When mobile game publisher, Playdek, sent us an email announcing the release of their new app Lords of Waterdeep, I instantly replied asking for a promo code to review it. I’m a huge fan of hobby games. The physical game of Lords of Waterdeep, published by Wizards of the Coast, has been on my want to play list for a while now. Most people in my gaming group love it, but unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out. Once I got my promo code, I was up until about 11:30pm going through the tutorial and battling it out with the easiest AI players. Just like their Agricola app, Lords of The Waterdeep offers one of the richest boardgame experiences found on iOS, and is perfect for kids ten and up who’ve mastered games like Settlers of Catan or are starting to get into Dungeon and Dragons.
The game’s mechanics draw heavily from the worker placement/resource management theme found in Agricola or Puerto Rico. As a lord of Waterdeep, you must recruit adventurers and accumulate gold to complete quests for victory points. With warriors, wizards, rogues and clericss by your side, you’ll tackle an array of different quests for a total of eight rounds. Each quest is broken up into a different type; piety, arcana, warfare, skullduggery, and commerce. Each player is assigned a secret Lord which grants a unique bonus at the end of the game based on the types of quests you complete. Your lord is assigned three agents who are tasked with recruiting adventurers, constructing buildings, selecting a quest and playing/acquiring intrigue cards. You get to use one agent per turn until the round ends with no players having any remaining unused agents. On the fourth round, players receive an additional agent for the remainder of the game adding another aspect to your overall strategy.
Each location or building in the game allows you to require a certain resource. I really love how you can use gold to buy a building, thus adding it to the game for all the players to place an agent on. Fortunately, as the owner of the building you will acquire a tax (if you will) when someone places an agent on it. Winning is achieved by the player with the most victory points after the completion of round eight. Each quest widely varies in terms of victory points, so don’t get too comfortable if you are only 20-30 points in the lead in earlier rounds. I won a game in the final round by completing a 20 point quest. Quests can give other rewards as well, so you’ll have to think about the long term before committing to completing one. Some of these concepts might make this game a bit too complicated for children who have zero experience with hobby games, but I think Waterdeep is a great intro to the worker management mechanic.
Rest assured, the app can be played offline in multiplayer mode with up to five players as well as online. The tutorial is absolutely excellent and I felt everything was thoroughly explained to me in less than twenty minutes. I highly recommend this app with its high replayability for family game night, especially if you all love fantasy type settings. I know I’ll continue to play Lords of the Waterdeep for quite some time, and you can purchase Lords of Waterdeep at the iOS App Store.
If you are interested in watching a complete demo of the traditional board game then check out Wil Wheaton and friends’ below.