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Subject: Lords Of Waterdeep review: Deja Vu in a a box rss

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Ken Rothstein
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Hi, here is a review and I hope it helps people.

When Puerto Rico came around and all of a sudden a new breed of gaming was born leaving the games of Avalon Hill and the like as nothing but a fond memory it was exciting to see all these new games coming left and right. No more dice, no more dollar bills, my actions would indirectly impact yours and my choices would limit your choices. It was fun. From there euro style games came out one after the other relentlessly and Caylus was born.

Caylus was a great game, the father maybe of Worker Placement from which games like Agricola owe everything to. It was elegant, simple to understand and you went around placing your pieces to get resources to build buildings which might facilitate more resources that allow you to build another building and on and on it goes. The brown cubes in games like these are typically wood. The black cubes in games like these might be called stone. If you had a white cube in your game (as in Stone Age) it might be sand (as it is in Pillars Of The Earth). Game after game seeking out sand and clay to build a building that got you more sand and clay so you could maybe play a card that got you a power to do something else or perhaps an end of game victory point bonus.

And then Fresco came along and simplified it to its basic elements: Get blue and yellow cubes so you can make green cubes. Take those green cubes to the middle and as a change of pace instead of buying a building you paint a ceiling in a cathedral. Same basic idea, different theme.

But what happens when even that gets mundane? Take the the same idea and instead of white cubes being sand or ivory, we'll call them priests and black cubes maybe they can be called warriors or thieves. And instead of building a building or painting a ceiling, you will take these cubes and form the exact same recipes you formed in all those other games only now they will be going on an adventure for victory points.

The board is nice, the pieces are nice, the theme is different and therefore entertaining, and you can be entertained placing your pawns down recruiting wizards and warriors and getting special cards that reward you for recruiting wizards and warriors. But there is no urgent need to buy this game because I played this game many times before only the names have been changed. Why play this and not Caylus? They're the same game basically. This game is not great or terrible. If you enjoy worker placement and happen to be tired of clay, stone and wood, then knock yourself out with warriors, wizards and rogues but a rose by any other name is still the same old rose.
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Mikko Karvonen
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KenNYC wrote:
Why play this and not Caylus? They're the same game basically.


Because this is more fun, plays faster and is easier to teach and approach to the new players than Caylus?

Also, with moving and changing targets from the lords and quests, immediate and guaranteed rewards, free order in which to do things, intrigue cards to mix things up, completely different game structure and more, the similarities Lords of Waterdeep has with Caylus seem rather superficial.
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Alessandro Maggi
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Gargoyle wrote:
KenNYC wrote:
Why play this and not Caylus? They're the same game basically.

Because this is more fun, plays faster and is easier to teach and approach to the new players than Caylus?

I guess the "fun" factor depends on the taste, and while it surely is easier to teach and approach I don't think it necessarily "plays" faster although a game of LoW is surely shorter.

I think the biggest merit of LoW is fitting the bill for much more groups and timeslots than Caylus or any other worker placement game. Personally I'd rather play one game of Caylus instead of a couple of games of LoW, but I guess things may change with more plays.
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Arthur Rutyna
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I agree with the OP for the most part.

Finally got a chance to try this much hyped game. Well, bottom line is that it's a nice medium weight worker placement game along the lines of Stone Age. I understand the Caylus lite comments, and agree with them. It plays quickly, has more interaction than Stone Age, with a Fantasy theme that may appeal to some and turn others off.

I'm not familiar with this D&D theme, so the theme does nothing for me. Stone Age or this title, makes no difference to me. I did enjoy the player interaction portions of the game, but prefer the player confrontation in Carson City.

Personally, I enjoyed the game and would be willing to play again. However, I'm not looking to own this title since I already own plenty of other worker placement games with and without direct confrontation (i.e. Dungeon Lords, Caylus, Stone Age, Pillars of the Earth, Carson City, Age of Empires 3, Egizia, Tribune...).

I would recommend this game for folks that want a quick playing medium-light worker placement game with some light player interaction, and are OK with a fantasty theme.

If you have some of the game titles I listed above, I don't know that you really need this game. I don't.
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Kostas K.
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ZephonSoul wrote:
Personally I'd rather play one game of Caylus instead of a couple of games of LoW, but I guess things may change with more plays.


Are Caylus and LoW the only boardgames in existence? In my opinion the dilemma should be "one session of Caylus vs one session of LoW and one session of any other game of preference that takes about an hour". Then we could have a clear winner.
 
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Alessandro Maggi
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kostool13 wrote:
ZephonSoul wrote:
Personally I'd rather play one game of Caylus instead of a couple of games of LoW, but I guess things may change with more plays.


Are Caylus and LoW the only boardgames in existence? In my opinion the dilemma should be "one session of Caylus vs one session of LoW and one session of any other game of preference that takes about an hour". Then we could have a clear winner.

