Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lords of Waterdeep is Amazing!

Lords of Waterdeep 
Designed by Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson
Published by Wizards of the Coast
2 to 5 Players
60 Minutes
A fantasy themed worker placement game that includes city building, completing quests, and intrigue

Background / Introduction
Lords of Waterdeep is a fantastic worker placement game with high quality components and a great fantasy theme. You will notice the Dungeons and Dragons label on the box and in most cases this will either make you very excited about the game or turn you off to it immediately. I for one, have never played Dungeons and Dragons or any other tabletop RPG. I wanted to play this because of all the great things I kept hearing about it and I saw it played on TableTop. Well, all the good things I heard are true and I love this game.

Components / Rule Book
This game has a very high quality production value. The first thing you will probably notice is the nice box that the game comes in. The box has a nice finish to it and seems like it will be very durable. It also has a very unique way that the lid and box fit together creating a nice visual effect. Once the box is open, you will notice the amazing plastic insert that will help organize the game components. This insert is probably the best one that I have encountered. Everything has its place and it all fits perfectly. The insert also is designed such that you can very easily retrieve the components from the box without having to tip the thing upside down. Hands down the best use of an insert.

Another nice touch to keep the game feeling unique, is the shape and design of the gold used in the game. There are two different types of gold tokens, one is square and the other is a half-moon shape each with a little hole in the middle. I really like this little detail that adds to the theme and just gives another component that stands out above just using a normal round looking coin. The gold tokens are very high quality cardboard type pieces, but they have a nice finish to them and will keep well. Of course, I would have loved actual metal coins, using the cardboard I'm sure keeps the price point down.

The game includes a board and building tiles which are also made of some nice cardboard. I am impressed with the building tile pieces from Lords of Waterdeep, because similar tiles in other games seem more prone to warping or just feel flimsy. These tiles are anything but.  The game includes wooden meeples and scoring tokens that are well painted and look nice. The cards used in the game are nice quality and shuffle well.

The only thing that I wish was better is the player mats. The mats in my opinion are not a real huge need, but they are nice to have to keep things organized and to keep track of players' factions. These mats divide your completed quests from uncompleted ones and provides a storage area for Adventure Cubes and resources. I really wish these mats were made out of the same material as the building tiles - that would be awesome, but alas, they are not. The mats seem to be printed on a cardstock type material and they are flimsy. They could easily become bent or ruined. Again, I know that it was probably a price point thing and the mats are not necessarily small like the building tiles - but that is really the only part about the components that I found lacking.

The instruction booklet is also great quality in material and content. A durable rule book with lots of illustrations and well understood rules. The rule book also provides a diagram on how to use the insert - pretty sweet! I think the quality of components and rule book are top notch.

Players are trying to obtain the most victory points by completing quests, building buildings, playing intrigue cards, and by trying to get bonus points from meeting a special goal for your specific Lord. Setup is pretty quick and consists of shuffling some cards and gathering adventurer cubes and other components. Each player gets a Lord of Waterdeep card that will provide bonus points for completing specific types of quests or building buildings. Players will also start with some intrigue cards and some quests.

Players will place an agent (one of their meeples) on one of the open action spaces which will allow them to gain adventurers, gold, build a building, gain or play an intrigue card, and take on more quests. Building buildings will add more action spaces to the board and the owner of the building bets a benefit whenever some other player uses that building. Intrigue cards allow you to snare up your opponent with such things as mandatory quests that are required to be completed before completing any other quests. The game really is simple and easy to teach/learn, but the game offers a lot of strategy. The game is a great length as well lasting about an hour (the game is played in 8 rounds and the game is adjusted for the different amount of players by adjusting how many agents a player will start with).

Closing Thoughts
I really have enjoyed Lords of Waterdeep. I am just amazed at the nice quality components and the attention to detail for each right down to the wonderful box insert to keep everything organized. I like the little things that make the game have a unique feel like how the box closes or the shape of the gold coins. The artwork is great and all the gameplay with components create a really great theme that is enjoyable and yet isn't overwhelming to those who may not care for fantasy. Those who don't enjoy fantasy at all can still really enjoy this game! It isn't too heavy, so more casual gamers can still enjoy it. The game length is perfect at around 60 minutes. There is variation in the different quest cards, intrigue cards, and building cards used in each game along with the different Lord cards with special bonus point goals. I like the building concept where if you build a building and another player uses that space, you get rewarded. The simplicity of the game combined with the shear fun of completing quests and great strategy depth should make this game shoot to the top of your want list. And with a great player range of 2 to 5 players, this game seems to have it all. It plays really well with 2 players, a lot better than I originally thought it would. I think that there is a lot of replayability and there is also currently one expansion (that apparently is like two in one) available to add even more fun. I hope that I can try it soon as well, for Lords of Waterdeep is amazing and that is How Lou Sees It!

A big SHOUT OUT to Wizards of the Coast for making this review possible.

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