Today’s Lunchtime Game Time was a little amuse-bouche called Treasure Lair!
Released in 2016 by AEG, designed by Arno Maesen and Frédéric Moyersoen and illustrated by an armada of artists, the Treasure Lair card game does exactly what it says on the tin: the aim is to go on quests and collect treasure.
You have to run a gauntlet of challenges to reach the loot: monsters, encounters and/or inhospitable locations. To do this, you recruit heroes with the abilities you need to make it to the treasure in one piece. The main mechanic of the game is a sort of set collection: to resolve all or part of a quest, you must have one or several heroes on your team whose abilities match the symbols on the quest cards. Of course, at the end of each quest is a secret card which is displayed face down, which you may or may not be prepared for…
Each turn, players attempt to resolve quests, recruit new heroes and sabotage other players to keep them from getting more treasure. To organise their turn, players get to choose one of three cards drawn from the Action Deck, which allows them to perform a Main Action and a Secondary action. Main actions change from card to card, but secondary actions are always the same: starting a quest, collecting gold or recruiting heroes. Each challenge earns you gold to recruit more heroes, as a character can only participate in one quest before being discarded. The game ends when a certain number of treasure cards have been obtained, which varies depending on the number of players.
The game works well and we enjoyed it (a game takes around 45 minutes with four players). The only downside to the game is that the choices offered by the Action cards are often frustratingly limited, along with the fact that the setup of the game focuses on displaying the symbols on the cards instead of allowing the illustrations to tell a story.
And they really should be allowed to tell a story: Treasure Lair’s artwork definitely deserves a special mention. Done in a beautiful medieval D&D style, the game features a mind-boggling amount of illustrations, as every monster, location and hero is unique. We really think that this added to the game, making us want to draw more cards and see what came up next!