Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep is a German-style board game designed by Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson and published by Wizards of the Coast in 2012. The game is set in Waterdeep, a fictional city in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Players take the role of masked rulers of Waterdeep, deploying agents and hiring adventurers to complete quests and increase their influence over the city.
Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy board game for 2-5 players (up to 6 players with the expansion). Each player takes on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep: the secret rulers of the city, vying for the control of its treasures and resources. The players use their agents to recruit adventurers to complete a number of quests, which earn rewards (usually victory points and other rewards) and increases that lord's influence over the city. The various adventurer resources, represented as orange, black, purple, and white cubes, are based on the four classic D&D character classes: fighters, rogues, mages, and clerics, respectively. There are also five different types of quests, each typically favoring one type of adventurer; they are Warfare, Skullduggery, Arcana, Piety, and Commerce, which has a focus on the in-game currency.
Each player is dealt one of the Lords of Waterdeep, which is kept face down. They are allowed to look at the Lord at any time. Each Lord gives a player points at the end of the game for completing certain types of quests or controlling buildings.
Lords of Waterdeep is primarily a worker placement game. Players place their agents on various spaces around the city which allows them to take actions like collect money (gold), gather adventurers (resources), draw or play Intrigue cards (single-use special abilities), or gain Quests (the fundamental way to earn Victory Points). After eight rounds of worker placements, the player with the most Victory Points wins the game.
Lords of Waterdeep includes:
- a game board
- a rulebook
- 5 cardstock player mats
- 121 Intrigue, Quest, and Role cards
- 100 wooden cubes (white, black, orange, purple)
- 5 agent meeples in five different colors (black, red, yellow, green, blue)
- 2 meeples in White and Gray representing the Ambassador and Lieutenant
- 5 score pieces (one of each color: black, red, yellow, green, blue)
- card stock tiles and tokens representing buildings, gold coins, and victory points
Each color in the game represents a faction from the Forgotten Realms. The factions are as follows:
- Yellow - Knights of the Shield
- Black - City Guard
- Blue - Silverstars
- Green - Harpers
- Red - Red Sashes
- Gray (Expansion color) - Gray Hands
Scoundrels of Skullport
In August 2013 Wizards of the Coast released an expansion to the game titled Scoundrels of Skullport. It consists of two expansion modules – Undermountain and Skullport – that can be used to expand the base game separately or in tandem.
Scoundrels of Skullport includes:
- 3 new game boards (Skullport, Undermountain and the corruption track),
- 6 agent meeples for a new gray-colored faction called the Gray Hands
- 1 more agent meeple for each of the colors from the base game (Black, Red, Blue, Green, Yellow)
- 25 corruption tokens
- 6 new Lords of Waterdeep cards
- 50 new Intrigue cards
- 60 new quest cards
- 24 new building tiles
- 16 adventure caravan tokens (4 for each of the four adventurer types, representing 5 adventurer cubes each)
Undermountain adds a new mechanic to the game in the form of placing resources on the game board spaces. This can be things like adventurers or even gold. Undermountain buildings are generally more rewarding than normal buildings. For example, one of the new buildings "The Citadel of the Bloody Hand" gives the player 4 fighters when players use it (the owner gets 2 fighters) and then the player must place 1 fighter on 2 different spaces on the board. When a player puts an agent on a space where such resources have been placed, that player gets what the space would normally give them for placing there plus any resources that are on that space. Undermountain quests also tend to be very expensive, but also very rewarding, granting up to 40 victory points at once.
Skullport adds another new mechanic to the game called corruption. There is a game board for corruption called the corruption track. There are 25 corruption tokens in the game – one token at the -1 value with three tokens on the rest up to -9. At the end of the game each corruption players have is worth a number of points equal to the highest numbered empty corruption space. So if there is 1 corruption on -5 and no corruption on -4, all corruption tokens in players taverns are worth -4 points at the end of the game. Skullport buildings, like with Undermountain, can also yield greater resources than the base game building, but they tend to also give the player corruption tokens. However, some Skullport buildings and cards will allow a player to return corruption to the track or remove corruption from the game entirely.
Lords of Waterdeep Scoundrels of Skullport won the Dice Tower Award for Best Board Game Expansion of 2013.
According to Ben Kuchera of Penny Arcade, Lords of Waterdeep "has players hiring adventurers and vying for control of a single city".
Erik Kain of Forbes said: "for a quick, entertaining game that requires actual thought, you could do much worse. It may not satisfy your dice-rolling, dungeon-crawling needs, but it’s a wonderful game of intrigue in one of the Forgotten Realms' most notorious urban settings."
Andrew Zimmerman Jones of Black Gate commented: "the folks over at Dungeons & Dragons have definitely come up with a quality product in Lords of Waterdeep. After years of being an Adventurer caught in the intrigues of others, it's nice to assume the role of puppet master."
Wired.com commented that "Lords of Waterdeep is an immersive, satisfying worker placement Eurogame with a lot to offer."
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