Oh My Lair!
Teaching Time: 5 mins
Playing Time: 15 mins
Setup Time: 2 mins
Value For Money: High
Maybe every cloud has a silver lining, given the year that we’ve all had (this review is being written in Feb 2021 during the Corona virus pandemic) it seems a stretch to suggest that a rise in solo gaming is a realistic silver lining, but still, there’s been a rise in solo gaming and I’ll grab what I can. Along with a rise in solo gaming, more and more people have been coming to the joys of print and play gaming, so it makes sense to take a look at a print and play solo game.
Oh My Lair! is a fairly good looking game, it has a distinctly low-fi and charming intentionally childish look to it that works really well. Its also a very low investment game, even for a free Print and Play, requiring all of two pages to be printed (and that’s only if you want a hard-copy of the one page of rules) and only some minimal cutting out.
You play some sort of monster overlord who has had their monster paradise island invaded by a set of do-gooding heroes. One of these heroes is on a beeline for your overlord lair and you must see them hacked into little bits before they get there to win. Gameplay is essentially dice worker placement, each turn you place your dice workers then roll them to see their effectiveness, this is done to clear out the stinky heroes from your little island so that you can then put it to work hiring some proper monsters to eat the hero who is working his nasty little way towards your lair. Get the resources coming in quickly enough and he’ll pay for his hubris, fail and he’ll presumably kick your door down and hack off your head with a big sword.
Generally, the gameplay itself is pretty effective if a little one note and single path. Essentially the build up of play is always the same since if you attack an island hero and fail you lose a dice worker, which pretty much makes for certain failure. As such over-committing to such attacks is pretty much a necessity so the path until quite late in the game is a given of killing heroes and buying minions with choices only really kicking in when you can afford some proper monsters to chomp on your lair invader. The first few plays it’s an acceptable puzzle and afterwards it’s a passable time killing process, certainly for the low printing and cutting investment.
The biggest negative here is the rules which are pretty tough to use. For example, there are two sorts of hires you can make, minions which are your dice workers, supplying your resources and generally doing your donkey work and creatures which are the only way of killing the main hero. The rules never really make this distinction helpfully clear and occasionally refers to things being face down when I’m pretty certain they should be face up. As such you’ll probably find the single biggest puzzle in playing to be working out exactly how to play. Happily, the actual game is simple enough and the rules short enough that a bit of extrapolation can figure out most of the issues. Its just a pity that it seems the effort put into the very attractive visuals and clever gameplay didn’t extend to the page of rules.
In short, if you’ve got a free afternoon (and I suspect maybe you do at the moment) then Oh My Lair will pass a few hours very acceptably for the level of effort required, but expect to read over the rules two or three time and fill in some gaps as you do.