Lords of Waterdeep from Wizards of the Coast is a D&D-themed board game set in the Forgotten Realms. It is not, however, a game about fighting monsters, nor does it require any background in the Forgotten Realms to appreciate. Lords of Waterdeep actually manages to be both a Euro-style resource-management and worker-placement game, as well as an adventure game. I had a great time playing it. In fact, one of my fellow testers said it reminded him of Agricola but that he liked this one better.

Lords of Waterdeep is a game about politics and intrigue in the fantasy city of Waterdeep. The players (2-5 of them) take on the roles of the secretive lords that control the city. During the course of the game, their primary goal is to complete quests to spread their influence. Quests fall in to five categories: arcana, commerce, piety, skullduggery, warfare, and commerce. Completing a quest usually grants victory points—the exact number depending on the difficulty of the quest—and sometimes special abilities for later in the game. Individual lords also receive victory point bonuses at the end of the game for completing quests of specific types (Mirt the Moneylender, for example, receives a bonus of four for each completed commerce and piety quest).

Completing quests requires the application of resources, which as you might have expected are represented by little wooden cubes. Rather though, than the typical stone, wood, etc., the resource cubes in Lords of Waterdeep are adventurers—orange cube fighters, white cube clerics, black cube rogues, and purple cube wizards. Players acquire adventurers and gold (also necessary for some quests) by sending their agents (thus, the worker placement element) to various buildings around the city.

Depending on the specific assignment of an agent, players also have the opportunity to construct new buildings, collect or play intrigue cards, and find new quests to complete.

An example of a warfare quest is “Deliver Weapons to Selune’s Temple” for which is required four fighters, one rogue, one wizard, and two gold. The reward is nine victory points and two clerics. “Procure Stolen Goods” is a skullduggery quest. It requires three rogues and six gold to complete but rewards 8 victory points and two intrigue cards.

The intrigue cards provide some additional excitement and thematic flavor to the game, allowing players to do such things as steal resources from each other, or assign another player a mandatory quest that must be completed before any other.

Each round, the players take turns assigning their agents and completing quests (if they’re able). After eight rounds, the player with the most victory points is the winner.

There are a few more details to the rules than I’ve mentioned here, but not much. Lords of Waterdeep should be pretty easy to learn and plays in about an hour. I look forward to playing it more.

Wizards of the Coast provided a complimentary copy of this game for review.