Lords of Waterdeep

Cover Art - Lords of Waterdeep
Waterdeep, the City of Splendors—the most resplendent jewel in the Forgotten Realms, and a den of political intrigue and shady back-alley dealings. In this game, the players are powerful lords vying for control of this great city. Its treasures and resources are ripe for the taking, and that which cannot be gained through trickery and negotiation must be taken by force!

Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy board game for 2-5 players. You take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city.

Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hinder—or help—the other lords by playing Intrigue cards to enact your carefully laid plans.
BGG Link https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1116080/lords-waterdeep
Designer(s) Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson
Publisher Wizards of the Coast
Player Count 2 - 5 (2 - 6 with Scoundrals of Skullport Expansion)
Estimated Playtime 15 - 20 min per player
HomePage https://dnd.wizards.com/products/lords-waterdeep-board-game

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Journal Entries

July 4th, 2022

July 1st. I had finally gotten past the financial year. There was a few work fires to put out, and I was hoping I could monitor that everything was still running. Well, that didn’t work out. But while I was holding out hope, I tried to squeeze in a cheeky game of Lords of Waterdeep.

There is a good chance if I ever did a top 10 list of my favourite games ever, Lords of Waterdeep would be on the list. It’s guaranteed going to be in my top 20. But Lords of Waterdeep isn’t for everybody, for a few reasons.

Lords of Waterdeep has been around for quite some time. I am not saying ‘old’ games are bad, but there are newer games that refine the game mechanics. Then there are the mechanics themselves – not everyone likes secret points allocation. Not knowing how you are scoring compared to your opponents can frustrate players.

Then there is the theme. I hear the argument that Lords of Waterdeep shouldn’t be a Dungeons and Dragons game, because “it has nothing to do with D&D”. To me, that is an argument by people that don’t play D&D themselves.

20220704 - Lords of Waterdeep - Intruiging
gather people to complete quests for you, dabble in intrigue or buy buildings – Waterdeep has many things for you to do

But what is Lords of Waterdeep? Players are given a secret Lord character. These give players secret objectives that affect end-game scoring. During the game, players (the Lords) send their agents to collect money and/or resources. Why should a Lord dirty their own hands, after all?

These resources are better known in Dungeons & Dragons as players. Fighters, Clerics, Mages and Rogues. They are collected to go on adventures on the Lord’s behalf. This is where I disagree that Lords of Waterdeep has nothing to do with D&D. Instead of being the player character going on adventures, in Waterdeep you are the unseen force that sends those players on their way. It’s all in how you look at the setting.

20220704 - Lords of Waterdeep - Nearing the end of the game and I am getting worried
Playing distracted over a couple of hours meant I was missing what my opponents were doing

Is it a strong narrative motivation? It depends on how you look at it as well. Ultimately you are just collecting cubes and fulfilling requirements for points. However, if you are one of the high and mighty Lords of Waterdeep, then would you see adventurers as disposable fodder?

I only got the one game in, and that was very delayed as work intruded. Well, that is what happens when you try for a cheeky game during work hours! One thing is for sure, I will be giving Lords of Waterdeep another go in the near future. It’s been far too long since I played it in any form.

20220704 - Lords of Waterdeep - Final Scores
Not a terrible score, but well below my average