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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars413
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on October 2, 2012
I had heard good things about this game, but was a little concerned given it's "Dungeons and Dragons" name. I love Euro-style strategy games like Settlers, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, etc., but have never gotten into D&D games. After playing my first game of Waterdeep, however, it was clear that this was my kind of game.

My wife and I often have a hard time finding good strategy games to play 1 vs. 1. We like the game to be interesting but not too complex, competitive but not malicious, 30-60min playtime and plays well with only two players. Waterdeep meets all of these criteria very well, it's a great two player game.

Also, the game components are surprisingly well constructed! The wooden pieces are solid and attractive, the cardboard pieces are thick, coated and textured, and the cards are also coated and very high quality. I expect this game to last quite a while.
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on July 29, 2013
Lords of Waterdeep is a fantastic light worker placement game, and along with Stone Age Board Game, the perfect gateway game for non-gamers. Experienced gamers will likely also love it. It is so elegantly designed, so easy to teach and remember, yet difficult to master, that it is a classic of its kind, right up there with other great gateway games like Ticket To Ride,Guillotine, Stone Age, and Dominion. The quality of the components is excellent with (mostly) nice art throughout. The board is easy to understand and only rarely runs out of room for new buildings (10 slots are provided, but there is room in the center of the board to fit a few more in). Sure, the D&D theme feels slightly pasted on, but the mechanics are sound and it's a hell of a lot of fun, with excellent replay value.

At the beginning of the game, each player gets dealt a secret Lord card, representing which of the secret lords of the city they are playing. Each lord prefers two different types of quests and gives a 4 point end-game victory point bonus for completing quests of those types (no two lords prefer both the same quests, though many overlap with one). There is one exception, a lord who gives no quest bonus, but instead a 6 point bonus for each building you control at the end. This lord is harder to win with in games with more than 2 players, but in my experience, can be almost impossible to beat it in a 2-player game. You also get dealt two random quest and intrigue cards, which I'll explain below. Intrigue cards are kept secret until played, but quest cards are public knowledge and kept face-up until completed.

You get a number of meeples ("your lord's agents") who are placed one at a time in turn order until everyone has assigned all theirs. On the 5th round, everyone gets a bonus meeple. Most places, only one person can get the space's offering that turn. Two of the spaces allow up to three meeples to be assigned (including multiple of the same player's meeples). These are for gaining new quests or playing intrigue cards. Intrigue cards let you get a bonus, or mess with another player, or give everyone a bonus (but the person who played the card gets the best). The Builder's Hall space lets you choose from three different buildings to buy. Buildings offer cubes or money or intrigue cards beyond and better than the spaces on the board. They cost 4-8 money each. When you buy one, it is instantly available for use by all players. Whoever assigns their meple to the building space gets its offerings, but the owner of the building gets a reward too, which is usually a lesser version of the building's offering, but some offer in-game victory points. So you want to buy buildings and hope other players use them. If you use your own building, you don't get the owner reward, just whatever anyone would get for using it. All the other spaces give money or one or two of a specific color cube ("adventurer for hire").

You usually score in-game victory points by completing quests, of which there are five types: Warfare, Piety, Skullduggery, Commerce, and Arcana. Each requires a variety of colored cubes and/or money to complete, and the type of quest determines the bulk of the cubes and/or money it requires. White cubes are clerics (Piety), Purple cubes are wizards (Arcana), black cubes are thieves (Skullduggery), and orange cubes are fighters (warfare). Commerce quests all require money to complete in addition to a mix of cubes. Some quests offer an ongoing bonus power but are worth less (these are called Plot Quests and clearly marked on the quest card). However, most just give you an immediate victory point bonus and/or some other cool thing, such as bonus cubes or money. One even gives you an extra, special colored meeple, but is worth no points and is a pain to complete. Get it early enough, and you can have a huge advantage. Get it or complete it late and not only will it not be of much help, but will likely cost you the game if you waste resources on it that could be better spent collecting other quests that hand out victory points.

The game lasts eight rounds. Each round, all the spaces you can place your meeples on refresh with whatever goods they are offering (money, buildings, intrigue cards, etc.). There is also a space for getting the first player token. There are always four face-up quests available, but if you don't want any of those, you can choose to discard them all in favor of four new ones, but then you're stuck with keeping one of whatever new ones come out. There is no penalty for uncompleted quests at the end of the game.

My only real complaint is with the box itself. The way it is designed is arty-farty with a dumb extra "fake" bottom that can't be removed and exists just to look cool, so don't put any weight on it, as that bends/crushes the box easily, which is not acceptable, especially for a game that costs this much. And, due to the stupid design of the bottom, you can't put the top lid over it. It won't fit. The plastic insert tray holds everything separate and mostly snug (but way too snug in the case of the money and jewel tokens which are an absolute nightmare to put back in). As seemingly snug as things may appear, however, I wouldn't go turning the box upside-down if I were you. Also, after owning the game for a month, the inside bottom part of the box is split on two corners! Do you know how many game boxes have done that to me? Zero, at least in the time frame I'm talking about here. Normally, it takes years, possibly decades, for a box to fall apart, but not this one. In my opinion, this is the worst-designed game box in board game history, and the plastic insert tray is no prize, either. All the other components (cubes, cards, meeples, etc.) are solid and durable, however.

