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Subject: Found TtR a little dry, any hope for LoW? rss

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Matt Halowell

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I really enjoy Carcassonne and Takenoko, and am working on getting a feel for my next few games to buy from CoolStuff.

I want to add another Euro-game to the list, and have been interested in Lords of Waterdeep because it just sounds/looks cooler than a lot of other euro-games.

However I've read that a decent amount of people find it dry. The "fun-factor" is very important to me (more-so than deep strategy).
I was wondering if LoW is one I should pass up or not.
I'm wondering that because I find Ticket to Ride rather dry, and lacking in the fun department. When playing it I'm just focused on my routes and no one really talks or laughs during the game.

Is LoW similar in this way to TtR?
Or is it worth checking out?

Thanks!
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Mark Wilson
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There are no guarantees. But you should be fine. Despite owning both, I only use Ticket to introduce to newer gamers. For my gf and I, it's a bit dry as well. But we both love Waterdeep, and imo there's a lot more strategy involved with it. Yes, it's considered a gateway game, and it functions well in that capacity. But there's more to it to keep gamers coming back, both in terms of fun and depth. At least in my experience.
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I think most of the people who say it is "dry" are commenting more on the fact it is branded as a AD&D game but there is very little D or D in it. It is essentially a worker placement w/ a AD&D wrapper. There is a little more interaction than TtR since there are some cards that'll force interacting w/ other players. Also unlike TtR where once a route has been taken for the rest of the game, here each turn you have to consider what the other players are going to be doing and try to figure out when best to take a certain spot. Also, I haven't played it but it my understanding the expansion may do more of this as well. Bottom line though you are still working your own game and it can become a group solitaire. I found it to be enjoyable the first few times I played it, but after awhile really didn't feel the need to play it any more.

If you have an iPad/iPhone there is a digital version you can try before sinking the money into the actual game.
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Mark Wilson
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Heh. I like how our first two replies were polar opposites. But I agree with f h that's it's great to try before you buy (when you can) though I worry that the app version won't really address OP's worry, since it won't be around a table with friends.

The last few games I've played of it, though, have been very contentious with plenty of interaction. Some of it is who you play with, though, because LOTS of Euros have the potential to feel like multi player solitaire, including Waterdeep.
 
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Valencia Victorious Von Verrata is the
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It sounds like you enjoy pick up and deliver games/tile placement games?
 
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Shannon Carroll
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hard to say, but fwiw I can't get anyone to play TtR with me anymore (ended up getting the pc version so I could still play but I would prefer to play irl, ah well) but have no trouble finding people to play LoW with -it can still seem pretty dry I think, there's not a whole lot of player interaction as has been mentioned besides getting in others' way, however turns go pretty quick and there's enough tension and choices for those that just play it straight as trading in resources for other resources to score victory points to stay engaged while also still offering enough to give a story for those of us that want to have some theme to our games. A couple of my 'kids' (18&20) have named all the agents and given them distinct personalities so we have lots of stories about why they are visiting the various locations and we always read all the flavor text and offer in more fitting details to the specific situation so that's lots of fun for us, but I can definitely see where it might be boring and very dry for others (I need three black cubes and an orange cube to get 8 vps but if I go to this building that gives my opponent 2vps and leaves an opening for them to get another 10vps or I could take the 10vp card now myself that helps me with my bonus vps... etc, blech)
 
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Justin R
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TtR and LoW are very different games, so it's not obvious to me what you find dry about TtR, and less still whether that would sentiment would persist with LoW.

I think there are excellent worker placement games that are not drastically more complicated than LoW. Viticulture, for example. People also love The Manhattan Project.

When researching a potential purchase, I always check to see if there are gameplay videos available on youtube. Wil Wheaton ran LoW on his show once. You should check that out.
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Mauricio Montoya
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While it's still an entry-level boardgame Takenoko is both highly thematic, and has more than a couple of elements to manage when you play. Maybe your players found TtR dry because it has a simpler gameplay, because there is almost no interaction with other players, or just because they don't like the theme.

Not every player has to like all Euros, and finding the ones you like despite the ratings is part of the hobby. I love worker placement games and yet have some ones that I cannot stand despite having good reviews, either because they are way too simple for what I normally play now, or because the theme doesn't click with me.

For the "fun factor" definitely start with the theme. If some of your players cannot stand the fantasy setting, Lords of Waterdeep might not be the best option despite having almost zero to do with D&D (the theme is absolutely pasted on) because your players will probably go in expecting not to like due to the elves in the cover, and that's if they try it at all. Do they like cavemen or tribal settings? medieval history? steampunk? historic industrial revolution? sci fi? farming (ugh)? Fortunately there are a lot games with many different mechanics in all those settings (but we need more american-western based games, definitely).

