Latest Plays

Lords of Waterdeep

Posted by admin On March - 30 - 2012

Actual Length: 60-80 minutes
Age: 12+
2 – 5 (great with 2 players!!)

Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy board game brought to you by Dungeons and Dragons. Seems contradictory doesn’t it? when you think of D&D you don’t typically think of strategy board games… For those of you unfamiliar with D&D, I personally can’t tell you much about it since i’m pretty foreign to it as well. From what my husband tells me its basically roleplaying in a fantasy world. Like acting and storytelling with a bunch of friends. Typically there aren’t any pieces, its all with your imagination. So how does this translate to board games?

D&D are now delving into the world of board games, with recent releases of games such as “Castle Ravenloft” and “Conquest of Nerath.” I’ve played a few of these after my husband brought them home and none really did it for me. So when he brought home “Lords of Waterdeep” and was raving about how awesome it was, I was skeptical to say the least. Afterall, “Castle Ravenloft” is collecting a lot of dust on our board gaming shelf.

The above was set up for a two player game

When I finally got around to playing “Lords of Waterdeep,” I was pleasantly surprised. Actually more than that even, I thought is was pretty darn exceptional! Now its nothing like D&D and its nothing like D&D’s other board games either. It’s actually like a euro worker placement game with a D&D theme. The theme being you take on a role of a Lord of Waterdeep controlling clerics, wizards, rogues, and fighters, through your agents, and going on adventures and conquests gaining treasure and power!

The Lord being your secret victory condition, the clerics/wizards/rogues/fighters being your resource cubes, the agents being your workers for placement, all used to complete your quests which result in getting treasure and power… being your victory points. So basically a worker placement Euro like I mentioned earlier.

But what makes it exceptional? Well, I’m a huge fan of worker placement games, such as Caylus, Agricola, Manhattan Project, Ora et Labora, Alien Frontiers and so on, so that right there makes it at least a 7 in my book, but what bumps is up even higher? Lets take a looksie:

Quality: The game is quite beautiful, that D&D imagination team really put special touches in the game. The box is very pretty and the container inside you could literally set on the table and use it like a playo box. The pieces are all your standard wooden components with cardboard and chits making up the rest. What I really like are the cards. They stay true to the theme with quest names and little quotes to read. It’s just really pretty on the table.

Game play: Even though the game play is worker placement like many euro games, there are some interesting elements that makes this one unique. It has some similarities to Caylus that are worth mentioning; Like Caylus, when a player builds a building and someone else plays on it, the owner gets a benefit. Also like Caylus, there is a spot on the board (called the gate) that allows you to play on a spot after everyone else has played. This spot in Caylus rarely gets used. Even in a 5 player game, people tend to opt out on placing a valuable meeple there. There is a similar spot on the Lords of Waterdeep Board (called waterdeep harbor), however, unlike Caylus, it is filled up quite quickly. Because not only does it give you an immediate action of playing an intrigue card, it lets you reuse your meeple after everyone else has played theirs, which generally results in you getting something useful since every spot on the board is relatively useful in some fashion.

Similar to Troyes, it has a hidden victory point condition. However, this victory point condition only impacts you, and could also be the winning factor in an especially close game.

Luck & Interaction: I’m not a huge fan of luck and I appreciate interaction in games, but not when a player can do something to throw out my strategy completely, I find that a little annoying. This game has elements of both. But not to say its necessarily bad in Lords of Waterdeep, and its definitely not to the point  of annoyance. A gaming buddy of mine mentioned that he really likes the fact that you can play this game with all variations of strategic playing levels. And although the players with higher strategy skills do have a better chance of planning out their moves in a way to have a good chance of winning, it’s not so much to the point where newer players or those with lesser strategic skills can’t pull out wins time and time again.  Which I guess can be refreshing from pure strategy games, which I tend to really enjoy playing.

There are some neat levels of interaction in the game that I find interesting. First being the intrigue cards that I mentioned a few seconds ago. In addition to the quest cards which you complete for victory points and/or rewards of some sort. There are intrigue cards that you can play that add elements of well, intrigue, to the game. Which include aspects of light resource manipulation or even short mandatory quests you can relinquish, so to speak, onto an opponent.

The game has very good flow and isn’t overly complicated. You can explain it in under 10 minutes to most, and they would have no problem diving in. Although, I didn’t really get into the specifics of game play, DNDWizards put out a great video of how to play (actually in under 10 minutes :o) that is very worth checking out if you are interested in adding this one to your collection.

BOP’s Final Final Thoughts:

Overall: BOP gives it a 9!

medium-hard not too hard to learn, more difficult to master