Lords of Waterdeep review by Jason Bellaconis

So let’s start this off by saying right out of the gate that I love a good game. Game nights are had at my house weekly, and we’re constatnly rotating a long list of games ranging from Munchkin and Settlers of Catan, to Mall of Terror, Scattergories, Cards Against Humanity and Forbidden Desert. It’s a long list. My game shelf is full and soon will be even fullerer (“fullerer”, double word, 22 points).

Right now, however, I’m going to discuss a game I have come to truly enjoy: Lords of Waterdeep, a fantasy board game for 2-5 players. Strategy and intrigue are all wrapped up in a great fantasy setting. All you need is a careful plan, a Plan B for when your original plan is made impossible by your opponents, and a Plan C for when you realize Plan B might not be the best backup plan after all. The rules are clear cut, and there are multiple paths to victory, including stabbing your friends in the back right in their faces. How dare they challenge your right to rule this city?

Ahem, but I digress.

To start, everyone draws a random “Lord of Waterdeep” card, which is kept secret from everyone else but you. Each player chooses a faction. Each faction is really just a color (red, green, black, yellow, or blue) but with cooler names like the Red Sashes, the City Guard, or the Harpers. Fans of the Forgotten Realms might recognize some of these names.

Lords of Waterdeep game view
Game setup overview

The board looks pretty empty so far, but as the game progresses, new buildings can be bought by the players and added to the board. Since there are 24 different buildings, all equipped with varying bonuses respectively, each game tends to play differently from the one before.

So we’ve got our lords, the game board is set, let’s play.

You have a number of agents you assign each round to vaying tasks – accepting quests, hiring adventurers and getting gold to complete those quests, buying buildings, playing Intrigue Cards to hamper and hinder your opponents…the list goes on. The goal is to complete the quests for “Victory Points” – and whomever has the most VP at the end of the game wins the coveted title of Lord of Waterdeep and claims bragging rights until the next time you play.

There are multiple ways to get VP – not just completing quests, though quests tend to be your bread and butter. Buying buildings, playing Intrigue Cards, or having other players use the buildings you’ve put in play can grant you additional VP. This can lead to a lot of different strategies depending on the type of player you are.

The game runs for 8 rounds, which should take you about an hour….or you can play 16 rounds and watch the knives really come out. This is competitive gameplay at it’s best, and I have yet to play a game that wasn’t nail-bitingly close. So if you’re looking for a great game for a small group of friends, and one that’s simple enough for quick play and deep enough for some truly great strategery (“strategery”, 14 points), give this one a try.

Just…be prepared for some tense moments at the end when the final score is counted.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can watch Lords of Waterdeep in play on Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop.

The Author

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