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Skullduggery FTW!

August 23, 2012

We interrupt your scheduled sequence of Golden Thingummy posting to report on yet another new game.  This one is not just new to us, but is also pretty new on the market having only been released a few months ago. Lords of Waterdeep seems to have been greeted by an almost unanimous “OMG! Wizards of the Coast have made a D&D themed Euro-style game! And it’s really good! Need to sit down now from the shock!” It’s set in a city taken from the Forgotten Realms setting, something about which I know next to nothing, and somehow manages to combine a decent fantasy theme with slick, fast play with meeples and little wooden cubes.

Off to the Cliffwatch Inn to find a new quest.

After a lot of dithering I finally got hold of a copy, and we have at last had a chance to play. I was a little worried by the rules at first, but I basically explained a handful of things to Miss B and then started. By the end of the first round we were both playing comfortably and for the rest of the game Miss B only needed a little help deciphering what the text on her intrigue cards meant.

We’ve now played a couple of times.  The first was with just the two of us and we had to abandon the game after five turns (of the scheduled eight) due to it being nearly dinner time.  Next day we had another go with Mummy added to the mix and managed to complete the whole thing.  Miss B clearly enjoyed the game but it took nearly two hours and towards the end she was flagging somewhat.  Most of the time taken was due to Miss B wanting to discuss some side-issue, or getting distracted by the pictures on a card.  I gather that with experienced players, the game usually comes down to an hour or so, but I think with a five-year-old we are in for long sessions.  (Note to self: schedule a snack and drink break next time.)  That said, the game pretty much held her attention throughout, which is pretty impressive.

An aside on this… I mentioned fast play in my opening paragraph and have now gone on to talk about it being potentially quite a long game. It’s all relative really. The structure of this game is based on each player taking lots of very quick turns where you mostly place one meeple onto the board and then collect resources associated with where you placed it. Sometimes you also complete a quest by spending resources. This sort of thing works well for adults who are paying attention, but for a kid (or adult, for that matter) who you have to nudge every time it is their turn, the time taken for those nudges mounds up.

Overall, I really like what I have seen of this game and can’t wait to break it out for a couple of plays with grown-ups.  As a family game it can go on a bit long, but it’s fun and interesting and I’m sure that time will (eventually!) come down.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 5½): “I liked getting all those skullduggery ones when I had to get warfare and skullduggery for my bonuses.”

The game: Lords of Waterdeep (Wizards of the Coast), 2 to 5 players aged 12+.

  1. dbfnq
    November 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I recently got this, and everyone I’ve played it with has loved it.

    Haven’t tried it with the six-year-old yet, but this sounds encouraging.

  2. November 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Yup, a class game all round, this one. We’ve played it a few more times now and it still goes down well, though it still takes quite a long time with Miss B. We always now make sure we take a break half way to get a drink and a biscuit, which makes everything much more enjoyable for everyone. Incidentally, Miss B actually won a three-player game at one point, which resulted in a lot of high-fives.

  3. dbfnq
    November 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Got a chance to play this with the sproglet for the first time. Three-player game with me, him and my wife. Took about ninety minutes including setup and explaining. My wife took the win, then me, then him, with a final score of 154-140-121. Good going for his first game, with not much prompting from us as to what he should do.

  4. November 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Excellent. We fell immediately into the pattern of adults targeting other adults with negative effects from intrigue cards, and giving Miss B the positives, and otherwise pretty much playing normally, which seemed all that was needed to put Miss B on a reasonably level field. I figure if she wins a bit more, that’ll all go out of the window pretty quickly.

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