Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lords of Waterdeep: Review

Lords of Waterdeep from Wizards of the Coast
Lords of Waterdeep is the newest Dungeons & Dragons board game from Wizards of the Coast. Hot on the heels of the Castle Ravenloft and the other D&D Adventure Game series as well as Conquest of Nerath, this one sticks out as being 'not like the others.'

Lords of Waterdeep is a euro-style, worker placement, resource management game. That's right. While the other games focus on groups of adventurers fighting through dangerous dungeons or battling waves of monsters, this game focused on the political power that lies in secret behind the scenes.

The Secret Lords
In this game, players take the role of one of 12 secret Lords of the city of Waterdeep. Each Lord has certain interests that they want seen accomplished in the form of quest cards (and in one case, real estate). Players then take turns dispatching their agents around the city to recruit adventurers, collect money, retrieve, construct buildings and more. After 8 rounds, the game ends, players reveal their Lord cards and the winner is announced.

The Meat of the Game
The core of the game is the deck of quest cards. They are the main source of victory points in the game. The quests are spread over 5 categories; warfare, commerce, piety, arcana and skullduggery. The majority of the Lords favor two of those types of quests and will award extra points at the end of the game for completing them.

To complete a quest, the players needs to have the appropriate resources in the form of adventurers (cubes representing fighters, rogues, wizards and cleric) and gold. These resources are collected by either dispatching agents to certain buildings on the board or through the use of the other deck of cards, Intrigue Cards.

Intrigue cards comes in three flavors; utility, attack and mandatory quest. Utility cards reward you directly and may even help other players. They allow you to do things such as collecting 4 four and one other player to collect 2 gold. Attack gold are direct attacks on other players, either stealing resources or forcing them to discard resources. Mandatory quests are also played on other players and force them to complete that quest before any other. They are generally good for slowing down your opponent and forcing them to waste resources.

The Lord of my Gameshelf
I am enamored by this game. I love playing it and when I'm not playing it I'm thinking about playing it. It just works so perfectly. The competition is tight and fierce and there are plenty of decisions to make. Even the end game gets tense as those final bonus points are counted up.

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