Tuesday 13 October 2020

Waterdeep: The Dungeon of the Mad Mage

Where stupid design decisions begin creeping in.

The next game after Tomb of Annihilation, this sees your cooperative party of up to five intrepid adventurers tackle the infamous Undermountain, which is home to the mad mage Halaster Blackcloak and his monstrous apprentices. This time the game adds more spell wielding foes as well as elder rune cards that can either have a bane or boon, depending on the situation. Some of these are rather minor, offering one free reroll or simply stunning you. Others are noticeably stronger - like being unable to heal yourself for the rest of the adventure!

Also, it's as if the designers looked at the previous game and thought "this one needs to be harder" - a trap many stupid designers seem to always fall into. Monsters are more dangerous in many ways. Some don't just hurt you, they "weaken" you meaning you can't get that HP back. Others, like the intellect devourers only stun you if they can hit, but if they hit a stunned person they do 5 points of damage. For comparison your tanks will have 12 HP at most. Oh, and there are thugs later who upon death spawn into those intellect devourers. There's a small chance three of them spawn simultaneously as well.

Bring Cormac!

Unable to think of clever boss mechanics, they also just decided to make them hit point sponges - the most stupid and boring way to upgrade a boss. In exchange, you can actually reach level 4 in this game, two levels higher than any before! Of course, my party finished all 13 adventures on level 2 as per usual.

The worst sin however, is misprints, one especially significant one on the sorcerer's card. While we still finished and enjoyed this outing, we all agreed it is the weakest of the existing set, as such I rate it 3 death knights out of 5. Only recommended if you've played and enjoyed all the others. If not, Tomb of Annihilation currently holds my highest score. For those who prefer competitive board games, check out Lords of Waterdeep instead.

Insight: It is almost mandatory to have a cleric with the "Path to the Grave" daily power ready, and get someone that anti-stun ring or you will have a bad time.

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