Waterdeep: A “City of Splendours” from the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting of Forgotten Realms. In this new board game offering from Wizards of the Coast, you get to rule the place as one of the Lords of Waterdeep. It does what it says on the tin, pretty much…
It’s a game for 2 to 5 players, and the goal is simple: Earn as many Victory Points as you can over 8 rounds of play. The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the 8th round is the winner!
Each player picks a Lord to play as at random, and the choice of Lord effects how they play the game. Some Lords score extra Victory Points at the end of the game dependent on how many “Commerce” quests they complete, or how many buildings they own, for example.
The Agents who work for each player are taken from one of five organisations that the player aligns themselves with at the beginning of the game; these are the City Guard, Knights of the Shield, Harpers, Red Sashes or Silverstars. Each player has a limited number of Agents to play with, determined simply by how many people are playing the game – this helps to stop the game going on for hours and hours. A full 8 rounds of play can be over in just a couple of hours.
Each round is broken down into turns where each player gets to place an Agent in one of the many buildings of Waterdeep to help further their interests in the city, such as: the Builder’s Hall which allows new buildings to be constructed; The Grinning Lion Tavern which is a favourite haunt for roguish adventurers; or Aurora’s Realms Shop which is a haven for trading and gold.
Depending on where the Agents are placed the player can either construct new buildings, hire adventurers, accumulate gold, gain quests or win Victory Points. The player can then, if they have the resources available, complete these quests to win further Victory Points.
Each player also picks up “Intrigue” cards during play which can be played either immediately or if they place agents in specific locations. These cards can be used to help or hinder other players to further your own goals.
At its heart this is an asset management game but one that is fun to pick up and play over and over again. The board, manual and all playing cards are beautifully illustrated as one can expect of something from the D&D stable. Initial set-up is a tad time consuming but once everyone was familiar with the structure of the game the play was fairly pacey. It’s a good game to play at the beginning of a night of gaming to get everyone warmed up or, heck, just play it a few times. There are enough variables in the game to keep things fresh and everyone thinking. It reminded me of a more complex version of the popular game Carcassonne in many ways, and that is definitely not a bad thing.