Lairs vs Citadels

To put it simply: Citadels and Lairs are the wrong way round.

I get that you want the progression to end with a big Scylla fight - and I suspect you thought the Scylla was going to be harder than she is, which is why you gave us a Sniper’s arena to play in. But as things stand, Lairs are so tough that I simply let them evolve into a Citadel and then sit back for the Great Citadel Turkey Shoot, which is clearly not right.

My proposed solution, however, is not going to be popular.

Make the Citadel harder: much harder. In fact, make the Citadel a multi-screen experience. Depending on Difficulty level, combine the current Citadel screen either with a Nest screen (Easy/Veteran) or with a Lair (Heroic/Legendary).

The Squad would have to explore the Nest/Lair, searching for the Exit Point which teleports them into the Citadel. Once all Squaddies have passed through the Exit Point - or the player has pressed the ‘Load the Citadel’ prompt, the screen reloads to the Citadel and you play out the Citadel mission as it is with all the Squaddies who have got that far - though I’d advocate giving the Scylla more tall stuff to hide behind.

That would make it difficult! That would stop me going: "You know what? I’ll just wait until that Lair upgrades.

Now let the howls of 'Nooooooo!’ begin :smirk:


Nooooo, but you know all the details already. Common Lairs have already a lot of dedicated threads, Citadel is another matter, but I already answered about that.

I’m very inclined to agree with you, as citadels are shooting galleries…but…

the problem, at least for me, with lairs isn’t that they are hard. I find lairs to be a drag, they take up a lot of time and the combat isn’t interesting (the real danger in the lairs is the chiron(s) that always spawn(s)) you can’t win the fight against the spawns, so you stall long enough for one or 2 of your soldiers to reach the hatchery and demolish it. this inevitably leads me to use cheesy tactics to get it done quickly (dash, jetpacks and rally the troops…or invisi-infiltrators…aka the flipping cheese king)

now putting a lair in front of the citadel would annoy me to no end, as it would simply be there to stall for time with its maze like construction and annoying constant reinforcements. it would indeed make the mission more difficult, but for me at least it would most of all cause me frustration.


I forgot to include the caveat that Lairs should be scaled down, but I’ve said that in multiple threads about Lairs elsewhere.

This would make Lairs a race against time, as you push your Squad as fast as possible towards the Citadel entrance, which I envisage to be the Spawnery Pit.

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My issue with lairs and nests is that I dont always find the target in time for the fight to drag on to long. Once or twice already ran into nests where I didnt find the target after an hour: went across the whole thing, must have been in a dark side-room or somthing, but rather reloaded and restarted the next then carry on that painfull encounter (no soldeirs were lost but I got sick of going around in circles)

So by the time I got to lairs I already geared up for cheezing it, and dash+jump is the prferct combo for that. In some maps the only way forward is going all around through dozens of laders and punching through rocks so it is more tedious then anything: only use a single heavy+assault trooper to deal with them and get it quickly over with which is a shame as they looks really nice visually

So before making an engagement simply more tedious I suggest making the lower tiers more straightforward first. Have an indicator pointing to the target in the first two tiers and then the second tier can be used as a prelude for the third tier encounter if nothing better can be found

This might also entice players to engage with lower tier bases earlier instead of letting them ripe

That’s the idea.

Given how much people seem to dislike Lairs, I’d strongly urge the devs to figure out how to make these the Third Tier Panda base rather than the second, because as things stand I can’t be the only player who’d rather leave them to morph into a Citadel rather than dealing with them early.

Noooo! No multi-screen experiences with Citadels please.

There must be other ways to teach you not to let the lairs grow.

I’ll admit that in part this comes from my memories of Terror From the Deep, the biggest terror of them all being the multiscreen slog of attacking bases.

I agree that the Citadels are a bit underwhelming at the moment. My suggestion would be to do something like in the Ambush missions - first the Scylla sends waves of her minions, and after 3 turns appears in person.

That way by the time she gets there you will be presumably drained of WPs and ammo, and perhaps even a few guys short.

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I liked the idea. The mission in the very first Backer Build played like this. You had to fight crabman, after a few turns the Queen (now Scylla) came in destroying everything.

Maybe they could keep the lair as it is today for the lowest difficulty level, and add 1 wave for each subsequent level.

The map itself is large enough that there’s no need to multimap it, it just needs to be partitioned.

I posted this in another thread about lairs but it would apply to citadels as well.

“They’re just too open. I wonder if they’d be more “fun” if they were larger Nests. A large ant nest like cave and tunnel system. Chirons would be in the largest cave, maybe a quarter to a third map visibility (no firing over walls), smaller caves would be spawn locations, and the rest of the map would be a labyrinth of interconnected tunnels. No jetpack cheesing possible, no cross map triton snipers. A much more “Aliens”/“Space Hulk”/“Starship Troopers”/“Dungeon Crawl” feel.”

The Scylla is essentially the hive queen but she doesn’t have a hive as is. Make it into the Brain Bug hunt at the end of Troopers and now you have instant atmosphere. Claustrophobic, blind corners, and you could probably even do away with reinforcements.

For me Nests are far and away the most enjoyable. Citadels load, I hit end turn, the Scylla runs into view, pop, mission over turn 2.


I like that idea. Make the map larger, but partition it into a maze where all roads lead to the Scylla’s Chamber.

I’m also with you on Lairs. I remember the first time I entered one being confused that it was so green and open. I much preferred the iteration in BB4, which had multi-levelled chambers.

Actually, at the moment I like that nests, lairs and citadels are different.

I will probably get shot for saying this (with rage burst) but so far I have liked my lairs. Maybe because I haven’t run into overwhelming odds. I have actually found the nests more annoying because of LOS issues that lead to being naded around corners without seeing the crabs.

