An old game finds a new audience
I remember a few years back being ecstatic that one of my top five board games got an app release. I also remember being gravely disappointed that it was an iOS only release. I live wrapped tightly in the world our Google overlords created for us.
"It's alright, most games come to iOS first. There'll be an android version soon." I naively told myself.
Weeks turned to months and months into years. I eventually gave up hope that I'd be a masked lord on my morning commute.
On September 1st Playdek finally released Lords of Waterdeep for Android and Steam and I couldn't hit the "buy" button on the Google Play store fast enough. It was something I wasn't expecting but happy to see.
I haven't opened it up on my Android tablet yet but I've got a few hours logged in the phone only version so far.
Is it a good re-interpretation of the board game?
Yes! The game handles all the quirky experiences you might expect in a Waterdeep game.
Extra agents, mandatory quests, intrigue cards are all handled with a great degree of polish. The expansions are also available as DLC, but aren't required to enjoy this great worker placement game.
Is there a tutorial?
Yes! I think it's a fantastic way to learn the game.
The tutorial is broken down in to easily digestible segments so you can learn the game quickly and efficiently. If you've never played Lords of Waterdeep before the app does a great job at introducing you to the game's mechanics.
How easy to use is the interface?
It works, but on a small screen device it has its challenges.
The out of game menu interface is very usable and allows for quick access to games. Inside the game they've opted for a landscape-only version. Given how portrait-sized the actual Waterdeep board is I expected that to be an option. It makes the game feel slightly more condensed and it makes it difficult to see how many cubes or coins your opponents have. It also makes it challenging when you have multiple properties out, you have to scroll through them on the right side of the board to see them all.
How is the online play?
Playdek has done a fantastic job implementing online play for Waterdeep.
You can tell that they've drawn heavily from Ascensions online play. It is cross platform so I can play with my Steam and iOS friends. It hosts a chat feature, a friend list, and synchronous and asynchronous play. The Asynchronous play is a huge bonus for me. I can quickly jump in, take my turn, and pass it to the next player. All board game apps should have this option.
How is the offline play?
It works well, but the AI could use some better decision making mechanics.
I don't consider myself an expert Waterdeep player but I do have the AI turned up to the highest difficulty to present a challenge in my offline games.
Pick up Lords of Waterdeep Digital if:
- You love the physical board game. You won't be disappointed, I promise.
- You love games that you can play online and asynchronously over time. You don't have to have a half hour to dedicate to playing a game. Jump in, take your turn, and get on with your day. Perfect for the mobile lifestyle.
- You want to be introduced to "Worker Placement" games. Lords of Waterdeep is one of the most friendly and accessible games with this unique to board games mechanic.