We’re back from the dead with our latest Demo Corner, Lords of Waterdeep…
I don’t play enough worker placement games. I like the concept but I’m also a slave for flashy, exciting themes. Most worker placement games are Euro games and most Euro games have dull themes (no offense.) Placing my cubes to harvest grapes or serve meals in a restaurant just doesn’t have much appeal to me. Placing my workers in one of the most famous cities of Dungeons & Dragons myth in a cutthroat attempt to outdo rival mystery lords of the city? That sounds more like it.
Lords of Waterdeep is Wizards of the Coast’s attempt to create a Euro-style board game set in the titular city of D&D fame. Wizards has created a number of board games of late, including Conquests of Nerath which we reviewed here. Most of their titles have been dungeon crawl style games, games that are definitely not Euro-style. Lords of Waterdeep hits the nail on the head. The worker placement is fast and fun and there are plenty of places to send your workers and plenty of reasons to send them. One of my favorite aspects is the way the game board is made different each play through an area called the Builder’s Hall. The Builder’s Hall starts the game with three randomly chosen building tiles on it, which you game buy to add to the game board. Each of these buildings has its own unique effect when you send your workers there in future turns. This has ensured that all of my playings of the game (and there have been many) have been varied and interesting.
Another favorite aspect of the game is the quest system. The basics of the game are: acquire quests, place workers to collect adventurers, spend adventurers to complete quests. There are several categories of quests and they each require different types of adventurers. Skullduggery quests will require more rogues than clerics for example. Each quests also rewards you with a special effect when completed in addition to victory points and these effects are also themed based on the category of quest. So, depending on which types of quests you are after this game (determined by your lord card that you receive at the beginning of the game) your play experience will be very different.
The game is fast, lasting typically only an hour or so and the replay value is high. I’m hard-pressed to come up with anything negative to say about this game. If you like Euro style games, give it a shot. If you like fantasy and D&D board games in general then you should give it a shot as well. Lords of Waterdeep is an instant modern classic any board game enthusiast should own or at least play.
DKC’s Score: 4.5 out of 5
Lords of Waterdeep is one of the best worker-placement games I’ve ever played. There. You can stop reading now. Just go out, and get yourself a copy right now. Why are you still reading? Oh, you want to know why it’s so good? Ok. Understandable. Here goes…
When I first heard of Wizards of the Coast doing a euro-esque game, like a lot of folks, I was skeptical to say the least. To think an American based company who’s only pedigree is essentially D&D and D&D-like boardgames, the occasional Avalon Hill license that gets re-released from time to time and of course — Magic the Gathering; doesn’t really tell the average gamer they would be capable of doing a Euro-game well. I’m sure like a lot of others, I was surprised. It’s as if WotC went out and looked at what made worker-placement games fun, and added a little Ameri-trash in the form of having the game take place at the heart of one their most coveted fantasy world capital city; Waterdeep.
As a player, you are one of the Lords of Waterdeep, the overseeing masters of the greatest city in all of The Forgotten Realms – the quintessential D&D setting. You are to send out your little minions of agents. By placing them strategically at different spots on the game board, you and other players take turns placing them on the board where you believe they can be most effective at accomplishing drawn mission cards that are needed in order to gain victory points. All the while, players have at their disposal intrigue cards they can use to either gain an advantage or take one or more away from another player. The player with the most victory points at the end wins.
The places to assign your agents are both limited and diverse. With some exceptions, only one player may assign an agent to any given spot, but that doesn’t mean once a player has taken a spot you had your eye on, you’re done. If anything this game’s greatest strength allows you to so easily change your plans and still keep up with what other players are doing. Even if DKC plays an intrigue card on me forcing me to waste several turns trying to meet a mandatory requirement before moving on to my own plans. That’s right DKC, I remember what you did! There will be blood!
I don’t want to get too far into the weeds and talk about every little beautiful nuance of the game. It’s best you play the game and learn them yourself.
The game plays just as good with 2, 3, 4 or 5 players, which is an amazing thing to accomplish in game design! Only a few games I can think of can make that claim. Possibly Settlers of Catan and Pillars of the Earth are the only two that instantly come to mind.
If you haven’t played this game, you’re in for a real treat. Play it with your girlfriend. Play it with your husband. Play it with your aunt. It doesn’t matter. This game and it’s concepts are so easily understandable, anyone could play it and get something out of it. And I guarantee you won’t just play it once.
Alex’s Score: 5 out of 5