So when someone comes along and tells me that Wizards of The Coast has created a fairly simple "Dungeons & Dragons"-themed worker placement game that steals the owner bonuses and buildings from Caylus and the escalating points on unchosen buildings kinda like Small World or Puerto Rico, I get annoyed. And then they try to tell me it's really good. Right. So I took a look at the rules and confirmed that, yes, there really is nothing all that original in this game. It's just a hackneyed mix of modern mechanics, most of them from Caylus, all wrapped up in a completely extraneous D&D package.
|The awesome storage tray!!!|
The game itself is a breeze to pick up, even if you've never played any other W-P games. It takes place over 8 rounds with players having 2 workers (agents) to place each round in the 4 and 5 player games. In the last 4 rounds, players will get another worker to place and they can also possibly hire an extra worker by completing one of the quests. Initially the board starts with 10 buildings which do various things - take one or two of the four different types of cubes, draw Intrigue or Quest cards, get the start player marker, earn some money, etc. There is also a building, Waterdeep Harbour, which allows up to 3 workers and lets you to play an Intrigue card (note that this is also the ONLY way to play an Intrigue card). This building, much like the Gate in Caylus, allows you to play the workers on it to other buildings at the end of the round, making these spots prime real estate.
|Halfway through the game....|
|Buildings available for purchase|
|Quest cards up for grab|
I'll tell you now, this isn't the deepest game you'll ever play. The buildings can come up in many different ways and the Intrigue cards can throw chaos and frustration into even the best planning. But what it lacks in depth is made up for in simplicity and speed of play and huge level of interaction that is lacking in many other worker-placement games. Although it may be one of the most unoriginal games I've ever played, it is still brilliantly designed and obviously has been thoroughly playtested. I've played it 8 times now in the last three weeks and that's more plays than most of my games ever get. Wizards of The Coast has scored a total coup with gorgeously produced game and I daresay it's our favourite so far this year.