I will admit that I was stunned by this new gem from Wizards of the Coast. While the game does use the incredibly popular Forgotten Realms city of Waterdeep as the location for the game, this is far from the standard fare I have come to expect from the makers of Dungeons and Dragons. This is a pure strategy game, no rolling dice here.
In the game each player takes on the role of one secretive of the Lords of Waterdeep. No one knows who is player as which Lord, and each has select bonuses they can earn. This is a game about control and power over the most powerful city in the Realms. Players will use their agents to take control of buildings throughout the city in order to claim the special rewards each of those builders offer. Those rewards may be gold, they may be adventures, or even victory points. There are also Quest cards, tasks that can be completed for additional rewards. And, what game of political power and influence would be complete without Intrigue. Intrigue cards let you hamper your opponents by tying up their resources away from where they want them.
The rules of the game are surprisingly simple, yet there is plenty of strategy to keep you thinking and always working to find the best ways to achieve your goals. My group played through three games, each time play was incredibly different.
Now, the game might not be the most original thing out there, placing tokens on buildings, lots of wooden bits, and the like, but it still was a ton of fun.
So, let’s roll that d20 and see what we get.
This game has it all (well, except dice, but nothing is truly perfect). There are high quality cards, lots of thick cardboard bits and plenty of wood cubes to keep even the pickiest of Euro gamers happy. Even the components tray is incredibly well designed.
As I said above, the rules are simple and learning to play took under 15 minutes. Now, the strategies may take some time, but that is what makes the game fun. The game might not have the depth some of the more hardcore gamers crave, but it is a great lighter strategy game.
With a hefty stack of different buildings and plenty of Lords to go around the game can hit the table quite often without becoming too repetitive. While it doesn’t have that “I must play this every day” feel, it still has enough appeal to be more than worthwhile.
With an MSRP of $50 ($32 on Amazon) you get plenty of bang for your buck. The replay aspect and the quality of components shouldn’t make this too much of an unbearable hit to the wallet.
Bam! That is a 17, most assuredly a hit in most cases. Don’t let the D&D theme scare you off if you don’t go for those types of games. While the theme is D&D, it doesn’t do anything more than provide a nice bit of flavor for a great little resource management game.