Last night, the Android Dungeon gaming group got together for our first gaming session of the new year, and we started the new year off appropriately enough: with a new game.
Our host and Benevolent Bearded Overlord Michael picked up “Lords of Waterdeep” (LoW) over the break after scoring a huge trade for the remainder of his Magic collection (and we all applaud him for getting THAT monkey off his back). You can get the full rundown on the game all over the internet, but here’s a basic rundown:
The game: LoW is Wizards of the Coast’s foray into eurogaming, meaning it plays like a eurogame but is themed behind their biggest title “Dungeons and Dragons.” As Julian put it, “you know the people who do the quests in D&D? These are the guys administrating them.” The game operates behind a straightforward worker placement mechanic that makes perfect sense to anyone who has played “Agricola” or “Caylus.”
Session recap: Julian had played this before, but otherwise, this was the first time playing for the other four of us. Our setup (and setup in general) was pretty simple and doesn’t take much time. Those of us who hadn’t played picked up the game pretty quickly.
The early rush in the game was toward buildings, with most of us seeing the benefits of expanding worker options and reaping any long-term benefits. I was shut out of first-player privileges early on and so focused on a couple quests. Since I was scoring quests and not building, I jumped out to an early lead.
As Adam built buildings (I think he had at least six by the end of the game), most of us tried to balance expansion through building with completing quests. I tried to focus on incremental victory point growth while working toward the hidden goals of my Lord (who scored bonuses from Warfare and Commerce quests) and getting the bonuses from the plot quests I’d managed to complete. Michael built up a sizable lead through one of his patented megaturns, completing a couple of big quests in round 5.
I managed some late-game heroics by seizing the Administrator and First Player for the next-to-last round, allowing me to gobble up plenty of meeples for a run on two fairly large quests. At game end, I’d managed to tie Michael, but lost by two points after we tallied our Lord bonuses. The game was closer at the end than we might have thought mid-game, which I think bodes well for end-game interest in future games.
Other things worth noting
- Earlier in the evening I attended an opening for an exhibition at the Plains Art Museum called “My Generation, Let’s Take It Over” and took a swatch from a participatory installation by Judith Feist. Audience members were encouraged to take one of the swatches and give it to someone they know, and I decided it would go to the victor of our game. Michael is rocking it there in the photo.
- Pat joined us for the first time last night. He’s more of a video game guy and this was one of his first tabletop experiences in a long while. He picked it up no problem, enjoyed it, and made some great jokes (Julian: “What did Betty White do before ‘Golden Girls’?” Pat: “‘Silver Girls.'”). And here’s the kicker: he brought some tasty home-brewed mead. Welcome, Pat!
- We briefly mourned the departure of Chris, one of the Android Dungeon’s founding members, last night. Chris is a web guy and began working remotely recently, so he’s taking the opportunity to go on a spirit quest couchsurfing in warmer climates. Oh, he’ll be back, but in the meantime we’ll miss his bickering with Julian, which is usually not at all awkward or time-wasting.