Expand your control over the city, hire adventurers and deploy your agents to become the most powerful Lord of the city.
Play Time: 60-120 minutes
Designer(s): Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson
Artist(s): Eric Belisle, Steven Belledin, Zoltan Boros, Noah Bradley, etc.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Lords of Waterdeep takes place in the city of Waterdeep, the City of Splendors, a core location in the Dungeons and Dragons core World. This game takes you into the city where you and other lords vie for control of the city through completing quests and expanding the city. But resources are tight, and treasure is limited, so taking advantages of your opportunities is a must!
This is a general overview to provide context for the review, not an in-depth how to play. Some rules may be glossed over or missing.
Lords of Waterdeep is a 2 to 5 player game that plays the best at 3 to 4 players. I have mainly played this game at 3 players.
The core mechanics of this game is worker placement and resource management. Using resources gained through your agents (resources are mainly mercenaries for hire), you will be able to complete quests and gain points (or influence?) over the city of Waterdeep.
The game is played in rounds in which players will take turns placing their agents, one at a time. The round is complete once all players have assigned all their available agents. At the end of the round, all agents will return to their pools and any additional upkeep will be completed. This is done a total of eight times before final scoring is counted.
The set up for the game is straightforward. The building stack, quest deck and intrigue deck should all be placed in their designated spots on the board. Three building tiles are laid out face up as well as four quests.
Each player chooses a color and takes their player mat, number of agents based on number of players, two starting quests, two intrigue cards, and a lord. The starting player will get 4 gold and each player than receives one more gold than the player to their right.
During a players’ turn, they will first, assign their agent to an unoccupied action space on any of the buildings. If you have an agent, you must assign it to one of the buildings. After assigning an agent and getting the subsequent resources from the building you chose, a quest can be completed if you fulfill all the requirements. Complete a quest will consume your resources as they are only expendable for one quest.
Concept: Expanding the city
One of the biggest parts of the game is spending money to establish more buildings in Waterdeep. These building are owned by players and when other players visit the building, it gives the owner a bonus as well. This is an amazing secondary mechanic for getting resources without spending your agents. And often, new building will provide better resources than the basic building that are available.
There are three things that will be taken into account when calculating your final score. One victory point will be added for each adventurer that is still in your tavern. One victory point will be given for every two gold in your tavern. And you will get extra points as dictated by your lord – the lords will generally give you more points based the types of quests you completed.
Who Will Like it?
Lords of Waterdeep is a great light to mid weight game. While there are many options to balance, there is fairly limited player interaction which simplifies the complexity. I would not put Lords of Waterdeep into the gateway game category because it does have a mix of mechanism that might be a lot to balance for a newer player.
What I Think
Lords of Waterdeep has is a great worker placement game that teaches a lot of different balances between workers and resource economies.
What did I like?
I like the openness of the game as there isn’t a “bad” location to visit when putting down your workers. Sometimes, you may gain resources you don’t want immediately but they often can be used sometime in the future.
What didn’t I like?
One of the biggest downsides for the game is being dealt a Lord in the beginning of the game. This can often be very limiting especially since the available quests are determined by the luck of the cards. We would mitigate this drawing two cards at the beginning and then choosing one. This helped avoid getting stuck in one area.
This game is fun, but it can feel a little repetitive with getting resources and quest to complete quests for points. Rinse and repeat. There definitely is some turn order advantage as well since turn order is controlled by the person who gets the turn order marker, which can be necessary to get for some players but takes up an agent.
Rulebook/Learning the Game
The rulebook for the game is very straightforward and learning the game only takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Since the actions per player turn are so simple, it’s very easy to learn the game through a rolling teach and the iconography is extremely straight forward showing cubes to represent, well, cubes. Also, the insert has a great amount of organization which makes it so much easier for set up?
While the game is fun, there is a lack of depth within the game that makes me choose other games over this one. The lighter nature of this game tends to keep this game from the table but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t play it from time to time.
*See my rating scale Here