Lords of Waterdeep: Board Game Review

Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy board game, for 2-5 players, designed by Peter Lee and Rodney Thomson. Players take on the roles of secret rulers of the city of Waterdeep, the most resplendent jewel in the world of Forgotten Realms. Each ruler is concerned about the city’s safety but also has a secret agenda and is willing to do whatever it takes to gain power and control the city. What can’t be gained with legal procedures, can always be gained through treachery or bribery. In order to succeed with their secret plans, rulers hire adventurers to take on quests on their behalf and earn rewards. They can also expand the city, by buying new buildings that open up new available actions in the game or play Intrigue cards that may hinder their rivals or advance their own plans. By completing quests and buying buildings, players earn victory points. At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points, is the winner.

The game uses a carefully designed board, depicting the city of Waterdeep and its various locations F95ZONE. There are special spaces reserved on the board for city expansions (new buildings that players can buy), the Quest Deck, Quest cards and discarded Quests, The Intrigue deck and discarded Intrigue cards plus available buildings to buy and the building stack.

At the start of the game each player chooses a color and takes the corresponding player mat in front of him. The mat has special places reserved for the player’s agents (the Agent pool), hired adventurers (the Tavern), completed quests and the player’s Lord of Waterdeep card.

Players are dealt a random Lord of Waterdeep card, which defines their character and secret agenta. It is placed at the bottom of the player mat, face down.

Each player starts out with a predetermined number of agent tokens (according to the number of players) which he can assign to different locations in the city and use them to hire adventurers. Hired adventurers are represented by wooden cubes of different colors, each one representing a different type of adventurer:orange (fighters), black (rogues), purple (wizards) and white (clerics). During setup, each player is also dealt 2 random quests face up, 2 intrigue cards face down and some gold. Each quest, in order to be completed, requires certain numbers and types of adventurers and sometimes also some gold and rewards players with victory points and sometimes gold or adventurers. After being completed, quests are placed on a special place on the player mat. Some quests have the notation “Plot Quests” which indicates that they have ongoing effects in addition to providing rewards. These are placed face up near the player mat to remind the player the ongoing effect. Intrigue cards can be of three types: Attack, Utility or Mandatory Quest. Attack cards hinder or penalize opponents while helping the player who played them. Utility cards just benefit the player who played them. Mandatory quest cards are given to opponents and must be completed before other active quests this way slowing them down. Intrigue cards may be played when agents are asigned to a certain building, “The Waterdeep Harbor”. After all agents are assigned by all players, Agents placed at Waterdeep Harbor are reassigned to another empty location on the board.

The game consists of eight rounds. In each round, players take turns and each turn can assign an unassigned agent to an unoccupied location in the city. The action of that location is immediately performed and then it is also possible for the player to complete a quest, providing he has gathered all prerequisites. There are 9 basic buildings in the city where agents can be assigned, but more can be purchased in the course of the game. Actions that can be performed in buildings include: hiring adventurers, gaining gold, buying buildings, gaining or playing intrigue cards, taking new quests, hiring an extra agent “The Ambassador”, taking the first player marker, gaining victory points and more. When buying a new building, players pay a cost in gold indicated on the building tile, gain some victory points, position the new building tile in one of the reserved empty spaces on the board and place one of their control markers on that tile in order to indicate that they own the building. Whenever another player assigns an agent to that building, its owner will benefit too.

It has already been proven in industry and in government, that adding Workplace Games, also called Gamification, to your business will both motivate and unite your business towards maximizing new opportunities. In an interview, Tom Kalil, (Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology) made the point that NASA’s use of Gamification had a Return on Investment 5 to 10 times higher than the costs associated with the rewards that the game generated. He shared insights where DARPA and the DOE used prizes and challenges to reward and incentivize. He provided examples of various government organizations as using Gamification successfully that included NASA, DOE and DARPA.

To begin the process of adding Workplace Games to your business you should start by performing an assessment of your business strategy, vision and goals. This will help your company update and align your business priorities so that the game directly supports your business and the necessary activities that can best be rewarded through the game. There are different ways to setting up but we believe that you should keep it simple and directly aligned to your business. We setup many of our games using a Project Management format that initiates the game in much the same way any project should be started. Simply stated, projectize your game so that you follow the same steps in starting your game as you would properly start and manage a new project. Follow the example of others who have already added games to their business to avoid mistakes.

There are many innovative examples where games were used to motivate and unite businesses for success if you look for them. Diverse companies, large and small, public and private, have used Workplace Games to motivate and unite their stakeholders across a wide range of industries that includes: NASA, DARPA, DOE, UPS, Deloitte, Bunchball Inc., Warner brothers, Comcast, Adobe and others. Industries have included the health and insurance industry, science and technology, law enforcement and many others. Don’t start over when it isn’t required; lessons learned and best practices save time, money and other resources.

Knowing your key competitive factors and comparing them with your peer and competitions may be a good way to look for differentiators. Your own strategies, tactics and the use of best practices are then aligned with your company’s existing processes into the game. Look for goals, schedule, desired wins, past business results and so on for possible reward milestones and corrections or changes to your current processes. The best milestones are deliverables of various maturity and specific events in a schedule where activities are completed to move onto the next activity. These deliverables and schedule milestones, when recognized and rewarded for timely completion encourages repeatable best practices in your business. These can be tailored to your specific needs and desires.

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