Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lords of Waterdeep: Review

Hey everyone,

Here at DissentingDice we do other things besides school work, miniatures games and drinking. We play board games and drink too!

Today I am going to be talking about the relativly new board game from Wizards of the Coast, Lords of Waterdeep. This is a Euro game (from what I can gather that means victory points, meeples and no dice), based upon vying for power in the Forgotten Realms metropolis of Waterdeep.


This is a worker placement game similar to Stone Age, yes I am sure there are more common worker placement games but I have board game hipster friends. 

Each round players take turns assigning their agents (see it's still a law school blog after all!) to different buildings in Waterdeep to gain certain benefits. 


Here is the game board, this is a much better show than tell game. 
Alright this gives you an idea of what this all looks like. You have your meeple agents assigned to different buildings. You have quest cards, and the additional locations you can build and even some of the little adventurer cubes. 

So, the point of the game is to assign your agents to locations to get adventurers and gold so that you can finance sending them off to their doom on quests that gain you more power and influence. 

Here we have one of the buildings with an agent on it. 

So in this example the blue player has put one of their agents onto The Grinning Lion Tavern, this space only has room for one agent, as shown by the little outline under him. When your agent is place on this spot you receive two black cubes, which are rogues in the game. You need these adventurers and gold to complete quests, which give you victory points and other resources.

As seen from these examples quests come in 5 flavors, those correspond to the two secret quest types each player gets bonus points from. This is where the game is won and lost, with end of game bonuses based on your secret goals.
On the quest cards you see little cubes and squares with holes. These represent the adventurers and money needed to complete the quest. Rewards are typically victory points but can be more resources or a plot quest which gives an ongoing benefit.
You get quests by putting an agent on one of three quest slots, you then choose from the 4 available quest cards. One slot gives a quest card and two gold, the second gives a quest and an intrigue card (we'll get to those in a minute) and the third resets the available quests and you choose from there.

Well, we have talked about worker placement and quests, now for intrigue cards.
Here is one:

These cards can only be played if you put an agent on a certain slot. But there are three open slots at that location. So you put your agent on the slot, you then play an intrigue card, just do what it says on it. Then at the end of the round you can reassign the agent to an available slot. The spaces that allow intrigue cards to be played are labeled 1,2,3, so the order of this reassignment is resolved that way. Essentially you get two turns with one of your guys.

You can also use an agent to purchase a building, shown at the bottom of the picture with the whole board. This makes more slots to put people on and gives the players more options. It also has a Monopoly aspect, if someone else uses the building you own, you get some benefit too. Just like Monopoly but actually fun.

Speaking of actually fun, this game is a blast. I have played four times now, with people of various levels of gaming exposure, everyone has loved it. It only takes a turn maybe two before even non gamers start really getting into it. I have played with three and with the full five people. I really wish Wizards would release a 6 player expansion (there is an extra slot for it) so more people can play. Different numbers of players means different numbers of agents, so that everything balances and flows better.

I would highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a great way to spend time with friends.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dystopian Wars, First Impression

Good morning ladies and gents, I'm coming to you live from the local Chick-fil-a's wifi. I do really wish they were a proud corporate sponsor of us here at DissentingDice. I didn't get into blogging for the money, but chicken sandwiches and waffle fries would be nice. 

So the local gamemonger Aaron of Stormcrow Games and I played out first game of Dystopian Wars yesterday. 

We had a blast, don;t know if we got everything correct, but it was fun. The thrills and spills of exploding dice make the game very swingy, but in a fun way.   The rules are simple on their face, but quite complex when things start interacting with each other. Though we really only had to keep going back again and again to the rulebook when tiny fliers were involved. Most other things were either easy to remember or on the cheat sheet. 

Though, the biggest lesson I learned was deploy your battle ship near the battle, I put mine on the flank and with out a kinetic generator I was well into the game before he started making much of a difference. 

Here is the only picture I managed to snap while we were playing. 
Aaron's fresh out of the box Empire of the Blazing Sun, and my more and more painted FSA. 

I put shield generators on everything that could take them, it did lead to some stupid durability on the cruisers. Having only two dice can mean the difference between 1 damage and a critical hit, or if you roll sixes just negate a huge attack. 

However, this increased durability was at the cost of offensive power, Aaron used his rockets to good effect by chipping away at my frigates or menacing my cruisers. Having the shield brings the cruisers down only the single forward gun (and an aft gun with a 90 degree arc) at least the battle ship still has it's broadsides.  I think having that long range firepower to soften the enemy or sink a few small ships on the way in would be a good idea. The battleship being all but immune to single digit dice rolls because of the shield sounds like a much better idea on it. 

Also bombers don't seem that cool to me, and it's  hard to use the bombs. They use fixed channels, and the bombs are out the back. So you would need to do the sort of hilarious turning maneuvers that Aaron did so that he could fire bombs out the back at my cruisers. Something we messed up on, bombs are only 4 inch range, not range band 1 i.e. 8 inches, so they are even more of something you don't try to use and just get lucky when you can. Lame.  However my bombers did finally sneak up obscured and throw a lot of torpedoes at his battleship, actually doing some damage to the monster. 

All in all this was a really fun game, the rules are very different from GW games or Warma/Hordes, there are a lot of moving parts and it will take some getting used to. Though after we figured our that we can pre-measure that would have made things easier. But driving into the middle of the enemy and unleashing guns all over the place was really cool, as Aaron showed me beating the crap out of my cruiser squadron with some frigates. 

So, yet another ringing endorsement of Dystopian Wars