New Treasures: Lords of Waterdeep

New Treasures: Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of WaterdeepWell, the holidays are finally over and all the gifts have been put away. Unless you’re like me and you piled them all in the living room so you can gaze at them happily.

My family has started to complain, though. I asked for a lot of games, and consequently this year’s haul is a little harder to step over. I can’t help it — ever since I was a kid, I’ve equated the holidays with gaming. There’s just something joyful about gathering all your closest friends and family together for a friendly game of strategy around the kitchen table at Christmas. And then, crushing them all with an iron fist.

Of course, anyone can crush their opponents in a routine game, as I’m fond of saying (every time I lose, without fail, my friends tell me). It’s only the most challenging games, those that add those rare elements of intrigue and power politics, that yield a true sense of triumph.

Forget strategy — I want a game where I can play to my strengths. Backstabbing and subterfuge, that’s what I’m good at.

Which is why I’ve been so interested in Lords of Waterdeep, the new Dungeons & Dragons board game from Wizards of the Coast.

Here’s what Andrew Zimmerman Jones said in his preview last March:

Lords of Waterdeep is a board game based around the intrigues of Waterdeep, the political hub of the Forgotten Realms. Instead of playing Adventurers caught up in these intrigues, you are one of the Lords of Waterdeep, gathering adventurers to your cause and sending them out on quests to advance your agenda…

The folks over at Dungeons & Dragons have definitely come up with a quality product in Lords of Waterdeep. After years of being an Adventurer caught in the intrigues of others, it’s nice to assume the role of puppet master.

Puppet master? See, that’s what I’m talking about. Sending your carefully nurtured minions out to foil the plans of your high school buddies, or crush the last hopes of your children? That’s the Christmas spirit right there.

That’s why I asked Santa to bring me a copy. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask the big guy to also get me some more free time so, as of today, my new copy of Lords of Waterdeep is still in the shrinkwrap.

Fret not. I’ll find a way to assume the mantle of a Waterdeep Lord soon enough. And when I do, I’ll report back here to gloat. And maybe get some strategy tips.

Lords of Waterdeep was published in 2012 by Wizards of the Coast. It is priced at $49.99; typical game time is one hour.

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Now I am curious to hear your opinion after you play it. It has had mixed responses here, with some liking it and others not.

I am unsure if it is anything more that Worker Placement (which I hate) with a coat of D&D paint slapped on.


This game has made a lot of “best of the year” lists. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table as far as mechanics go but it does those mechanics very well.

Jeff Stehman

Yeah, it got so many mentions on The Dice Tower’s 2012 lists that I’m going to dig up their video reviews of it. They usually give me a pretty good idea whether I’ll like a game or not.


John, as much as I would like to claim that comment about the game as my own it was almost a direct quote from The Dice Tower.

I’m an avid Dice Tower listener. It is a weekly podcast on board games and its the best one out there.

And yes they also do video reviews. They have several video reviews. One of their reviewers did somewhere around 400 video reviews last year!

Don’t fall down the hole, John!

Incidentally, you know as well as I that you’re NEVER going to remove the shrink wrap unless you have TWO copies, you madman.


I meant to say “they have several people who do video reviews”


Dice tower is on Kickstarter too…

Mr Vasel and I agree on a lot. mainly because we both like theme.

>But most games would be improved with a coat of D&D, don’t you think?

One would think that but I had and subsequently got rid of Castle Ravenloft because while I was playing it, I kept thinking “I could’ve been playing Descent”.


>I bought a second copy of DESCENT: JOURNEYS IN THE DARK when I couldn’t bring myself to open the first… and that ^#*&% copy had shrinkwrap too! Now I have two unopened copies.

Sell them and get Descent 2.0, it plays faster.

Bill Ward

I guess we have to invite John to our Dice Tower viewing parties now that the cat is out of the bag.


> Not if you can’t open the shrinkwrap.

Have you considered using a knife to slice open the shrinkwrap where the top and bottom of the box meet? Do you have a fear of shrinkwrap?

If you want, for a small fee, you can send me money and I will remove all shrinkwrap from your games for you.

Sean Stiennon

For a small fee (certainly less than what my competitor JLB will charge you), I’ll just sneak into Black Gate headquarters on a moonless night and preform a shrink-wrap-be-gone spell (material components: one pocket knife). Then you can wake up with lots of cool games in slightly-less-than-pristine condition to play.

Jeff Stehman

Great googly moogly, John, you didn’t know about The Dice Tower? I’d start firing people.

It started as a podcast, and these days there are weekly 80-100 minute (or longer) episodes. It’s primarily board games, cards games and miniatures. This week’s episode is #289. Tom Vasel, the fearless leader, is big on top ten lists.

Then there’s The Dice Tower Network, which has a mess of other gaming podcasts.

Then there’s The Dice Tower channel on YouTube, which is loaded with games reviews. Tom does most of them (The Dice Tower is now his full-time job), but there are several other people who contribute reviews.

They’re a good crew, and after having listened to the podcast enough to get a feel Tom’s likes and dislikes, I’ve found him very helpful when it comes to figuring out whether or not I’m likely to like a game. Plus I find Tom and his current cohost, Eric Summerer, a very entertaining duo. (Your mileage may vary.)

Joe H.

Perhaps some kind of aerosolized shrink-wrap dissolver introduced into the ventilation system?


> I have a collector’s mania for keeping everything in new condition.

I do as well, which is why I open games shortly after buying them.

>For a small fee (certainly less than what my competitor JLB will charge you),

Probably, I live in Canada


I’ll join the Dice Tower praising chorus, but mention that my limited time has brought me to listed to Ludology and The d6 Generation more than DT now.

As for Lords of Waterdeep, get it out and play it. Yes, it is a worker placement game. It is also more than that. I recommend buying the D&Dples to add to the thematics of the game. The more you roleplay the theme, the better the game.


I’ve opened my copy of MICE AND MYSTICS, but I think this weekend is when I try to get my younger players to dare the wonders of TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS.

[…] If you’re looking for a deep fantasy board game with a well-thought out setting, Barbarian Kings probably isn’t going to be your thing. I suggest maybe Cyclades, A Touch of Evil, or Lords of Waterdeep. […]

[…] included some of the biggest products of the year, including Pelgrane Press’s Ashen Stars, Lords of Waterdeep from Wizards of the Coast, Savage Worlds Deluxe from Pinnacle, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game […]

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