Then, after you have decided what kind of themes your playgroup would like, choose based on the mechanic(s) present in the game (worker placement, deckbuilding, dice rolling, etc) and then some help from the ratings here. Also take into account if they like games where you attack and screw the plans of other players, the ones where everyone is playing their own little solitarie game, or even it they want a co-op. Then maybe pick up a small, light and luckdriven game with a lot of dice rolling for those times when you don't like to burn your brain, and something with a little more complexity than "put-meeple-here and score points" for heavier sessions.

While I find it very relaxing to replay my first games and I'm up to almost any game with the right group, some players just don't feel it when they go back and play something like Lords of Waterdeep after having played (and won) more complex games like Agricola or Tzolkin. So adjust and refine your choice as your group tries and likes other titles (and sell or trade the ones they don't like, it doesn't always mean that it's a bad one, somebody else will give it a good home).

Now, these are some games that worked well with my group just when Takenoko became a little too easy (but we still play it from time to time):

Pillars of the Earth, worker placement and buiding an engine (of artisans) to convert the materials into victory points, beautiful art.

World Without End, spiritual sequel to the above one, it's action selection (you have 12 action cards, but have to play 6 and discard 6, plan well) with a lot of chaos thrown in by a set of event cards, because life in the middle ages was crappy. One of our most played games.

Dominion, deckbuilding, you start with a few cards, you play them in combinations to buy more cards and make better combinations down the line to win the game and screw your opponents (it's not a collectible card game, it all comes in one box). Very fun.

Lewis & Clark, just got this one a few weeks ago, very nice and fun racing game using card combinations instead of dice to advance your pieces, but you have to collect and convert resources to make them go onward, and recruit better cards to make their advancement easier. Combines deckbuilding with worker placement. Probably a bit more advanced that what you're looking for, but keep it in mind because so far we like it a lot.

Stone Age, basic worker placement game but a bit more complex than Waterdeep. Excellent candidate if the fantasy setting, the sterile cubes and the bland map of the city turn you off. As a nice touch, comes with a rustic-looking real leather dice cup that smells like the devil's armpit after a few games
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Alison Mandible
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Lords Of Waterdeep is a game about cubes. Get cubes. Give cubes back for points. Sometimes cubes give you other cubes.

If you like cubes, it might be the game for you.

If you like the look of "fantasy theme, Euro gameplay", there are games I think are more fun (like Venture Forth or Dungeon Petz). But I know a lot of people think Waterdeep is the bee's knees. I just personally felt like the first 20 minutes was medium fun but then I was eating the same bowl of oatmeal for another hour before it was over.

Well, hm, Venture Forth also outstayed its welcome. But I thought it did the "fantasy themed Euro" bit much more interestingly. (Dungeon Petz is stellar but could be a little bit of a brain-breaker compared to Carcassonne.)
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Bane Batman
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I think ticket to ride is uber boring. I would honestly play monopoly and clue over it. There is no excitement to me in the game. I dont get how anyone enjoys it but thats obvipusly my opinion
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Kyle
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bane9631 wrote:
I think ticket to ride is uber boring. I would honestly play monopoly and clue over it. There is no excitement to me in the game. I dont get how anyone enjoys it but thats obvipusly my opinion


I'm of the same vein but I would be hesitant to recommend Lords of Waterdeep either. I know it is often toted as a gateway worker placement, but it really is the friendliest, most balanced overall worker placement there is. Can't take that cube set, well just grab this one. Very tame, is what I am getting at. I also feel that drawing high point quests outweighs playing to your hidden role. SO the draw can be a factor.

For the elements of worker placement at a gateway level, I would suggest looking into Kingsburg, you workers are not deterministic, but dice which you must place to your greatest advantage (and maybe block someone else in the process). A lot more interesting, to me, with or without the expansion (the expansion is pretty much a box of flavour modules, which are quite entertaining).

I entered the Worker placement world with Agricola though, so your mileage may vary. All hail the king.
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Russell Martin
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I have found Lords of Waterdeep to be tedious. It's not particularly bad, but it's also not particularly good either. As pointed out already, it's basically get cubes, give back cubes for points, etc. There's nothing that I find really exciting about strategy, and the luck of the draw can be critical to find the right quests.

Also, instead of Kingsburg, maybe you want to check out Kingsport Festival. It's a re-skin of Kingsburg with a Lovecraftian theme. I haven't played Kingsport Festival, but it seems to be enjoyed by others I know who have played it. Kingsburg I find a little lacking in gaming satisfaction. If your dice suck, well, that's not a whole lot you can do about it. soblue I think Kingsport Festival offers more options to help mitigate dismal dice rolling (but as I said, I haven't played it myself so check it out).
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Matt Brown
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mhalowel wrote:
The "fun-factor" is very important to me (more-so than deep strategy).


