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If you are a hard core LoW fan you will probably not find the following guidelines usefull. This is strickly for the noobs.

Plot quests. try to complete as many plot quests as possible at the beginning of the game and shift your attention to the regular quests later in the game. There is no reason to hurry with completing regular quests, sometimes it can even be a disadvantage. For example, if youre secret mission is to collect Arcana quests and you receive a plot quest early in the game giving you VPs for each Arcana quest you complete, then this is obviously the first quest you would want to complete in order to gather as many VPs as possible.

Mandatory quests. Save mandatory quests untill the end of the game when everybody wants to complete their last quests! This advice has one exception, namely when you can see that an opponent is ready to complete a plot quest at the beginning of the game. Stalling your opponent could set him back several victory points.

Buildings. Never buy buildings after the 6th round unless there are several VPs on it. Needless to say you will get the most out of your buildings if you buy them earlier in the game. Naturally, this does not apply for Larissa as her mission is to build as many buildings as possible. A good strategy for playing Larissa is to complete plot quests at the beginning of the game and let them dictate what kind of quests you should focus on for the rest of the game.

Quests. Try to combine quests instead of just focusing on the number of VPs you will receive. Look for quests that will give you a reward you can use to complete another quest. This tactic is a good way to recrute adventurers without having to assign agents and will give you more room to operate in.

Intrigue cards. Do not underestimate intrigue cards as they can often have a tremendous impact on the game. Steeling a single adventurer from your opponents or giving them a mandatory quest at the end of the game can often prevent them from completing their last quest which could lead to your victory.

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Some say first impressions last, but of course for boardgames this is not always true. Some games will seem great at first, only to lose your interest fast – and some will win you over in time (as you learn the mechanics).

With Lords of Waterdeep I must confess that I have not been this impressed with a game anytime recently. This game is great!

Why is it good?
The game it self is pretty straight-forward (worker placement) – took me about 10 mins to learn.
That itself is a quality, but only if it has enough depth to keep you puzzled on strategy over time – and this will have to be revisited.
Here are some of the key-feats that I liked:

  • Action:

You have the possibility to gain victory points, all the time (literally).
This gives the game great pace, because you have to keep up or get left behind (- and dont get too far ahead either, your opponents will join forces then)
The pacing has you on the tip of your chair, franticly looking for the next way to score points, meanwhile the opponents completing their quests and winning victory points.
Also – there is almost no downtime (this can never be underestimated).

  • Balance:

This game has great balance. Even though we played it only a few times, it was close – when someone felt comfortable ahead – they were not, it turned out. The great thing is the secret focus of each player/lord, that scores bonus-points in the end – it is not until then, that the game is truly decided.

  • Options/Customized board:

You have a lot of options – many ways to complete each quest, many paths to gain points in the end. As the buildings with unique actions are never the same  – the board is never completely the same. Each building is chosen by random (draw) and then only enters if built by someone. This means that the options varies from game to game, and even then you have to look out not to help the building owners too much.

  • Feel:

As I would have liked to have more detailed pieces, this was a concern of mine; that the universe would not feel that authentic. This is important for me, that the game has a theme/story that it stays true to.
I still feel that they could have done a better job on the pieces (cubes), but the way the quests are shaped to each type of lord makes up.
You can establish the Shadow Thieves Guild (Quest) as a fighter/mage, but you will not get any extra credit (points) in the end.
If you think that someone else is a rogue however, you could do so just to spoil their chances.

I really cant think of much bad to say, but consider that this is a very early statement.
Maybe things will change as we get more familiar with the game – but for now this is my new favorite.

One of my favorite Arcana quest-cards.

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