Lagim should be your next quarantine tabletop game

Get ready to explore the spooky, magical world of Filipino folklore and mythology

LET THE GAME BEGIN Some cards for the Lagim game (Images from Lagim Card Game)

Composed of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is rich not just with natural resources but with colorful traditions. These unique customs are often reflected in local folklore and, for some, even in literature. Those who are interested in stories about magic and creatures from other dimensions will never run out of something to read—from diwata to kapre, and tikbalang to manananggal

With the aspirations to promote our very own mythology, a group of Filipino artists from a2designlab came together to create a proudly-Pinoy card game that has recently gone viral. In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, this group of creative individuals share the story behind Lagim Card Game. 

Lagim: History and how to play

Driven by passion for Filipino content, Augusto Ayo, a2designlab‘s founder and lead artist, says that the concept for Lagim started in 2018, but it was only in March 2020 when the team was able to focus and work fully on their concept. 

“The general idea is for us to develop and release a product that would promote original Filipino content and storytelling,” he says. After seven months of brainstorming and planning, Lagim—a collectible card game based on the Philippine’s folklore and mythology—was born. 

According to Norbert Bae, the group’s game system & narrative designer, playing Lagim is somewhat similar to playing other deck card games such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh. But the main thrill in this game is how players should survive a long, sleepless night full of mythical creatures in a 17th century baryo setting. 

“It’s not that complex compared to other card games. The goal is for you to defend you baryo through battles against other baryos,” he explains. “We have this deck of cards composed of villain deck, lagim cards, lakas cards, and hiwaga cards.” 

The Lagim team

These cards will be placed in the bay area and players have the chance to summon mythical creatures. “Once you summon them, you have a chance to attack your opponent’s baryo,” he says. “The goal is for you to be the owner of the last soul coin and be the winner of the game.” 

Promoting Filipino artistry

But Lagim is not just a card game. Made of thick paperboard material, each card is carefully designed with beautiful illustrations with that 17th century look to capture the folklore feel. Each card, therefore, is also a collectible piece of art.

“My main style is influenced by romanticism era,” says Augusto while sharing the design concept behind the game. “You have William Turner, William Blake there. The contrast in the mood is strong with touch of gothic style. We don’t want it to be a typical card game with cartoonish illustration so it can be appreciated by wider age group.”

Lagim basic game set

The team worked hard in achieving this beautiful esthetic to showcase that Filipino artistry and craftmanship is world class. “Filipinos can also produce quality product that is meeting the global scale,” says AJ Noguerra, lead game and narrative designer. “As they can see in the product’s craftsmanship, the team worked hard to make sure every detail is polished.” 

Conversation starter and bonding activity

Aside from promoting the country’s culture and craftmanship, the team behind the Lagim Card Game is hoping that their product will serve as an instrument for young Filipinos to be more aware of Pinoy mythology and folklore, and to serve as a bonding activity for friends and families. 

“There are people asking why we didn’t make it digital. Maybe there’s even this connotation that we’re moving backward, but we stood our ground,” says Cara Valdez, visual and concept artist. “We want to promote communication. When we play digital games, we are too focused on the phone and is usually playing alone. If played by two, players only talk through chat, losing the physical way of communicating.” 

Lagim is also designed to encourage parents (or even grandparents) to share stories to their children—promoting bonding and deep conversation among family members. “It’s supposed to be played by two to six players from aged 10 and above,” says Augusto. “This will be an avenue for storytelling, for conversation, one way or another.” 

Started kit starts at P3,850 and available at their official website,