I was impressed by Lair at the Boston Festival of Indie Games: it was not on my initial list of games to check out or interviews to conduct, and I happened upon it during a brief lull in my morning activity. It’s an incredibly polished game with a cool mix of stab-your-neighbor and base building.
In Lair, you are the underlings of Big Boss, a Bond-style evil villain complete with a bionic eye, mechanical arm, and pet bulldog Mr. Flemming intent on world domination. Your goal is to gain his favor by building the best underground secret base. Presented in a side ant-farm view of the underground lair, you build out the rooms to the lair, and gaining favor points in the process, while disrupting your opponents plans with lots of dirty tricks.
The modular game board is laid out using cards. Each card represents rooms and each room has unique actions that you can activate using your workers. For example, the Shark Tank room enables you to dismiss your opponents workers. At its heart, Lair is a Euro-style worker placement (action drafting) game that fits into a very small box.
In the game I watched being played, I was impressed by how many possible option each payer had. You could focus on building up or out, on upgrading certain areas, or specifically on thwarting your opponents.
I was also impressed by Tam Myaing’s dedication to his guiding principal: putting complex and fun games with depth into small packages:
I love deep strategy games, but living in a small apartment in New York has taught me the importance of being compact. It’s nice to be able to throw a couple of backpack-friendly games into your bag and go over to a friend’s or a coffee shop, and lose yourself for a couple of hours in an intense game
– Tam Myaing, creator of Lair and head of Wee Big Games.
If you’d like to learn more about Lair, or any of Wee Big Game’s other games, head on over to their website.