25 September 2013

Lords of Waterdeep - 4 player session

4-player sessions in this game are really tricky, something I experienced in our last game. And I only think this adds to the gaming experience, you simply have to adapt your strategy accordingly to the number of players. The hard part playing a 4-player game is the bare minimum amount of agents that each player handles. You get 2 agents, and a 3rd on turn five which is more than halfway through the game.

With just a 2 agents you struggle to get the resources you need, and it may not be woth attempting to finish quests that require a ton of resources. In our session, I was thinking that I would attempt to finish expensive quests that yield 20-25 victory points each. The problem was that resource accumulation was painfully slow, and this was also the first session in which we all had trouble getting "warrior" cubes since there was no additional building providing warriors on the board until towards the very end of the game.

And while I managed to finish those two quests that together got me 45 victory points, I had barely finished any quests at all, and had almost no bonus victory points granted by my lord card. I didn't do bad, or at least until we started counting additional victory points for Lords bonuses and leftover resources. It was then when one of the guys just cashed in something like 24 victory points for having finished specific quest types.

I made a quick calculation, which tells that it does not really matter which route you go (expensive quests with few end game lord bonuses, or lots of cheap quests with lots of end game lord bonuses). You will get pretty much the same amount of victory point in total. However, with a larger crowd and fewer agents it gets really hard to finish those expensive quests - and those that focus on cheaper quests may actually get the upper hand towards the end and make that final "bump" in victory points.

I like this aspect, because that means that you have to adapt your strategy according to the number of players, making it a somewhat different game on each level.

Playing with fewer agents also made a couple of key features increasingly important and favorable. Attempting to get hold of the first player token or getting the ambassador token was important. But perhaps the most fought over location was Waterdeep Harbor where you are able to play intrigue cards. Taking into account that all agents assigned to Waterdeep harbor are in fact being played twice (once when assigned to Waterdeep harbor and once when re-assigned at the end of the turn) if allows you to play cards that possibly grant you resources and then get additional resources with agent placement when re-assigning agents at the end of the turn. This is no safe strategy, in fact it's a gamble, but it's a way of getting the most out of your agents each turn if you only have two of them.

This really is one of the most solid boardgames that I have in my collection, and it's universally liked by everyone who has played it. I really recommend getting it if you are into games with resource handling and worker management.

5 comments:

  1. Hehe I like this one too, and just played it last weekend (2 player only though)! A victory for me, which is rare. The only time I defeat my regular opponent (my wife) is when I pull off a batman gambit with the quest that gives 8 vps plus 2 vps per building I own. Needless to say I leave it as long as I can and focus on gold and construction to pull that off. :P

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  2. I really like the "Builder" lord, it's often a relatively easy way to get some solid victory points and you can focus on whatever quests you like without feeling that you are wasting time :-)

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  3. I enjoy the game it is often my gateway worker placement game these days. I have been enjoying the Undermountain module but we haven't played many games with both or just the Skullport module. We tend to bounce between Yedo and Waterdeep with Undermountain for our game night if we decide on a worker placement style game, right now we are riding a hot streak of Terra Mystica and Suburbia.

    I do enjoy because it feels like it has this grand theme which is sometime hard to get across in a eurogame and it very easy for me to teach and still have enough depth of strategy to be interesting for people who play it often. I have to have that it is a solid game in my collection as well.

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    1. I have yet to try out any of the expansions for this game, I'm actually worried them may disturb the balance (the same reason why I never bought any of the Battlestar Galactica expansions - the core game was flawless imo).

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    2. I think the expansions add more variety with really disturbing the balance of the game. Right now our games are a little higher scoring but I imagine they will be lower on average with just the Skullport module due to the corruption mechanic and will balance back out when we start using both. Also it gives me the option of a 6th player and enough placement areas that it doesn't become super cut throat.

      I would give it a try if you ever get tired of the base game or you know someone who has a copy. I find the game to be very solid, it is a game I enjoy playing but if I have the choice I would rather play Yedo.

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