There is a distant peak. One whose soaring vistas, winding caverns, and sheer faces shame lesser crags.
It is the culmination of what such a landscape should be, and as such claims only one name, The Mountain.
It is said that those who know the way, can find The Mountain at the summit of every climb, over the crest of any foothill, in the depths of all caves.
You are one such traveler, and you have led your people to The Mountain, for it is here that you shall make your lair.
In Lairs, 2 to 5 players take on the roles of powerful creatures that each build their homes in The Mountain.
Deep in The Mountain lie powerful artifacts, ancient sorceries, and untold riches. These Legacies, when claimed, will grant great power.
At the start game, players compete to excavate and build their Lairs to the center of the mountain to claim one of these prizes.
Once one player has taken the Legacy, they become the Enemy of the other players, who are not content to let one soul hold such power.
The remaining players band together as the Allies and fight their way through each chamber of the Enemy’s lair, and eventually confront them in a climactic finale.
The strange creatures that reside in The Mountain are a disparate lot, drawn from all corners of the world by greed, ambition, hate, chance, and even hope. None are quite evil, none are quite good, but they all have their own tale.
Check out the Characters of Lairs to read their full histories and backstories.
Legacies and Encounters
Only one of the characters will claim the Legacy at the center The Mountain. There are seven different Legacies, and each transform the character into a different sort of Enemy. Sometimes the Enemy is a wretched demon with eternal life, others it's a tyrannical ruler of a hoard of goblins.
A game of Lairs has two distinct phases, the Build and the Crawl, both which thematically revolve around the Legacy, and the Encounters.
Lairs was built to be replayed. The game will play out very differently from Legacy to Legacy, the Encounters that are seen within each Legacy, the Characters assembled, the make-up of the Lair and even the special play cards in hand.
We have a public version of the rules available. This is a living document as we genuinely want your opinions on the game, and will almost certainly address issues and concerns you might have. You are all very much invited to comment on the document, we are sure you will have a lot of good insight, and will doubtlessly point out Pat's grammar errors.
Every few days we will go through the comments and update the document, and this link! If you make a good comment, and are interested (just message me) we will include your name in the rules as an honorary editor!
During the Build, players balance creating an extensive Lair while making sure they have the spells, attacks, and tricks necessary to storm or defend a Lair. All this, while keeping their Characters secret.
The game opens with the Build, and players create their Lairs by bidding on Chamber Tiles with a hand of play cards. As the Build proceeds, players will not only construct their Lairs, but also shape the hand of cards they will take into the Crawl.
The terrain in the Chambers are represented by four distinct types: Thin, Dark, Vast, and Ruin. The types of Chambers in your Lair will have an effect on how certain Encounters play out, and the value of cards in your hand.
Furthermore, Characters have types as well, and each operates better in their own environment. For example, the Flamecrowned Queen can stretch her wings and take flight in vast chambers, whereas the Caesar of Autumn knows the secrets hidden in long-ruined crypts. These are represented in how certain bonuses are allocated during the Crawl.
This is why players keep their Character secret during The Build. It heightens tension as players bid on and create a dungeon that's well suited to each character... or even sabotage opponents by paying loot to build Chambers that benefit you into a foe's Lair.
At the end of the Build, the Allies take what loot and cards they have found while building their Lairs to arm themselves as they enter the Enemy's Lair for the Crawl.
The Crawl is the heart of the game. Here the Allies move through each Chamber in the Enemy's Lair, facing an encounter in each room.
In the Crawl, the Allies fight through the Lair of the Enemy, confronting Encounters on each tile. If they succeed the Encounter, they gather loot or other resources, and if they fail, the Enemy gains fuel for the powers granted by their Legacy.
During Encounters, each character has their own unique power to call upon, as well as special attacks and tricks that they draw from the play deck. These cost loot to use... unless, of course, you are the Enemy: it is your lair after all.
As the Allies enter each chamber, the Enemy reveals the Encounter Card they will face. An encounter begins with an event that either helps or hinders either side. These events range from mystic traps, to simple but brutal cave-ins, or even one of the Allies just having a little too much to drink.
Then the real encounter begins. The Enemy chooses to either: send a Monster to confront the Allies, bar the way with a Puzzle to confound them, or risk a rare personal appearance and Dueling the intruders.
Each Legacy comes with a few Encounters that are specific to it's plot. These will often be more challenging than the standard Encounters, and
always will be more thematically true to the narrative.
Each variety of encounter (Monster, Puzzle, or Duel) plays out differently. One way to think of this is as three mini games that all use the same pieces and resources. All of the players -- Enemy and Ally alike -- must manage those resources as the party moves from chamber to chamber, until they finally break through to the Vault.
In the Final Encounter, Allies confront the Enemy in a climactic battle to decide the fate of them all and of course, who wins the game. The Final Encounter plays out a lot like a Duel, but to the death! Plus, each Legacy offers new end conditions that give the Enemy or Allies a new way to succeed.
