When comparing Lords of Waterdeep vs Descent: Journeys in the Dark, the Slant community recommends Descent: Journeys in the Dark for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Descent: Journeys in the Dark is ranked 23rd while Lords of Waterdeep is ranked 39th. The most important reason people chose Descent: Journeys in the Dark is:
While the actual rule book may not be the most organized manual in the world, the gameplay systems themselves are very simple to grasp, even for new players. Thanks to being both intuitive and easy to follow, anyone can join in on the fun. Descent uses basic dice rolls for most actions, and how many actions you can take per turn are clearly defined based on your hero class. Movement along the board is handled in a grid like fashion with each tile denoting a certain distance. There is never any second guessing of whether or not you're in range to help a friend or attack an enemy. If you can roll dice, follow a tile based board, and understand a few simple rules, you can easily play this game.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Gameplay grows more complex over time
Limited options are available at the beginning of the game. There's only a few pieces in play along with quest cards that give simple, concrete goals. However, gameplay grows more complex as buildings are added and new quests become available. For example, where to move your agents, which opponent to interrupt by playing intrigue cards, and which kind of quests you focus on are goals that will shift and evolve as the game progresses.
Pro Quick gaming sessions
Each game is only eight rounds and can be played in an hour or two.
Pro Dungeons and Dragons in reverse
Based on DnD lore, but you're the one setting quests instead of going on them. It's fun to feel like a powerful Lord ordering your agents around and making them complete quests for your own benefit.
Pro Easy to teach new players how to play
Within a few turns, even new players should be able to understand the basic mechanics. You move your agents around the board, complete quests with them, and get points based on the difficulty of the quest. Whoever is able to gain the most points by the end of the 8th round wins. Thanks to the simple rules and the game's easy-to-understand nature, this makes it very approachable for all skill levels.
Pro Intrigue cards add a huge element of player interaction
The player interaction aspects of Lords of Waterdeep stem from the aptly named Intrigue cards. By moving your agents to a special area of the game board, you are able to bring one of these cards into play. They let you do such things as steal money or resources from other players, force your opponents onto a mandatory quest, sabotage their current quest in progress, or even temporarily bend the rules of the game. Choosing which opponent you're going to sabotage and how you're going to do it can result in plenty of in-game interactions with your fellow players.
Pro Fun to mess with your friends
While completing your own quests, you have the opportunity to sabotage your opponents' quests with disruption cards. This makes it harder for them to complete their quests and even steal their money/resources. There are also mandatory quests that can be forced onto your opponents, which means they must complete that quest before they can take on any new ones. These can lead to many humorous and interesting moments with your friends as you attempt to prevent each other from progressing in devious and devastating ways.
Pro Great presentation
The game board is sturdy and the pieces are colorful. Even the currency comes in the form of cardboard Waterdeep coins which really help sell the D&D theme. The rule book is loaded with pictures and illustrations. Overall, everything is presented very nicely. There's even a handy plastic mold to neatly put everything away when you're finished playing and keep everything in good shape.
Pro Accessible and easy to learn game systems
While the actual rule book may not be the most organized manual in the world, the gameplay systems themselves are very simple to grasp, even for new players. Thanks to being both intuitive and easy to follow, anyone can join in on the fun.
Descent uses basic dice rolls for most actions, and how many actions you can take per turn are clearly defined based on your hero class. Movement along the board is handled in a grid like fashion with each tile denoting a certain distance. There is never any second guessing of whether or not you're in range to help a friend or attack an enemy. If you can roll dice, follow a tile based board, and understand a few simple rules, you can easily play this game.
Pro Blends competitive and co-operative game play in one game
The premise is pretty unique in that one player takes on the role of an overlord while all other players act as the heroes who attempt to clear the dungeon. The overlord and the heroes play against each other in a turn-based setup.
The overlord is the one responsible for controlling the monsters and other pitfalls that the heroes will face. The overlord also has access to many powerful spell cards which can be played during their turn. The heroes work together to clear the dungeon of monsters and work towards the victory condition for their quest.
Since the main evil force is player controlled, it creates some really interesting situations not often seen in other boardgames such as monsters being able to play strategically and dealing with spell effects that aren't random.
Pro Engaging and replayable full campaign mode
Each 60 to 90 minute game consists of a single quest, however there is a campaign mode where heroes can take on a series of story quests while also learning new skills along the way. This is a great mode for that true epic adventure feeling. If you find a hero you enjoy, you can grow and develop this character over time similar to a standard RPG game. Additionally, no two campaigns will ever be the same. There are 8 different classes to select from, and you can pick and choose the quests you do, which adds a lot of replayability.
Pro Appealing, clean presentation
Everything is laid out cleanly on the board so it's easy to keep track of the action. Each player has their own cards with all usable actions and skills neatly presented. All heroes and monsters have game pieces that can be moved around the board, so it's easy to be aware of your surroundings and plan your next attack. The health system uses special token pieces that are used to keep track of your health. Being able to see your health physically raise and lower to keep track of your damage taken is a nice touch.
Pro Can play solo with the mobile app
There's a mobile app called "Road to Legend" that lets you play this game solo. The app works by taking over the overlord role. It even has multiple difficulty settings so you can get as much of a challenge as you crave. It's a great way to play when you have no friends available for a gaming session.
Pro Bitesized quests for quick fun
Each short gaming session consists of one quest with its own victory condition and two encounters. They are quick to play when you're looking for something fun to do for an hour or so.
Pro Lots of expansion packs to keep the fun going
The makers of this board game have added over ten expansion packs which feature new monsters, quests, campaigns, heroes, and re-balanced mechanics. Even after you've extensively played the vanilla game, there's plenty of ways to extend the fun and keep playing a game you enjoy.
Con Not enough winning strategies
The main objective is to gain as many points as possible by having your agents/workers complete quests. There's not much in the way of strategy due to this one win condition. In almost all cases, the game will simply be won by the player who can tackle quests the most efficiently while dealing with anything their opponents throw at them.
Con Might not appeal to veteran gamers
The game systems are rather plain and basic, and it doesn't bring much new to the genre. It may not be appealing to veteran gamers as the gameplay is not very deep when compared to other similar games.
Con Can cause arguments
Having to plead with your friends not to interrupt your quest flow can result in many arguments. Having an opponent play an intrigue card on you, especially the mandatory quest card, can completely ruin your chance at winning. It's easy to get frustrated with other players, especially if you feel like you're being unfairly targeted or teamed up against repeatedly.
Con One player will always have to be the "bad guy"
Unless using the mobile app, which may very well ruin immersion for some, there is an evil overlord role that needs to be filled by a player. This is the player that makes decisions and takes actions for all the monsters. As such, this can be the source of many arguments. It can get especially bad when someone feels like they are being constantly targeted or singled out by the overlord.
Con Physical quality isn't the best
The game cards and board are flimsy and wear down rather easily. After only a few games, the wear and tear will be noticeable.
Con Rules can be confusing
While the game systems themselves are rather easy to pick up and learn, some phrasing on the cards and within the rulebook is a bit cryptic, which may result in confusion when first starting out.
Con Disorganized rulebook
It's usually easier to find the information you need with an internet search since the rulebook itself is tough to navigate. It's arranged alphabetically by rule rather than organized in a manner that would align with the game flow.