review/preview? Please leave a comment below, or head over to my contact page to send me an email, tweet, or Facebook message. Thanks for reading!:)

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