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Subject: Lords of Waterdeep, it's not heavy, it's not light....what is it? rss

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I see a lot of fighting going on over how to categorize Lords of Waterdeep. Is it a Caylus ripoff? Not really, it's a good deal lighter than that. Is it like Stone Age? Not really, it's heavier and less luck-based than that. So maybe Caylus-light? Kinda, sorta, but that is a bit vague. Lets examine the game:

Components
Mostly, this game is very well-done components-wise. The board looks nice and is extremely functional. The buildings are nice and thick and there are player markers for when you purchase a building which actually have a notch cut out of every building to slide your marker into perfectly. The money chits are very well-made and the player boards to hold everything serve their purpose well. The cards are good quality, the art is good, and everything is fairly self-explanatory. This game is set up in a way where it's not going to take very long to explain to most gamers (and probably many non-gamers).

The box is wonderful, the art is good, and the cutout for the box is VERY well-made, where every piece fits perfectly where it should go and is very easy to remove.

My only complaint, and you've heard this one before from me, are the wooden components. I don't care how many times someone tells me a colored cube = a certain resource, my mind just remembers it as a colored cube. The pawns to their job (as your workers) but are also completely abstracted from the theme.

The most telling way I can point this out is to check out Tom Vasel's review of the game: http://boardgamegeek.com/video/15623/lords-of-waterdeep/dice... . Notice how many times he refers to cubes as their colors, then tries to correct himself or stumbles over what a cube represents.

This game would benefit greatly from some kind of meeples or plastic tokens which actually look like Wizards, Rogues, Warriors, etc.

Theme
You get quest cards which have a title, type, a picture, and what types of heroes are required to complete the quest. You place pawns to collect (recruit?) the colored cubes (types of heroes) to complete those quests, and then complete the quest by turning in the cubes.

From all that, you can certainly work to make stories around the quests to really make them feel like they make sense. And then of course since you send the heroes off to complete a quest and they never return, I can only assume that every quest is a suicide mission.

Every piece has a good deal of theme, but the total is less than the sum of its' parts. Every game I've played has VERY quickly devolved into trading colored cubes for points, and the only other pieces of info read on a quest card are the type of quest (so you know if you're getting a bonus at the end of the game) and if it's a plot quest (which stays out after completion and gives an additional bonus).

Player Interaction
At the beginning of the game, every player is given a character which at the end of the game, gives points for accomplishing certain things (generally, for completion of every one of two types of quests). Every one is different, so every player is trying to complete different quests for bonus points. Sure, there might be some small overlap, but there isn't a ton of competition for each type of quest. And while the types every player is going for is technically hidden, it's pretty obvious when people keep taking the same types of quests over and over.

So given that, competition for quests is pretty much out. And each type of quest generally focuses on needing a certain resource to complete, so competition for types of resources is lower (as compared to most worker placement games, where there's certain resources which are needed for everyone no matter what). There's certainly some overlap, but not as much as many others.

So what it comes down to is competition for a few spots: the places to get quests, the place to build a building, and the place to play Intrigue cards (which generally do some combo of helping the player and helping/hurting others in the process). Otherwise, everyone is just going for the resources they need.

The biggest form of player interaction are the Intrigue cards themselves. You generally get them from taking the Starting player token and taking a quest in a certain spot. They fall into a few categories:

-Helps me, hurts everyone else
-Helps me a lot, helps others a little
-Opportunity for everyone to give me something for some help
-Completely screw one player over

Seems like that last one stands out a bit, huh? There are "mandatory quests" mixed into the pile of Intrigue cards and when you play one, you play it on one person. Before that person completes any other quests, they must complete that one. And the ratio of points scored to resources used for that quest is horrible. Also, given the fact that you can only complete one quest on each action and the fact that you are very limited on actions, and getting one of those thrown at you can be a huge setback. It's actually fairly rare that I have played a game of this where someone winning/losing can't be traced directly back to having one of these thrown at someone.

So overall, a decent amount of player interaction and a few random "take that!" actions thrown in. If that sounds like the level you like, this is for you.

Conclusion
So what does all that give us? A medium-weight worker placement game. If someone has enjoyed Stone Age, this is a nice step up from there, but I don't see this as a stopping point. Caylus, Agricola, and many others provide a much more in-depth experience, but of course at the cost of more complex rules and a much longer play-time (LoW runs about 1 hour).

So if you're looking to keep your gaming session more on the lighter side than what heavier worker placement games provide, this is a great middle ground. If you show newer players Stone Age and they like that, this is a great step up from there. Don't try to look at this game as more than it is, and you will be quite happy with the results.
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Tom Flatt
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Really enjoyed your review!! We have found that newcomers don't really need to "step up" from Stone Age; most everyone we have played with has been able to be relatively successful right from the get go regardless of their experience level!
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Fippy Darkpaw
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Yeah same with my boardgame group. The leaner mechanics and shorter play time compared to Caylus or Agricola make this one more popular. Not to mention the theme is a lot cooler than typical medieval peasant stuff, but thats debatable obviously.
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Tom55 wrote:
Really enjoyed your review!! We have found that newcomers don't really need to "step up" from Stone Age; most everyone we have played with has been able to be relatively successful right from the get go regardless of their experience level!


