Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport Review

First and foremost, if you haven’t read our review for the original game do so here

Scoundrels of Skullport (Lords of Waterdeep expansion)

Designed by Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee, Chris Dupuis / Published by Wizards of the Coast

2-6 Players; Ages 12+

Retail Price: $39.99

You can buy it here.

So, Lords of Waterdeep has received not one, but two expansion packs! Personally, I couldn’t have been more excited. While they both come under the Scoundrels of Skullport moniker, the package includes the eponymously named expansion Skullport and alongside it the Undermountain. The expansions can be utilized to augment the game individually, or you can use both expansions simultaneously. The expansion pack also allows for a new player to join the adventure, and also adds new lords, quests, intrigues, and new areas to the map.

Of the two, the Undermountain expansion is the most straightforward. Its offerings are basic in comparison to the other expansion, as it mostly serves to open up the board more as far as possible moves and strategies by giving you new areas to move your agents to. Granted, the resources offered are somewhat rare within the confines of the original gaming space; for example, there are now more places where you can acquire intrigue and quest cards.

While this would seem like an obviously beneficial addition, the downside is that I believe the original Lords of Waterdeep had a great balance to it, and these new spots can rob the sense of urgency that was apparent in the original. Even the act of purchasing buildings loses some of its potency because of the new readily available spaces and the resources they offer. Now, while that was something that bothered me, I can certainly see that others may have found the proceedings of the original Waterdeep too cramped and would now be relieved to have more space to play, especially if you’re playing with 5 or 6 players. Overall, Undermountain mostly maintains the same game but makes it slightly bigger.

The corruption counter. It’s empty now, but the dreaded counters will soon make you life a living hell.

Moving on, the Skullport expansion is where things really get exciting. With Skullport comes an entirely new dynamic in the game that you will have fun experimenting with through quite a few playthroughs. The new element is a new resource called Corruption that you can and likely will acquire when playing with Skullport.

Corruption isn’t truly a resource per se, because essentially it carries negative effects. The way it works is that every time you receive a Corruption token, it is taken straight from the Corruption track. That track tells you how many negative points Corruption represents. Basically, the more of them that are in play means that the tokens grow in negative value, and at the end of the game they subtract from a player’s final score. They are acquired in the same manner as a resource – by moving your agent to specific areas that offer them – but they usually come bundled with a higher quantity of resources, offering risk and reward. While they may seem daunting at first, and you’ll likely use them with trepidation at the beginning, you’ll learn as you go that they are a part of the game in many ways now. You can receive them as part of your reward for completing a quest, for example, and there are even some means that allow you to place them on formerly corruption-free zones, so there’s no running away from them. Once you accept the new element, you will be able to look at it in a new light. It represents a double-edged sword. Can you afford to take the hit and receive the bountiful rewards? Maybe you can box out a friend and force them to move to a corrupted spot so that they can acquire more Corruption than you. What if you can complete a quest that will remove those dreaded tokens as soon as you need them gone? This back and forth questioning will be present the whole time you play with the Skullport expansion. It’s even reflected in the final scorekeeping, because while someone might seems to be ahead in points, it doesn’t mean they’ll win, at least not until the Corruption is accounted for.

Skullport alone makes the entire expansion pack more than worth it for me. When played in unison with Undermountain however, it’s less an expansion and more like a sequel that surpasses the original. These expansions weren’t just made on a whim to squeeze you out of your money, for real effort was made so you could see the game in a new light and giving you so many more hours out of what was already an excellent game. My hat’s off to you, Wizards.

Second Opinions:

Alexandro Rios Scoundrels of Skullport, Lords of Waterdeep‘s first expansion, adds a nice twist to the original formula. While the original’s gameplay is a tight, fantastic experience in itself, the addition of two new locations and the new mechanic known as Corruption really helps raise the stakes.

These three small boards chance up the game in interesting ways.

Due to the new locations now on the board, players can push to complete quests much quicker than ever before. However, the risks of reaping such rewards are great, as they can really punish you in the endgame. This means that you really have to think before you leap here, and it gives the game a distinct feeling. In fact, it almost feels like a completely different game.

While the battle for resources has been lessened a bit due to new locations that offer the same things (or more), the tension of completing your missions and screwing others is still there. Add the ability to have a sixth player, and it becomes a war.

In the end, Scoundrels of Skullport is a solid addition to an already addictive game.

Eduardo Otero – Lords of Waterdeep is one of the best tabletop games I have ever played. But just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does. Enter Scoundrels of Skullport.

Lords of Waterdeep was damn near perfect as it was, so altering its great formula wouldn’t have been such a good idea or needed anyways, which in my opinion is the reason this expansion isn’t that much of a change to the game we’ve grown to love. It basically adds new options for the player to send their agents to, providing a deeper level of strategy, which is great.

That’s a nice looking board you got there.

The one thing that makes this expansion a lot more interesting is the addition of Corruption to the game. The cool thing this adds is the choice of obtaining instant power at the expense of potential punishment at the end of the game. It takes a while to adapt your style of playing to this (at least for me it did), but once you get the hang of it, it’s hard to avoid the temptation of playing a little “dirty” and going for the perks Corruption grants.

Now, although you have the choice as to how you manage your turns and build your strategy, steering clear of the new choices provided will probably prove to be a problem. This is because chances are that at least one player will take advantage of the new options and will probably leave everyone else behind, so although this expansion is technically just more options to choose from, it is just as much an obligation as it is an option to incorporate it to your strategy.

Honestly the new expansion didn’t blow me away, but it added a touch of freshness to the game which could be useful if you are one of those who play this game all the time.In closing, Scoundrels of Skullport is a good addition to a great game; the strategy is unharmed (actually expanded and given more depth), the gameplay is the same, the fun and satisfaction this game provides is still one of the best, and the game pieces are still as delicious-looking as before (careful with small children, maybe?). In other words, if you have the extra cash, definitely add this to your Lords of Waterdeep experience. If you don’t, then you’re not missing out on that much.

Did I mention Lords of Waterdeep is one of the best tabletop games I’ve ever played? Okay, I just wanted to make sure.

Javier Bernal – This new expansion adds to an already awesome game.

More cards please!

Now a Lords of Waterdeep match develops even quicker than before, thanks to the addition of the Corruption track. One can gain a lot more resources per turn now, helping you accomplish your plans even quicker than before. There is one downside to this however,as even though you can complete quests quickly, the Corruption takes points from your total score. What do you do?

After playing for the first time, I found that when you reach the half point of the game, you should start looking for ways to get your Corruption as low as possible. This makes for additional factors to keep in mind, which I think makes the experience that much more fun. The new changes to the point counting in the end also adds a bit more suspense, since you start deducting points per each corruption counter in your tavern.

All in all, Scoundrels of Skullport is a great expansion, and I think I prefer playing it more than the original. It doesn’t only add new places to explore, but it also adds new quest and lords, like Xanathar, who gives you extra points for each Corruption counter you have left at the end. I highly recommend this expansion.

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David Matos

I’m a Puerto Rican of the New York variety (more specifically a Brooklynite). I’m also a member of the US Marine Reserve. I’m an avid comic book reader as well, and if that’s not enough Nerd Cred I’m what’s known as the rare “Bi” Sci-Fi fan; that’s right, I love both Star Trek and Star Wars. As far as video games, I love me some Metal Gear.

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