Not saying it doesn’t need a fix. For starters, the movement cursor basically tells you where the spawnery is, because that’s where you can’t move. Maybe just telegraph where the thing is and post some guards around it.

For citadels, I like the Arena concept, but it needs the waves to soften up the players forces, and/or a Scylla with a more developed self preservation instinct.

If the devs have the resources, the way to go would be to make an intersting protective bug, e.g. something that “shoots” starfish (jellyfish, algae, whatever, plenty of stuff in the ocean) and creates a wall around the Scylla after the end of her turn.

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You don’t need check corners in Nests, there’s a special visibility management for the player, you need ensure turn the camera the right way to have the better vision on the further corridor or something.

It’s clearly done to increase a feeling of underground tunnels., perhaps they should find another way.

Don’t get me wrong - I like the fact that they’re all different too. My problem is that Citadels are by far and away the easiest of the 3 to deal with, and I’m sure that wasn’t the plan.

Count me in. After several runs I’ve started to like Lairs.

It’s interesting. This game definitely creates polarities, which I would categorise as ‘old school gamers’ and ‘casual gamers’.

Old School gamers like me (though I play relatively few games - I just play them to death) come from an era where bugs were commonplace and games were so hard that you expected to die first time round. If you’ve ever been to a show called ‘You Are In a Dark Room…’ you’ll know what I mean. That encapsulates the kind of games we grew up with: “You die! You die! You die! You die! You die!” You pick yourself up again, restart and figure out where you went wrong.

But games have progressed since then. Designers have figured out how to ease you into them and make the difficulty curve something that so subtly holds your hand you don’t even realise you are being hand-held. As a result, players seem now to expect to be able to cruise through a game on the higher difficulties with no problem. On the whole, I think that’s a good thing - games are supposed to be fun, after all. But…

Then you get a title like this, created by an old school designer who doesn’t believe in holding your hand and clearly believes that you should be provided with a wide open sandbox of abilities which you can mix and match to try and solve the problems that the game’s brutal difficulty curve will throw at you.
Quite naturally, casual gamers are horrified. Games aren’t supposed to crucify you, then stomp up and down on your head for good measure! So you get a massive outcry about how impossibly hard the game is.

Meanwhile other gamers are quietly replaying the missions they just lost and figuring out how to win them. They stumble on unforseen combos that ace certain scenarios and publish them online. Now you have a massive outcry about how cheesy the game is.

And then you have the hard core gamers who refuse to win with cheese and keep on grafting and keep on grafting until they find the tactics that work against a particular type of mission. People like you and Voland, who enjoy finding ways to surmount those insurmountable odds.

I’m not saying anyone’s right here, or that anyone’s wrong. I’m just observing what I see as a very interesting dynamic when Old School game design comes up against the modern gaming world, and the quite passionate reactions it seems to evoke.

What I am saying, regardless of what anyone else believes, is that at its core this is a very good game - and if we plug away at it, and point out where and why we believe it’s not quite working properly, it will turn into a brilliant game, hopefully at around the time that a whole new bunch of Steam/GoG users come online.


Just finished my first turn on the game. The problem with lairs and citadells ist more or less the same as with “steal missions”.
Our objective in the mission is to destroy the spawnery or “queen”. What happens is a rush to the target and destroy it. And thats it?

  1. In my opinion it would be much more realistic and give you deeper immersion if the objetive would just not be destroy the spawnery but get out alive with the whole team as well. This would prevent from rushing in, and instead force you to create a save passage to the target an help everyone get out alive.
    Without any changes in difficulty, enemy numbers etc. would change the course of the mission.
  2. To make it even feel more real would be the option to destroy the spawning points (just like bombing the tunnel throug which the get their reeinforcements).
  3. A lair for instance is an improved nest. Why not let the hatches be part of the lair? Destroy the spawnery would make it a nest again. Destroying the hatches as well would destroy the lair completely. The same could be possible for the citadell and downwards to the lair. It would be very hard to take care of the “queen”, her spawneries and hatches. So players could decide if they have the power to take out al of them (and return alive), or if it would be sufficient just to lower the level from citadel to lair by defeating the “queen” and return later on.

solid idea’s, apart from nr.3 that I don’t completely agree with

for lairs and nests in particular, having an extraction would change the game for most loadouts (barring 100% stealth infiltrators…but that class is in need of a serious balance overhaul anyway), having the ability to cut off enemy reinforcement points would allow the player to stem the tide of reinforcements but doesn’t allow the player to simply clear the map by overwatch trapping the entry location.

for citadels, extraction wouldn’t add much, so you really need something akin to MichaelIgnotus’s or VOLAND’s suggestions to make it work. downgrading a citadel to lair by killing the queen just feels off, especially since the lore of all the key buildings states that the pandoran structure would be essentially useless without them, and will be abandoned if they are destroyed or killed.

for me at least…I want lairs, nests and citadels to be a challenge but not a slog. it isn’t a challenge if I can complete it in turn 1 or 2 with a few moves…but if it takes 20 turns to inch my troops across the map to the objective while under practically the same tactical situation the whole time it becomes a slog.

This suggestion would lead to never ending missions, main complain on Lairs is their duration, at least when it degenerates.

Good: this will make the mission look more realistic.
Bad: the mission will be played approximately 2 times longer.
Ugly: the bad outweights the good.

Lol, how I see it too, that said it could be totally changed so the idea works fine. For example with an approach more like Ambush.

You attack the spawnery, no infinite respawn but serious spawning and rush to objective (you know where it is), you do the kill/destroy then a horde of furious aliens force you rush to an exit.