Review: D&D Lords of Waterdeep, by Playdek, Inc (universal binary)
D&D Lords of Waterdeep, by Playdek, Inc.
$6.99, ****1/2 (universal binary)
- Fun and challenging game from D&D realm
- Multiple modes of play, multiple game modes increase challenge
- iPad play is just enlarged iPhone screen
- Online play requires account creation
D&D Lords of Waterdeep is a game from Playdek that tackles the AD&D world of Waterdeep in the Forgotten Realms (any D&D fan from the 80’s and 90’s should recognize those references). However, rather than a standard RPG, dungeon crawl, or some other game play, here you act as “Lord of Waterdeep” trying to build power and influence through the completion of various quests. You compete against the other lords (all part of the secret society that runs Waterdeep) without knowing their goals or objectives.
Figure 1. Lords of Waterdeep start screen
To start the game, you choose an online or local game. To play online, you need to create a separate account which I did not do. As such, I can’t review the online game play, but I would assume it is pretty good. Since it is a turn based game, it means you can play live, or take turns over a long period of time. Local gameplay can be you versus the AI, or you against other opponents (via pass and play) (no wifi or Bluetooth connection options). When you start to play, you choose your opponents, and if they are AI opponents, you choose their difficulty level.
The gameplay itself is fairly straightforward, based on the idea of completing questions to get what I call “quest points”. Quests are divided into five categories (warfare, commerce, arcana, piety, and skullduggery). Each quest required resources (either gold, or adventurers that are classified as warriors, assassins, priests, or mages). Upon completion, the various quests will grant you quest points, and some will also grant additional bonuses (more agents, gold, some special ability, etc).
Figure 2. One of the mysterious "lords" of Waterdeep as which you can play.
To get the resources for the quests, you use your representatives (agents) to go to specific locations in Waterdeep. Some locations will give you a specific kind of resources (gold or adventurers), while others will let you build a new building (with new resource rewards), get a resource card (which will let help you, hurt your enemies, or both), or choose a new quest. You can have as many quests as you like, and you have eight turns to try to get as many quest points as possible.
Figure 3. One of the locations you can build, which gives you more gold.
To make things a little more interesting, when you start the game, each player is assigned a random “Lord of Waterdeep” character. These characters will get bonus points at the end of the game based on the types of quests you complete. For example, “Caldoran Cassalanter” gets four bonus quest points for each Skullduggery or Warfare quest he completes. You don’t know who your opponent’s characters are, so you don’t know how many bonus points they may get at the end. At the end of the game, all the quest point are added up, the mystery lords are revealed, and a winner is declared.
Figure 4. You can select more quests during the game for more points.
Figure 5. At the end, you add up all your points to see who wins! The mystery lords are revealed at the end.
If it sounds confusing, well, it is a little bit. But the complexity allows for more interesting gameplay. I have been playing on the medium difficulty level and have been winning slightly more games than I lose, so it hasn’t gotten stale at all. This is a universal binary, so you can play on your iPad as well. Unfortunately, the iPad version of the game is simply an enlarged iPhone version – no different layout or design that makes better used of the space. The graphics and sounds are nice, but I did find the game lags a little bit with the AI is playing – maybe the AI is really thinking about what move to make?
All in all, Lords of Waterdeep is a fun and challenging take on a D&D style RPG. Rather than use a standard RPG style, Lords of Waterdeep acts more like a board game. You can play online, against others, or against the AI (which is no easy feat by itself). As a universal binary, you can also play on the iPad (my review includes pictures from the iPhone). As a throwback to the old style D&D genre, this game is well worth the $6.99 price. Four and a half out of five stars.
Edit: I just found out the this game actually IS based on a board game...so go figure! If you like the board game, you will probably like this.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.