The new Lords of Waterdeep Expansion: Scoundrels of Skullport (D&D Boxed Game) is due out August 20, 2013, and the rules are available to preview now as a free PDF on the Wizards of the Coast site. This double expansion contains two new add-on maps (one for the evil underground town of Skullport, one for the infamous dungeon of Undermountain). There are a ton of new buildings, new quests, new intrigue cards, six new Lords (including the beholder crime lord, Xanathar), a new resource called Corruption (and an associated Corruption Track board), as well as optional rules, important rules clarifications and errata for the base game, and a set of gray meeples to add a sixth player. It also includes an extra meeple in each of the original player colors for longer games, which are mandatory when adding a sixth player and optional otherwise. So a two-player game would have you begin with five meeples, then add a sixth one on round five. This expansion--the first of what will hopefully be many--adds a ton of replayability and new ways to strategize and win. After reading the rules, it looks like a must-own.

Note that a guy in Canada is selling custom, laser-cut, painted "DnDeeples" (search for them using that term). For hardcore lovers of Lords, these can replace the cubes with meeple-looking clerics holding maces, dual-dagger wielding thieves, wizards with staff and pointy hat, and viking helmeted fighters with a sword! A gaming buddy of mine bought 'em and loves 'em. I'll admit they're very cool, but a totally extravagant expense.
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on December 18, 2012
I bought this game today and took it to game night. We played it all night and ignored everything else, 3 games in about 6 hours (with a short break to eat, probably about 1.5hrs/game). Once everyone got it down, we were really having some fun. It's really a great game! Not too complex and you can really get into it. I highly recommend it to everyone!

Now, I'm going to talk about why it only got 4 stars (although it would be 4.5 if I could):

-0.25 stars:
11 lord cards. Cool, you think, some variation on bonuses. Wrong. Only one card (6 points per building) will offer anything other than 4 points per any quests from 2 random types. It really is a waste. The first game through, we got wrecked by the guy who had the card for building control, all of us unknowing that it existed. Afterwards we went through the's the only one of it's type. Seriously?! I understand it's a DnD type and therefore quest-based but I want to be able to do something other than quests to get VPs. I always hope for the building perk, and honestly it's a good one to get. The buildings really benefit you (allowing completion of small plot quests easily) and if you take the 4 gold from Aurora's Realms Shop or 2 from Cliffwatch Inn you can easily buy one per turn. It's so much easier to not have to focus on quests, which is disappointing. I want options. More building benefits. Maybe some lords get more than 4 points for the quests. Maybe some 5 for Arcana and 3 for Commerce...change it up! Make it more intense!

-0.25 stars:
The intrigue cards. An awesome part of the game, yes. However, often I could only help myself if I helped others. Hurting others? Played those cards every chance I got. But helping others? We usually ended up with a few cards we refused to play for this purpose. I don't want everyone to get an orange/I don't want to give away 4g/I don't want to discard a quest, etc) There wasn't anything that really stuck out as an awesome -power- card to get. Maybe include 1 or 2 strong cards (Take one [?] from every player, take 1G from every player, etc). Even better, set a few cards in a power deck that you can trade buildings for or something. I want more options. More depth. It was frustrating for one player to get 3 terribly, terribly useless intrigue cards when others actually got useful stuff. And the Mandatory Quests...make them harder/more unique! We could usually get them out of the way in one turn. I dealt two to a foe and he did both easily same turn, without actually having the pieces already due to plot quest perks. I'd say make them increase in difficulty based on level in. Same with the other better intrigue cards! At round 5, they become somehow more powerful. It would make the intense endings that much more intense knowing someone could turn the game with one card!

Despite all of this, it is still quite a good game. If anything, I'm tempted to make my own cards. If I could match them perfectly (so you couldn't tell them apart by the material/colors/etc) I would make my own Lord Cards, and I still might. This would be a cool option to include also. Either way, when the expansion comes out (August 20th, 2013 according to Amazon) I'll be buying it immediately if not pre-ordering it. Buy this game, you won't regret it!
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on October 18, 2015
Great worker-placement boardgame. There's a little flavor in the form of the fantasy-trope warriors/wizards/rogues/priests working on your behalf, and quests involving orcs and slimes to complete. (Not actually orcs and slimes, but the quests are so forgettable that I have no idea what they involve, after five playthroughs.)

For whatever reason, it all just works. You race to see who can accumulate the most "XP" essentially. You have to plan ahead and choose the right cards, the right adventurers, and the right buildings or else you're left holding the bag with mediocre XP and a crapload of bored, irritable rogue elves in your Church of the Damned or whatever.