And in Abracada...What?. This will be my family game of the year unless something else comes out that can top it.

There is theme in LoW if you go looking for it. I'm not super fond of the mandatory quests as I am the default target, but you can sub them out once you get the expansion.
 
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dark angel
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darthain wrote:
bane9631 wrote:
I think ticket to ride is uber boring. I would honestly play monopoly and clue over it. There is no excitement to me in the game. I dont get how anyone enjoys it but thats obvipusly my opinion


I'm of the same vein but I would be hesitant to recommend Lords of Waterdeep either. I know it is often toted as a gateway worker placement, but it really is the friendliest, most balanced overall worker placement there is. Can't take that cube set, well just grab this one. Very tame, is what I am getting at. I also feel that drawing high point quests outweighs playing to your hidden role. SO the draw can be a factor.

For the elements of worker placement at a gateway level, I would suggest looking into Kingsburg, you workers are not deterministic, but dice which you must place to your greatest advantage (and maybe block someone else in the process). A lot more interesting, to me, with or without the expansion (the expansion is pretty much a box of flavour modules, which are quite entertaining).

I entered the Worker placement world with Agricola though, so your mileage may vary. All hail the king.


Plus one for Kingsburg. Great choices, not too far from Gateway and the game improves with its gentle learning curve...
 
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Daniel C
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Yedo has a bit more to the game over LoW, they're both virtually the same game, workers cube placement.
 
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Matt Halowell

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Thanks for all of the suggestions + insight you guys!
That makes the decision easier, and I'm thinking I will probably pass on Lords of Waterdeep, but will consider some of the others that were suggested.
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Shannon Carroll
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personally I found Kingsburg to be one of the dryest most boring games I've ever played -and I love abstracts! It goes on forever for what it is, you just keep doing the same thing over and over and over and over again and nothing ever changes, at least with LoW there are the quests and intrigue cards and different buildings so there's some changes to the board. Even TtR feels much more exciting by comparison, not to mention it's faster. I'll play anything, I pretty much love all the games besides Fluxx, and even games I'm less excited about I can still manage to have fun with, but this is the one game where I am just bored all the way through and so far everyone I have played it with has felt the same -even those that thought it seemed interesting at first got over it less than half way through because the turns are so repetitious and it just keeps going on for so long.
 
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My son and I used to love playing LOW. It was our first euro game. It is easy to learn, fun to play and has some interactions between players (through the Intrigue cards) and the illustrations on the cards and board gave enough theme for us at that time.

After one year and several games later, we rarely play LOW. My son thinks the game is too easy and he is no longer charmed by the theme. Now, we play mostly The Voyage of Marco Polo and Dungeon Petz.

Dungeon Petz is the better game, in my opinion, but Marco Polo is easier to play, especially for newer players. Marco Polo is the next step from LOW, and Dungeon Petz is the step after Marco Polo.

Compared to LOW, Marco Polo requires more thinking and planning. It also has stronger theme (instead of cubes, there are camel meeples, silk meeples, pepper meeples and gold meeples).
 
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mhalowel wrote:
Is LoW similar in this way to TtR?
Or is it worth checking out?

No idea as I don't find TTR any less or more thematic or dry than carcassonne. Or Takenoko for that matter. Actually I find TTR the most thematic of these three (because: dramatugical arch of the entire game).

I found LoW to be the must fun workerplacement of them all. Because it's light, accessible and the cards bring a lot of variety (kinda reminds me on TTR). Theme is there, but it's not really deep or anything (Yedo has a bit more, it's also 2-3 times as long).

Quote:
When playing it I'm just focused on my routes and no one really talks or laughs during the game.

And they do in Takenoko? Weird. Must be the panda.

Anyhow if this is the issue, maybe check more interactive games. Trading (Gohnanza, Chinatown), Area control/majority (El Grande, Small World), interactive fillers (King of Tokyo, Kakerlakenpoker, Dor Sale), and so on.
 
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Carrollz wrote:
personally I found Kingsburg to be one of the dryest most boring games I've ever played -and I love abstracts! It goes on forever for what it is, you just keep doing the same thing over and over and over and over again and nothing ever changes, at least with LoW there are the quests and intrigue cards and different buildings so there's some changes to the board. Even TtR feels much more exciting by comparison, not to mention it's faster. I'll play anything, I pretty much love all the games besides Fluxx, and even games I'm less excited about I can still manage to have fun with, but this is the one game where I am just bored all the way through and so far everyone I have played it with has felt the same -even those that thought it seemed interesting at first got over it less than half way through because the turns are so repetitious and it just keeps going on for so long.


