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The Goblin’s Lair (1992)

OK, so, obviously, despite this box being named The Goblin’s Lair (1992), those aren’t goblins on the cover. They’re Githyanki, and they are cropped and enlarged from Jeff Easley’s painting for Tales of the Outer Planes (1988). I am OK with this.

Though written by Graeme Davis of The Enemy Within fame, the scenarios are pretty cookie cutter. As promised by the title, they feature goblins and other monstrous humanoids. The dungeons are perhaps a tick more complicated than those in the previous box. One is certainly very large.

Surprisingly, the board game portion of the product boasts some enhanced complexity. The way this line develops seems to me to speak to a state of constant surprise on TSR’s part and indicates that they didn’t really understand the product’s appeal or its success. In retrospect, it was the board game components and framework! The very thing they were (I suspect) attempting to cash in on (the success of HeroQuest). They started with a board game style box with no board game inside (though the version of D&D it contains uses a board game like framework). Dragon’s Den offers a thinly produced knock-off of the HeroQuest rules. Then this one feels like the designers let out a big sigh and were like “OK, OK, we’ll make a real set of board game rules.” I know I say this a lot, but it is pretty wild to see how TSR historically succeeded in spite of its inclinations and instincts. Repeatedly.

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