The Game ($27)
This is the standard reward level, and includes a full copy of the game.
Print & Play PDF ($1)
This PDF combines all the elements you need to print, cut, and play Lairs. We'd love you to buy the full game, but every little bit deserves a big thanks.
Also available as an add-on for higher pledge levels
The sticker reward includes a selection of the Lairs Characters in die cut stickers that will spruce up whatever you slap them on.
The King of Caverns Shirt ($19)
Also available as an add-on for higher pledge levels
The King of Caverns shirt is 100% cotton and available from adult unisex small all the way up to XXX. Printed with love and affection in Ohio!
Naturalist Games Library Add-On ($6/ea)
Why buy one game when you can buy three? Costume Party and Game Election are light games that retail for $10 bucks each, but just add-on $6 for each copy you'd like (plus $4/ea for international shipping), and we'll send them as soon as the campaign ends! Want to know more about them? Check them out on BoardGameGeek, or through our webpage.
The Game with Custom Wooden ($59)
Our friends at Basically Wooden have put together an amazing deluxe edition of Lairs for you lucky folks.
Including beautiful custom wood cut inserts that fit into the Lairs box, as well as stands to make those characters look even cooler!
Ultimate Collectors Edition ($349)
Those Basically Wooden folks don't stop at dividers, they have crafted a beautiful full wooden box, with cleverly made storage trays and an amazing Lairs logo inlaid on the lid.
The Collector's Edition will also get you a shirt, a signed rule book, and an additional copy of Lairs, in case you want to keep this one pristine. We only have 10 of these so grab them quick!
$12k Wooden Loot Token Add-on - UNLOCKED
As an additional add-on, we'll offer 20 wooden loot tokens to replace your cardboard punch outs. The fine folks at Basically Wooden who produce the Deluxe and Super Deluxe version of the game have crafted these.
This Add-On will cost $9 plus shipping.
$14k Wooden Characters Token Add-on - UNLOCKED
As another cool add-on, we will be offering custom versions of the Character tokens laser cut, woodburned, and color-stained to class up your game. The image below is of prototypes and isn't color stained.
This Add-On will cost $11 plus shipping.
$16k New Legacy (for all backers!) - UNLOCKED
Our first Kickstarter-exclusive Legacy, The Heart of Shadows, which grants the Enemy the ability to isolate an Ally, while the rest race to save them! This will ship with all levels of the game, from the print and play on up.
This is free to all backers!
$18k New Legacy (for all backers!) - UNLOCKED
We will add our second Kickstarter-exclusive Legacy, The Turning Cloak, which introduces a secret traitor mechanic pitting one of the Allies against the others during the Crawl. This will ship with all levels of the game, from the print and play on up.
This is free to all backers!
$22k Four New Characters (for all backers!)
We will add four new Kickstarter-exclusive characters. These new characters will come with all new custom illustrations, powers, backstories, and stands. This will ship with all levels of the game, from print and play on up.
This is free to all backers!
Several of our reward levels, and stretch goals are add-ons. Specifically The Wooden Tokens, The King of Caverns T-Shirt, and the Stickers will be available as Add-Ons.
As such, we want to take a second and explain how Add-Ons will work for our campaign. We are working with BackerKit to manage our fulfillment, and they make Add-Ons really easy. There are two ways to go about getting them.
The first is pretty much how most Kickstarter Add-Ons are resolved. Simply bump up your pledge level, by the cost of an add-on (listed below) and at the end of the campaign we will send out a survey and you can simply pick the add on of your choice.
Additionally, Backerkit gives you the option to simply choose an add-on in the follow up survey and automatically add some money to your pledge after the campaign.
There is a small transaction fee for this adding money on after the Kickstarter ends, so we have made it a little cheaper for you (5%) if you do your add-ons the first way.
All of our Add-ons are explain in the Stretch Goal or Rewards Sections, but here is a quick list of our current Add-ons and pre-shipping prices:
- Character Stickers: $2
- Game Election $6
- Costume Party $6
- Wooden Loot Tokens: $9
- Wooden Character Tokens: $12
- King Of Caverns T-Shirt: $19
Risks and challenges
While this isn't our first Kickstarter rodeo (someone should Kickstart a rodeo by the way) problems can arise, especially in the byzantine world of custom printing.
That said, we have been here before. We have successfully fulfilled two large scale Kickstarter projects with only minimal delays. We also have produced two board games that we funded on our own.
We have a strong relationship with our partners, both in the printing and fulfillment ends, and we are confident that we can deliver a beautiful, fun, and (mostly) punctual game.
If problems do rear their head, we will be 100% transparent about them. We understand you are taking a chance on our product and are devoted to communicating with our backers as much as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns just message me here and me or my team will get back to you will all haste.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)