I’ve mentioned this before, but I got a copy of Lords of Waterdeep, which is an RPG based in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. I was going to do a full review on here but I’ve only played it twice so I’m just going to give my first impressions.
The game is a “working placement” game where each player fights over resources. In this game, the resources are adventures that are used to complete quests and score points. Each round, players take turns pacing there pieces – called agents – in different locations on the board to collect money or adventurers in order to complete quests and score points. After eight rounds, the player with the most points wins.
It sounds like a simple premise, but it has a lot of deep strategy. The quests you are tying to complete for points are played face up so every player can see what every other player is working towards. However, at the start of the game each player is dealt a lord of Waterdeep that has a strategy on it for getting extra points. This is dealt facedown so nobody knows what you’re working towards, which means that you will have to pay attention to what each person is trying to do during the game in order to ruin their plans.
Normally, I’m not a very agro player, but I do like the ways you can mess up another player in this game. You can do so by either taking a spot that develops a resource they were trying to get, or by playing Intrigue cards that have special effects to change gameplay for a turn. It’s not super aggressive, and it always helps you while still messing up someone else, which I find the best strategy games do.
The game itself is very well made. It has a nice big board that will take up a good size kitchen table. The pieces are either made out of wood or thick cardboard, both of which would probably survive a spill if you are like me and enjoy playing games while having an adult beverage. There are about 200 hundred cards used in this game, which are made out of a really robust card stock that deals really fast and just feels good in your hands. Its the same stuff that really good poker cards are made out of.
None of that matters if the game play isn’t good, and let me tell you, it is. The thing I like best about the game is that there are many ways to win. You could build buildings to help you collect resources, you could fuck over other players with Intrigue cards, or you could just focus on completing quests. And that’s just to name the few that I’ve found. That problem with a lot of games like this is that there winds up being a “Master Strategy” that if you don’t use you are going to lose to players who do. Lords of Waterdeep doesn’t seem to have this problem, which means each player gets to play their own game their own way while still interacting with the other players.
If you are into strategy games that give you a lot of elements to manipulate, I would totally suggest picking the game up. The rules are simple enough to quickly explain to your friends who may never have heard of the game. That said, if your group of friends aren’t experienced gamers, this isn’t the one to start with. I’d suggest Cardcassonne for that. But if you have people you game with all the time and are looking for something new, I’d suggest giving Lords of Waterdeep a look.