You're right on difficulty-level, but I find many newer gamers (esp American-born ones) respond better by still using dice for games, before weening them onto games which don't use dice.
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Tom Flatt
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sybrwookie wrote:
Tom55 wrote:
Really enjoyed your review!! We have found that newcomers don't really need to "step up" from Stone Age; most everyone we have played with has been able to be relatively successful right from the get go regardless of their experience level!


You're right on difficulty-level, but I find many newer gamers (esp American-born ones) respond better by still using dice for games, before weening them onto games which don't use dice.


I can certainly see the merits in using a dice based game although I have the disadvantage of not having a lot of gateway-type dice games. I've always had success with Ticket to Ride and Bausack!
 
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Jeff Kayati
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I just can't understand calling this a medium weight worker placement game. It's about as light as a game can get. This is a light, gateway game that is fine for what it is.
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Andrew Bird
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Different strokes and all that...

But still, just in case you two are dead on the money, I'd better go get some weights to attach to my copy of King of Tokyo, so it doesn't go shooting off into the stratosphere.
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Merric Blackman
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jkayati wrote:
I just can't understand calling this a medium weight worker placement game. It's about as light as a game can get.


You need to play LCR if you think this is as light as a game can get!

Actually, the most valid comparison I can think of is to Ticket to Ride. Both games provide guidance to new players as to how to play the game: with Ticket to Ride, you've got your tickets, with Lords of Waterdeep, you have your quests. They provide really great starting points for players to focus on.

The complexity of Ticket to Ride comes in the interaction between the available routes on the board and the available train cards: analysing which cards are best to take to get you the routes you need.

The complexity of Lords of Waterdeep might be at a slightly higher level: which building space to assign an agent to? Which building to build? Which quest to take? As the game proceeds, the game becomes more complex as more buildings are added to the board. (Compare to TTR, where the complexity decreases a little as routes are taken).

Cheers,
Merric
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sybrwookie wrote:
You're right on difficulty-level, but I find many newer gamers (esp American-born ones) respond better by still using dice for games, before weening them onto games which don't use dice.

Weening them? Sounds like you have delusions that the games you enjoy are objectively superior. Games that don't use dice aren't somehow more advanced, they're simply different. There are deeply strategic games with and without dice, and there are silly childish games with and without dice.
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Sphere wrote:
Weening them? Sounds like you have delusions that the games you enjoy are objectively superior. Games that don't use dice aren't somehow more advanced, they're simply different. There are deeply strategic games with and without dice, and there are silly childish games with and without dice.


And you sound like someone who is trying to defend playing D&D for years.

Anyway, no, despite what you read into that, that's not what I meant. When I said weening them, especially American-born ones, I mean from the fact that every kid in the US grew up playing Monopoly and the ilk, which rely on "roll the dice, move, and hope you landed somewhere good." The first step for many is to make them realize the game doesn't need dice or a spinner to make decisions for them or to randomize a game, and go from there.

That's what I meant by weening them.

(and yes, I know there are plenty of games which have dice and not be brainless and boring)
 
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Andrew Bird
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Surely kids in America also have access to (or have at least heard about) checkers, scrabble or chess? Battleship, even? I don't think they need any "weaning from dice/randomisation" as such, maybe just a less condescending attitude from the games host.
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birdman37 wrote:
Surely kids in America also have access to (or have at least heard about) checkers, scrabble or chess? Battleship, even? I don't think they need any "weaning from dice/randomisation" as such, maybe just a less condescending attitude from the games host.


Well, chess isn't fun for an awful lot of people, and scrabble doesn't generally force lots of mathematical decisions beyond adding numbers. (It's probably mathematical tradeoffs that people don't like.) If people view Monopoly/Sorry/Uno as their baseline for fun, then it makes sense to start with something less intimidating.

It was however kind of you to correct the spelling in his quote from "weening", as in opining, to "weaning", which is what he meant.
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sybrwookie wrote:
And you sound like someone who is trying to defend playing D&D for years.

Never played D&D. (You're coming across as smug with that comment, too, despite the smiley. Not sure whether that's your intent.)

birdman37 wrote:
Surely kids in America also have access to (or have at least heard about) checkers, scrabble or chess? Battleship, even? I don't think they need any "weaning from dice/randomisation" as such, maybe just a less condescending attitude from the games host.

Yes, and we had access to backgammon as well. My dad had been in the navy and favored acey deucy. We played lots of card games, too.

Stunna wrote:
It was however kind of you to correct the spelling in his quote from "weening", as in opining, to "weaning", which is what he meant.

I thought the 'weening' was kind of funny. Made me think of 'weenie'. If weening is a real word, it's news to me.
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Sphere wrote:
I thought the 'weening' was kind of funny. Made me think of 'weenie'. If weening is a real word, it's news to me.


Archaic, but surprisingly real. "To ween" is to think, suppose; or to expect, hope or intend.

I am weening you didn't ween that.



