Cylons of Waterdeep
I’m just back from a board-gaming minicon. It’s become a Christmas tradition, as expat gamers return home for the holidays, then flee the loving embrace of their families to roll dice and move meeples. Two games dominated the day - Lords of Waterdeep and Battlestar Galactica. I’ve admired and adored the BSG board game for years, while Lords is a recent addiction. I don’t have the physical board game, but the iOS version is on the front page of both my phone and my iPad.
Both games hit a sweet intersection in a Venn diagram. Both are abstract enough to take a high-level approach to challenges – you’re not rolling to hit, you’re resolving whole conflicts at a time. Both are strongly themed, and even push a little towards roleplaying, although BSG is obviously much more immersive. Both are co-operative while also being competitive – admittedly, in Lords, that’s more the theme spilling into my impressions of the game. You could so easily push Lords towards the BSG/Arkham Horror model if you introduced penalties for failing to complete quests.
I’ve often said that Arkham Horror isn’t a great game, but it works as a fragmented recollection of a fantastic epic Call of Cthulhu campaign. The thought of a game that produces the high points and dramatic decisions of an entire campaign in a single afternoon, and fits in a box, is a goal worth pursuing.