Coming from the land of Euro Games (Germany), I started playing them from what feels ages ago. What I like most about them is the general game mechanic, in which everybody can have fun and progress throughout the whole game. Only at the end, victory points will decide who has had the best tactic and/or luck and can be called the winner. Pretty much the total opposite to games like Monopoly, where you might have to watch from the sideline after you lost only a few rounds in.
One part which all Euro games I have played in the past were missing, is a cool roleplaying theme. No elves, orcs or dwarfs. No warriors, mages or thieves. I always thought how great it would be to combine the mechanics of a worker-placement game with the epic lore of a roleplaying game like Dungeon & Dragons. This might have been the main driver for designers Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson when they started their work on Lords of Waterdeep.
Like many other comparable games, Lords of Waterdeep (LoW) shines with wooden meeples, cubes and markers. The card quality is great and the best of all, the box has plenty of bespoke slots to store all of them neatly (yes, I am a little OCD when it comes to board games 🙂 ). But what got me most excited after I opened the box, was how the insert was set up. Everything not only fits perfectly, the designer also thought about how to get the components out. All you have to do is push on one side and the other raises, waiting to be grabbed and setup on the table. Last but not least, also the artwork is great and fits the D&D theme perfectly. Together with flavour text on each card, it underlines the roleplaying heritage with every move.
At the start of the game, all players become one of the Lords of Waterdeep, thriving for the most power and money to rule the city. To do so, they choose quests, hire adventurers and claim the rewards once the mission objectives are achieved. And when I say adventurers, we are not talking about cool wizard and warrior miniatures, I mean coloured cubes.
To acquire the needed resources and money to afford enough adventurers to finish your missions, each lord sends out their agents. Agents can be placed in various locations within Waterdeep and each of them will grant a different resource or ability. E.g. place an agent at the ‘Blackstaff Tower’ and gain a purple wizard cube or at the ‘Grinning Lion Inn’ to hire two black thieve cubes. In case you run out of quests, get a new one at the Inn or send an agent to the ‘Waterdeep Harbour’ to play an intrigue card and make life for your opponents more difficult. Oh, and did I mention that you can also buy new buildings to get even more cool things?
Each quest you manage to finish successfully will grant victory points and the player with most points at the end of round 8 will win the game.
After you open the box, the number of cards, cubes, different locations in Waterdeep and pages of rules you have to read feel a little daunting. But once you start your first game, it all falls into place and will run as smooth as a well-oiled machine. The general gameplay is easy to understand and the more you play, the deeper the strategy and more fun it will be. And if you like roleplaying and strategy games as much as I do, LoW is a must-have game for your collection. My current #1 game!
“Lords of Waterdeep is a must-have game for your collection.’
- Players: 2-5
- Age: 12+
- Playtime: 60-90 minutes
- Setup Time: Average
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
- Try this if you like: D&D, Catan, Blood Rage
Lords of Waterdeep
Component Quality7.5 /10
Rules Quality7.5 /10
Value for Money9.0 /10
- Great strategy and roleplaying mix
- Easy to pick up, hard to master
- Awesome box insert design
- High replayability
- Affordable in comparison to similar games
- Cool D&D artwork
- Outer box and character cards a little on the thin side