Cheers,
Merric
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Stunna wrote:
Well, chess isn't fun for an awful lot of people...

I would wager that chess is fun for at least as many people as any game in the BGG top ten - almost certainly for orders of magnitude more people than have ever even heard of Lords of Waterdeep.
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Sphere wrote:
I would wager that chess is fun for at least as many people as any game in the BGG top ten - almost certainly for orders of magnitude more people than have ever even heard of Lords of Waterdeep.


Next you'll be telling us it's been around for hundreds of years or something...

Cheers,
Merric
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MerricB wrote:
Archaic, but surprisingly real. "To ween" is to think, suppose; or to expect, hope or intend.

I am weening you didn't ween that.



Cheers,
Merric

You ween correctly. I looked it up in my Webster's 3rd International, and as you note, it's listed as archaic. Contextually, it's obvious that "weaning" was what the O.P. meant.
 
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I like how this has turned into a conversation of spelling (sorry, in the few hundred words I wrote, I had a typo which I missed) and trying to name all the childhood games which don't involve dice.....as if that means that there aren't a ton which involve them and take up a large chunk of the board gaming for many kids in the US and I'm somehow a bad host for implying that the truth is the truth.

Oh well, some people have to be right no matter what. Carry on, I'm unsubscribing from this mess of a thread, I've said everything I have to say about the game in question and stand by everything I've said.
 
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sybrwookie wrote:
I like how this has turned into a conversation of spelling (sorry, in the few hundred words I wrote, I had a typo which I missed) and trying to name all the childhood games which don't involve dice.....as if that means that there aren't a ton which involve them and take up a large chunk of the board gaming for many kids in the US and I'm somehow a bad host for implying that the truth is the truth.

Oh well, some people have to be right no matter what. Carry on, I'm unsubscribing from this mess of a thread, I've said everything I have to say about the game in question and stand by everything I've said.

Nobody really cares about the spelling error - we all make mistakes when posting. It was your expressed attitude towards games with dice that triggered my response. You've waffled on that point since, but I think the original comment was revealing. Do you really misunderstand my problem with that as badly as your post indicates?
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Just played it over the weekend. Definitely a light game, very easy to teach. I had never played it and was able to teach a couple of gamers (albeit wargamers) and including punching counters we were up and running in 5 minutes.

Not bad. fairly thematic and not too hard.
 
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sybrwookie wrote:

Theme
And then of course since you send the heroes off to complete a quest and they never return, I can only assume that every quest is a suicide mission.


I've seen this comment a couple times in reviews. Let's not forget that you have hired these adventurers to perform a mission; they aren't your retainers or lackeys now. You paid them, they carried out your mission, and now they are off to find another job somewhere else. Classic D&D behavior.
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Compared to Stone Age I've found this game easier to teach to casual gamers. Even American ones.

I also find it lighter than Stone Age by quite a bit with the qualification that I've played a helluva lot more Stone Age than Lords of Waterdeep.

P.S. I like Stone Age. I like Lords of Waterdeep. I like Caylus.
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sybrwookie wrote:
Is it like Stone Age? Not really, it's heavier and less luck-based than that.


While I enjoyed your review, I strongly disagree with this point. The basic rules are simple in both games, but scoring in Stone Age is definitely more complicated than in LoW. Also, I feel that LoW is more luck-based. If you have to fight with other players over both of your quest types while others do not, you are at a significant disadvantage. The available quests, intrigue cards and buildings also add quite a bit to the randomness.

I know that Stone Age is the one with the dice, but you have to roll so often that the luck of the roll usually evens out over the course of a game. Also, you can take calculated risks in Stone Age by choosing how many people (=dice) you send where.

As for depth, I think Stone Age is a lot deeper than many people give it credit for. At least you can try different approaches in Stone Age, specializing in either food, people or tools, concentrating on cards or huts. In LoW, you merely follow your Lord card.

I'd say that LoW is about as light a worker placement game as it gets. In my mind, it's definitely lighter than Stone Age or, say, Egizia.
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Labora wrote:
Trantor42 wrote:
Also, I feel that LoW is more luck-based. If you have to fight with other players over both of your quest types while others do not, you are at a significant disadvantage. The available quests, intrigue cards and buildings also add quite a bit to the randomness.


Dice in Stone Age is way more luck based than LoW so I strongly contend with your point!


As the OP noted, the sheer amount of dice you roll tend to equal out over the course of the game. LoW is heavily dependent on what Quests come up, and when they come up. This doesn't make LoW, or Stone Age, a bad game. Just one that has a healthy dose of luck.

My biggest complaint with LoW is that is pretty much plays itself. The Lord card forces you down a path, and it's just a matter of maximizing your return per action. Not a very interesting exercise for me.
 
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Labora wrote:

I think LoW may well be one of those Cyclades type games when once all the hype cools down will fall down the rankings.


My play group is frustratingly picky over new games I try to bring to the table. Cyclades was one of the first games that they actually actively asked me to bring out. Hell with rankings, I play games for fun, and if LoW offers my group even half the entertainment that Cyclades did I’ll be a happy gamer, and so far it is looking promising!
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