8 Oct 2013

First Time Playing: Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep is a game that I've wanted to try out ever since I saw it played on Table Top, and I finally got the chance last weekend. Not because I'm a Dungeons and Dragons fan. To be honest, I have yet to try a single role playing game. But it's a worker placement game, which is a genre that I really, really enjoy, and it looked like a lot of fun. And I can attest to that it is. Each player has a hidden role, which each have different agendas, you summon different type of characters to send them off on quests, and you can also try and sabotage for other players by giving them mandatory low-scoring quests or make them give up resources.

Now, I got a really big laugh when I received my role card when we played, because the card specifically said my character was better known as 'kitten', which has been the core of my web aliases for the past decade or so. Talk about funny coincidences. My character's specific agenda was that for each quest I completed that were of the commerce or skullduggery kind, I would receive four extra bonus points at the end of the game. And when I received my starting quests, I was even lucky enough to get a plot quest which would grant me two additional points for every skullduggery quest I completed. So despite being the last of five players, I was off to a good start.

The way the game is played is that we have couple of agents to start with (the exact number depends on how many players are in the game), then halfway through the game we get an additional agent. We were five players in the game I played, so we started with only two agents. We each take turns placing our agents on the board, where we may do actions like drawing new quests, summoning workers (represented by different coloured cubes), buying buildings, using buildings (you get a bonus if another player uses your building), or playing intrigue cards (which give you an advantage and/or sabotage for other players). Whenever you do an action you have the option of completing a quest if you meet the necessary requirements.

Different quests give different rewards. There are plot quests which generally don't give many points right away, but give you advantages as you play the rest of the game. I completed plot quests which gave me extra points on certain quests or when I built buildings. Others completed plot quests which gave them bonuses when they summoned specific workers. Then there are the regular quests which give you points, and usually some extra bonus like money or workers of a specific colour. Sometimes the bonus you receive from completing one quest will help you to complete another one on your next turn.

The game runs for a total of eight rounds. At the beginning of each round, three point markers are put on the three open buildings, making less rewarding buildings more tempting to build as the game progresses.

Now, I would say that this is actually a very newcomer friendly game in the worker placement category. You have your quest cards open in front of you, so with simple logical thinking it's very easy to see in what order is most useful for you to play the quests. The board is very straightforward in informing you what you get if you place your piece somewhere. The buildings sometimes have a tricky way of expressing what you get, but once you get used to it, it's not that hard.

My final words on this game is that I absolutely loved it, and intend to add it to my collection once I can afford to. I actually don't think previous gaming experience is necessary in order to get into this one, but if you have experience with resource management and/or worker placement, then you're off to a really good start.

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