That was the comparison, and that was thus my answer. However your statement makes me think of another aspect to LoW: it's quick nature makes it resemble more something like "a filler" in my mind when deciding which games to play during an evening. If you think that playing LoW plus another game is better than playing a single bigger game, then it's either because you feel LoW is more of a filler as well or you just prefer to have more variety during a session (or you basically don't like Caylus/thebiggergame, which is understandable).
Again, I was in the same boat preferring two shorter games instead of a big one, but after playing some games that really clicked with me, I'd never switch back to a whole evening of 30'-1h games (call me weird, but I'd still pick up Caylus instead of LoW plus any other game... right now that is, and only if I already had a spare 45' for a warm-up card game , otherwise I'd agree that having a single game for a whole session isn't much desirable unless you get to play very often with the same group).
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Kevin B. Smith
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I think LoW is closer to Caylus Magna Carta than it is to Caylus. But LoW does have a fresher theme, and it's much easier to teach. LoW is also less of a brain-burn, partly because you get your goodies immediately instead of having to plan out the execution sequence of the road.

Although the building mechanic is very similar, I find the feel of LoW to be very different from CMC. They are not the same game at all. And LoW is even farther from Caylus, with its favor tracks.

I can certainly understand that some people prefer the full weight of Caylus. And personally, my favorite of the three is CMC. But I can also see why some people prefer LoW. You might not need all 3 in your collection, but each provides a different experience, so it's worth trying all 3 to see which one ends up being your favorite. Or perhaps as importantly, which one you can actually get to the table on a regular basis.
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Chris Wood
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I've reduced my worker placement games down to 3 games: LofW, Carson City, and Stone Age. Because of the relatively low amount of worker placement games i have, I think LofW fills a niche that CC and SA do not in my collection. However, if you have more than 3 worker placement games already, then LofW may not be the best purchasing option.
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Ted Magdzinski
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This review (and the comments) help me decide if I want this or not. I'm quite tempted and my only exposure to Caylus is the iPad app, which I enjoy, but don't play enough.

I think something lighter will be easier for me to get it to the table with those I regularly play with.
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Ken Rothstein
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Then I don't think you can go wrong with this then. You will get the enjoyment of a worker placement game, a nice looking game, a different theme from the usual board game. This game is good for people who have not played many worker placement games.
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Ian Noble
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KenNYC wrote:
This game is good for people who have not played many worker placement games.


Definitely disagree with this statement! I've played many, many worker placement games and this ranks right up there with the best of them.
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Matt N

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I think the targeted negative interaction in this game is much more annoying than the negative interaction in Caylus. The player interaction in Caylus is much more controllable, and getting arbitrarily nuked by a mandatory quest is relatively painful.

I'd probably like Lords of Waterdeep more with three players as opposed to the five players in my only game.
 
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Kiren Maelwulf
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ianoble wrote:
KenNYC wrote:
This game is good for people who have not played many worker placement games.


Definitely disagree with this statement! I've played many, many worker placement games and this ranks right up there with the best of them.


Yep, introduced this to a group of players that have played Caylus, Stone Age, and Agricola, and by the end of the game everyone was in agreement that LoW was the most fun they had had playing a worker placement game. Considering how picky the people I play with are about anything I introduce to the table, I have to give extra credit to any game that manages to grab their attention.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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KenNYC wrote:
When Puerto Rico came around and all of a sudden a new breed of gaming was born leaving the games of Avalon Hill and the like as nothing but a fond memory it was exciting to see all these new games coming left and right. No more dice...

That was a great intro, because it told me exactly where you're coming from. Reading that, I understand that we are diametrically opposed in our tastes, and if I hadn't already played LoW and formed my own opinion, I could have dismissed the rest of the review as not applicable to a person with my preferences.

Don't take that as being antagonistic, because it's not. We're all different, and different things light us up. Personally, I played Puerto Rico exactly one time. I did think it was clever - I even bought a copy, thinking I might try it with the family at some point. But all those games with the dice are so much more interesting to me that Puerto Rico has never made it off the shelf for its second play. (I really ought to trade it - anybody want to trade me a game that has some of those nasty dice in it?).
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Tomas Riha
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Id rather be The lord in LoW then work for the king in Caylus.

May be small difference but enough for me. To me Caylus experienc is stressfull work. LoW is laid back fun.
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Patrick Riley
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Stunna wrote:
... getting arbitrarily nuked by a mandatory quest is relatively painful.


Really? In my one and only game, I was hit by 2 mandatory quests that I overcame easily. I was the only player to receive them (I guess I gave the impression I was winning, though I wasn't). I ended up losing the game in part because I simply didn't complete enough quests (each of my opponents had a 25-pointer, while I did not), but I can't blame the mandatory quests as they didn't get in my way.
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Kevin Garnica
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Sphere wrote:
Puerto Rico (I really ought to trade it - anybody want to trade me a game that has some of those nasty dice in it?).


You serious? Browse my collection and say something. Maybe, maybe...
 
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Fippy Darkpaw
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Yeah our group usually plays 4-5 player games. Both Agricola and Caylus take a long time compared to this. They both also have a lot of superfluous mechanics. LoW distills the essence of both into a faster playing package with the added bonus of additional player interaction.

I like both Agricola and Caylus, but for similar reasons I like Puerto Rico better than both. It has a leaner and more elegant rule set.
 
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Keith Thomasson
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ianoble wrote:
KenNYC wrote:
This game is good for people who have not played many worker placement games.


Definitely disagree with this statement! I've played many, many worker placement games and this ranks right up there with the best of them.


He didn't say it was bad for people who had played worker placement games, just that it was good for people who had not - which I agree with. Easier to teach and pick up than many of the others. Introduced it to a group yesterday morning who would have gone blank shortly after starting to learn Caylus. They loved it.
 
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