|Lords of Waterdeep Box Cover|
Of these games, even fewer have BEAUTIFUL components, wooden bits, linen boards & cards, and fantastic artwork. Fewer still have a near perfectly organized rule book with slick quick reference on the back. And EVEN less games actually have a box insert that holds all the bits for transport, but also keeps them organized and convenient for play.
If you'd asked me to make a list of games that had all of the above in them, my list would be very, VERY short. In fact the only game I own in this category is Small World by Days of Wonder.
Now I have a second: Lords of Waterdeep.
|Everything has its place in the box|
So far a fairly typical 'euro style' worker placement game, however there are two additional mechanics that set this game apart: Buildings and Intrigue cards.
Buildings can be purchased by players simply by sending one of their agents to appropriate area on the board. Of course using an agent to buy a building means he's not out gathering resources from another location. When a building is bought it is placed on a board and the player who bought it snaps a special token into the corner to indicate he or she owns the building. This tile is now a new space on the board available for any player to send his agent to gain its unique benefits. The twist is that although anyone can use the new building, the building 'owner' gains a small benefit each time it is used. Thus the building tiles add both variety and a handy way to gain resources if you can convince someone to use it.
While the buildings add depth and variety, it's the Intrigue cards which set this game apart by adding a level of 'american style' player interaction. Some locations on the board will allow players to draw Intrigue cards. These cards can be both helpful to the player, harmful to others, or both. Some cards allow the owner to gain 2 warriors, and one other player of his choice to also gain a warrior. Other cards might kill a cleric owned by each player. Still others are mandatory quests that can be played on an opponent which he must finish before working on any other quests he might own worth more victory points. To play an Intrigue card, the player must dispatch his agent to yet another special location on the board which then allows him to immediately play the card. We really enjoyed the Intrigue cards. They kept the player conversation lively throughout the game as we each begged for favors or threatened revenge. The mechanic also adds just enough randomness to keep things from becoming too predictable.
|Lords of Warterdeep in action|
Lords of Waterdeep is that rare gem of a board game that gets nearly EVERYTHING right. From the moment you open the box you realize no corners were cut on this game despite its reasonable $50 price point. Days of Wonder, Mayfair, Fantasy Flight and the rest should take note: With this release Wizards of the Coast has proved they are the equal of any board game publisher on the planet.