Just get it. It's a good game. Takes 45 minutes or so to play. More lively than Agricola, for sure, if you have that as a worker-placement comparison benchmark. My wife's hooked on it, and she's pretty new to the whole not-Monopoly boardgame concept.
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on March 2, 2016
Lots of fun for several people, the game seems quick but can take a good hour to finish.
You spend most of the game building your power base with quests building and worker management, and there are so many ways to build power that you always feel like your racing with the other players for the top until the end.

The game tends to end just as you feel like your starting to come into your own power, so it there is tension as to who won all the way to the end of point totaling.

If you enjoy this you should take a look at the expansion, scoundrel's of Skullport, it includes two expansion options (or use both) and allows for a 6th player. Both add new mechanics to the game that can make it more interesting.

Worker Management
1hr+ to play
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on January 3, 2013
OK, if you are a hardcore Euro fanboy look elsewhere, same for the D&D fanboys, move on, nothing to see here.

This is a nice gateway, family friendly worker placement game, a Euro-ish board game with a D&D theme. This is a buy a building, place a worker in a building picking up resources, pick up quest cards via of a building, funding those quest cards, game. There is no move here, pick a card, roll the die(s) kill something, repeat.

I suggest going to Wizards of the Coast for the rule FAQ, watch the excellent short How to Play video at the site to get an overview. The game has just enough luck in it to make it interesting, some hidden info, all the no-nos for the hardcore Euro types who like their board games like chess. The game is mildly interactive, read this as cutthroat in hardcore gamer talk, the worst thing that happens is you can take one resource from someone, or give one player a resource as a perk for you picking something up. A lot of other games you can get a leg broken, repeatly, this is not one of them. There are 3 cards that you can give a player that makes them have to fund aka complete the quest on the card before any others he may have. This card you will find you will use sparingly, it may slow down a "leader" in the game but you waste effort on your part playing it. It is useful, just requires thought to do so. I suggest you remove these 3 cards in a 2 player game, one player can have all 3 in their hand. While we are on the subject of 2 players, it plays well with 2 people.

This game looks complicated, because of all the locations on the board, it isn't, one of the easiest games I have played. This is a classic solid game, it is just smooth and about anyone would enjoy playing it.

Dice Tower Review
Do a search on "Tom Vasel Dice Tower Lords of Waterdeep" for another good review. I would post the link but Amazon would remove it.
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on February 25, 2015
I had heard a lot of good things about this game, watched a few vids of it on youtube (I think TableTop with Will Wheaton is probably the best one for this game) and decided to take the plunge. I was not disappointed. I like light-hearted gateway games and this fit the bill.

In this game you score points by completing quests. The twist is, you don't actually go on the quest yourself, instead you are the person responsible for rounding up the warriors and wizards, etc, to go on the quests. This is a worker placement game where placing your maples on the board allows you to get the characters you need tor fulfilling the quests. There are also places to go to acquire money, new quests, intrigue cards (which can help you or hinder your opponent) or build buildings, which open up new spots on the board but earn you bonuses when your opponents use them. Plus, at the beginning of the game, you assume the role of one of the Lords Of Waterdeep, who gets bonus victory points when special conditions are met.

This is a fun, smooth, fast paced game. My one complaint is the little wooden cubes you use for your adventurers. I went online and found several places where you can buy upgraded maples specifically for this game, which I did.
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on June 3, 2016
This is quite simply the best board game I have ever played. 15 game sessions later, no two games are ever the same. It is perfect mix of strategy and luck. (very little luck, really). I want to add: do NOT be scared off by the "dungeons and dragons" branding. It is nothing like D&D. there are no dice, there is no dungeon master. It is exceedingly easy to learn and difficult to master. (the hallmark of great game design). do NOT be intimidated. get it now!! (p.s. I prefer 3 players to 2, 4, or 5, but any way is fine)
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on December 7, 2015
Lords of Waterdeep is a light worker placement game that perfectly hits the nail on the head. It is simple enough that people up can pick it up easily, but it has depth of strategy that makes it extremely fun and re-playable. My wife doesn't like heavier euro games, but she LOVES LoW. This game also works extremely well for 2 players. However 3 and up adds a level of chaos that make it very fun as well.

I would also add that while the base game is extremely good, the expnsion, Scoundrels of Skullport, is an essential add on. Get LoW, play it a few times, and then take a look at the expansion, it makes LoW much much better.
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on September 28, 2015
A staple game in our household, and sometimes when we have guests over. So well loved that we bought the expansion and then had to buy a third party box made to contain both, because the boxes were breaking down.

It's a great game for two or more, my 11 year old has been playing it and he grasps it really well, and there's complaints when he doesn't win. I like that there are multiple strategy's to winning and while all the pieces - and there are a lot - are very intimidating, it's really quick to get through the rules and start playing. The expansion is worth getting as well. All in all, no regrets in buying it and might just break it out tonight!
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