Forever? It is a 15-20 minute per player game. Hell, my wife and I can play an entire game in 20.

To address a previous comment about rolling poorly, really isn't much of an issue in that one as long as you use your dice well, rolling higher alone will not give you the victory.
 
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Shannon Carroll
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darthain wrote:
Carrollz wrote:
It goes on forever for what it is


Forever? It is a 15-20 minute per player game. Hell, my wife and I can play an entire game in 20.


Forever for what it is -although getting it down to 15 minutes per player and even faster finishing a game in 20 sounds incredible, that might actually be interesting and fun to watch! I haven't played a game that took less than an hour myself- it's really more about how it feels than the actual amount of time as measured by the clock though -last week I had to pick something up at the post office and while I'm sure it probably took even less time than it takes you and your wife to play Kingsburg it sure felt like forever, heh. No matter how quickly some might be able to get through it though it just feels interminable to me and those I've played it with because you are doing the same thing over and over with nothing changing, maybe if there were just 4, 5, 6???, fewer cycles of roll dice, place dice, collect resources, trade resources to mark buildings it would've felt more bearable but as it was for me w/o anything new being introduced any round it got very boring, very quickly and then kept going, forever (as a subjective perception of course), after that. I just wanted the OP to be aware this game can seem even more boring and dry than TtR to some -I know I was really surprised myself after having read so many people enjoyed it here. I'd still play it if asked, but then I will also willingly play War and Risk and even Monopoly, so...
 
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mhalowel wrote:
I want to add another Euro-game to the list, and have been interested in Lords of Waterdeep because it just sounds/looks cooler than a lot of other euro-games.

Looks can be deceiving.

Quote:
However I've read that a decent amount of people find it dry. The "fun-factor" is very important to me (more-so than deep strategy).

I find it pretty dry, but I don't mind dryness per se. It is disappointing for the game to have a thin veneer of such an epic theme but have the theme integrate so poorly into the game, but I still enjoy playing it. It's not my first choice of worker placement games but I have fun with it.

Quote:
I was wondering if LoW is one I should pass up or not.
I'm wondering that because I find Ticket to Ride rather dry, and lacking in the fun department. When playing it I'm just focused on my routes and no one really talks or laughs during the game.

I think that depends more on the group you play with. I play TtR with my in-laws and it's always a hoot. We're always ragging on each other about how many cards we're hoarding instead of completing routes, threatening to block routes we think other players need, etc. And TtR isn't even that high up my list of favorite games, but I always have fun when playing with that group.

Quote:
Is LoW similar in this way to TtR?
Or is it worth checking out?

Tough to say, but if it were me I'd say if TtR bores you then don't bother with LoW either.

Here are some I'd look at instead. Not sure if all of these are strictly Euro but they're mostly Euro-ish and definitely fun IMO. Nobody's going to play head-down in their own world in these games:

Alien Frontiers - lots of blocking and messing with other players.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork - need to be a Terry Pratchett fan to get the most out of this, but if you are then the theme really shines through in the characters and their corresponding card abilities.

Euphoria - how could building the best dystopian society not be fun? Lots of humor and theme galore.

Evolution - build crazy, outlandish species. Carnivores eat other players' creatures or even your own if desperate!

Survive: Escape from Atlantis - each player ends his/her turn by rolling the monster die to determine which monster to move and hopefully devour other players' meeples. Escape from the sinking Atlantis before it's gone and avoid the gauntlet of hungry sea creatures trying to eat your meeples. Seriously cutthroat and can ruin relationships with people who aren't good sports.

Some of those games are heavier than others. Didn't know if you had a particular weight in mind so I just went with "fun". If you're looking for raucous fun you should look into some social deduction games like One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Good Cop Bad Cop.
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Jeff Hohner
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I actually find LoW drier than TtR!

For my group both games play in that solitary euro fashion of quietly crafting ones plans until another player cuts off your route or claims the quest/building you need. As others have said, LoW appears to have flavour but in the playing all that melts away. It is a cube fest, pure and simple. We play TtR very competitively and I find it's got layers that make it richer than LoW.

(TtR is subtle and can be ruthless with ruthless competitors. I find it's about timing, building fully but not so quickly as to tip your hand, keeping pace with others in your building and set collection, hoarding cards to increase your build options without falling behind in building, drawing extra tickets to mine points without undoing yourself, controlling the game clock, etc. Sorry to digress, but I love TtR.blush)

If you find TtR dry, you'll probably feel the same way about LoW.

If you prioritize fun over strategy check out highly interactive games like King of Tokyo, Evolution or Deep Sea Adventure. These games tend to be shorter but that's OK because they require lots of rematches! Evolution in particular might work for you because it's thinky like a Euro-game but super fun.
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