We’ve talked about Lords of Waterdeep a handful of times over the years but one of the biggest downsides of the game was that it was a board game that required other people if you wanted to play it. I mean, that needs a couple of people and a couple of hours. Which means that you have to get some logistics involved. Hammer out with multiple people when to play. Are you guys going to eat before? After? During? Now you have to deal with food! You just wanted to play a game!
Well, have I got some good news for you: Lords of Waterdeep is on Steam!
So I’ve played about 40 games so far. It’s great. No logistics needed. Perfect for playing while you’re listening to podcasts or, because it’s turn-based, have it open in another window while you’re doing something else. Take your turn, scope out your next couple of moves, then minimize the window while you catch up on your email or, heck, write a game review. When you go back to the game, it’ll be your turn again. And, of course, the computer will have taken the moves that you were previously scoping.
That one actually drives me nuts. “Okay, I need either the Plinth, Blackstaff Tower, or Northgate…” and, wouldn’t you know it, the next three moves made by the computer are for those three spaces. It’s like playing with actual humans.
The best part? The expansions are available as well. So you can play with a full table of everything… or, if that’s a little chaotic, you can go back to basics (or just play with one or the other expansion).
The AI isn’t bad. I’ve got a better than 50/50 record of playing against the game at the highest difficulty but not that much better… which means that the game is tough enough that you won’t necessarily walk away thinking “the only way I could possibly lose is if everything went wrong for me and right for the computer”… though, yeah, I’ve had those games too. If I were to complain, it’d be that the AI does boneheaded stuff with the Skullport expansion. It doesn’t know how to deal with negative numbers, really. For example, I saw it take a space that gave it a point of corruption (no problem) to play an intrigue card (so far so good) where the benefit was taking away a single corruption (clank).
So it probably could use some shuffling of its if-then statements… but, hey. If you’re starved for a game of Waterdeep, you now have the option of playing it on your PC.
I understand that it has multiplayer online options but I haven’t explored them. (Though it also has hotseat options for those of you who can usually get two people together to play a game but not three or four or five… you can just assign AIs to the other seats at the table.)
Now, if you were hoping for a game that would teach you how to play because you like the idea of the game but haven’t played it before… well, the reviews of the game on Steam aren’t really positive for that sort of thing. But if you’re already familiar with the game, I *WHOLEHEARTEDLY* recommend it. Seriously: pick it up.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))