Wizards just announced a new in-store program called “Lair Assault”. As the official press release explains it; Lair Assault“pits tactically-minded players against a super challenge where the difference between victory and defeat is dependent upon your game knowledge, ability to adapt, and a little bit of luck. You’ll pit your wits against some of the most difficult encounters you’ve ever played. Each challenge is a mega-encounter that plays in just a few hours, but many will need to make more than one run at it in pursuit of victory. D&D Lair Assault challenges are available for a few months, and stores can schedule their sessions at any time during that period.”
One of the nice aspects of this program is the flexibility they are giving stores in running it. Encounters has to be run at specific dates and times which don’t really work out so well for us working folk; hopefully given the choice, more gaming stores will opt for some weekend programs giving gamers more choice.
Some have expressed concern that Lair Assault might in some way be replacing Encounters, but as of the moment we’ve had no word from Wizards to that effect. While encounters is a prolonged set of encounters that encompass more or less a full adventure strung over a period of time, it seems that Lair Assault is a bit more of a modular event that allows people to play as much as they want to without needing to worry about continuity. It sounds very much like one off encounters in the vein of the Dungeon Delve book, but with an eye toward creating unique challenges. Is this in response to the cancelling of the D&D miniatures (DDM) line? The setup of Lair Assault seems like it would appeal to DDM players. Either way, this is just an opportunity for Wizards to expand its gaming offerings and continue to expand the D&D brand.
There are probably some out there who lament this as another sign of the end times for Dungeons and Dragons. Such worries are foolish. This is just another option depending on the type of player that you are. Depending on how the encounters are setup, Lair Assault might also serve as a great way for new players to get acclimated to the game before diving into the deep end of the role-playing world. As a player growing more interested in the role-playing aspects of the game, I don’t have much interest in this, but from the Dungeon Master point of view I’m very interested to see how these encounters are built and whether they have applications within a larger campaign. Anything that does more of the heavy lifting and allows me to focus on pummeling my players providing a great gaming experience for my players is okay in my book.
For more information check out the press release on the official wizards site. Throughout the summer Wizards will be unveiling more aspects of the program ahead of its release in September. Check back here for more reaction and coverage as news is released.