There’s always that one board game that was responsible for pulling us into the hobby we love. For some people that might be Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, or even Monopoly. For me (Ina), it was Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep.
But how does Lords of Waterdeep compare to the classics? Why do I think it’s a must-have in any board game collection? Enough questions! Time for answers!
How easy is it to learn Lords of Waterdeep?
Dungeons & Dragons usually has you create a character and go on epic adventures to become the ultimate hero, grabbing as much loot as you can along the way. But in Lords of Waterdeep, things are a bit different. Here, you step into the shoes of the secretive lords who run the City of Splendors. Instead of being the hero, you’re the one handing out quests! You round up a crew of rogues, warriors, clerics, and mages to tackle these quests around Waterdeep and rake in the profits for your own grand schemes.
Lords of Waterdeep is a competitive worker-placement game that requires planning ahead, strategy, and a bit of luck. You take turns with assigning your agents in different locations in Waterdeep to fulfill your tasks – pick up a quest, recruit heroes, or even sabotage your competition. The game can be played from 2 to 5 players, but it truly shines with 3 to 4.
One of the best features in Lords of Waterdeep is the quick and simple playtime. Setup is very quick, averaging just 10 minutes of setup time thanks to the handy box insert and quick setup guide. Lords of Waterdeep has a set amount of turns to play and it scales very well with the number of players, so the game length doesn’t vary a lot. Once you have played the game once or twice your games will take about an hour or so, making it easy to fit into a mixed game night with other games (or spend all evening playing multiple games of Lords of Waterdeep).
The production quality of the game pieces that you play with is fantastic. The rogues, wizards, warriors and clerics are all represented by differently coloured light-weight wooden cubes, and you can get awesome little custom D&D meeples if you’re not a fan of cubes! The quests and intrigue cards are made of a plastic-like material which gives them a long lifespan. The tokens and the buildings are made from more standard sturdy cardboard and paper, but since they see limited play and are not a lot to shuffle they will last for a long time. Overall, Lords of Waterdeep has great quality of game pieces that makes the game last longer even after extensive amounts of play.
How much does Lords of Waterdeep cost? Is it worth the price?
Lords of Waterdeep typically costs around £49.99 ($49.99) and it’s worth every penny. Considering full price it’s worth, check out our affiliate Zatu who has a great bargain for the game. The game quality is good, there is tons of replayability, with extremely slick and intelligent game design that has kept me coming back to it year after year. Lords of Waterdeep is fun to play with both friends and family, and is one of the few games that has expansions that allow it to expand to 6 players without being a shallow party game. Strategy is core for Lords of Waterdeep, but there is an acceptable level of luck involved, which gives new players a chance when playing at the same tables as experienced ones while still being fun and rewarding strategic plays.
Lords of Waterdeep on iPad and Steam
Lords of Waterdeep also has a digital version of the game. It was first released for mobile and tablet devices, but later it was moved to Steam. It costs £7.19 (£10.57 for the game and all expansions), which is less than a 5th of the board game price. However, the experience is not even close to the tabletop one. The interface is clunky, old, and very badly optimised. I would say the digital version of Lords of Waterdeep is good only if your friends are busy and you want to play against AI. Surprisingly for robotic lords, the AI is good at making intelligent gameplay decisions, making AI opponents a fun challenge.
Lords of Waterdeep is a must-have in any collection. It’s a great game to get people interested in the board games hobby and show them that there are better games than Monopoly, that are competitive, simple, and strategically engaging, all without sparking family feuds. Lords of Waterdeep is a great gift for Dungeons & Dragons fans, and perfect for family board game night. I strongly recommend getting it while it’s still in print as it’ll provide you with countless hours of strategic fun.
All that being said, while I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Lords of Waterdeep, it’s only fair to mention a few areas where it might not hit the mark for everyone. For those who relish more strategic complexity and depth in their board games, Lords of Waterdeep could feel a bit on the lighter side. It’s wonderfully strategic, but the element of luck does play a role, which could be a put-off for the hardcore strategists. For example, if you’re a fan of a game like Frostpunk, which offers multi-layered strategy, brutal setbacks and difficult decision-making, you might find Lords of Waterdeep a little too friendly to play. Also, while the D&D theme is brilliantly integrated, those who aren’t fans of the franchise might find it less appealing, so that’s worth bearing in mind.
What games are similar to Lords of Waterdeep? Who might enjoy it?
- People who enjoyed games like Ticket to Ride and Catan, will also enjoy Lords of Waterdeep.
- If you enjoy the strategy elements of Lords of Waterdeep, try Pandemic.
- For a more challenging worker-placement strategy game, pick up Frostpunk or Scythe.
- Dungeon Petz shares a lot of Lords of Waterdeep‘s mechanics, but lacks it’s simplicity, and its intelligent design.