In the city of Waterdeep rests a tavern called the Yawning Portal, named after the gaping pit in its common room. At the bottom of this crumbling shaft is a labyrinth dungeon known as Undermountain, domain of the mad wizard Halaster Blackcloak, who has seeded his lair with monsters, traps, and mysteries.
As an adventurer in the Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage board game, explore Undermountain in search for treasure while navigating numerous traps and ominous monsters.
Players can now get to level 4 with their characters and gain even more powers!
New! Environment cards that get replaced when a new Environment card is drawn.
New! Bane/Boon cards – some effects will cause a draw of these cards, telling you to resolve their bane or boon effect.
Following in the path of the other critically-acclaimed D&D board games, Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage features multiple scenarios, challenging quests and game play designed for a single player or a cooperative group of 2-5 players. The Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage Adventure System Board Game features new Environment and Bane/Boon cards, as well as the Trap and Spell decks that premiered in Tomb of Annihilation, for even more exciting game play content!
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage can also be combined with the other D&D Adventure System Cooperative Play Board Games, including the terrifying Tomb of Annihilation, Temple of Elemental Evil, The Legend of Drizzt, Castle Ravenloft, and Wrath of Ashardalon, to create an even more exciting experience.
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage is designed by Kevin Wilson and published by WizKids. It's a classic, co-operative, campaign-based dungeon crawler set in the dungeons and caverns beneath Waterdeep. All of the action unfolds within the famous Dungeons and Dragons universe.
When you pick up the box it is clear there is loads of content, it is very heavy. There are several cardboard sheets to punch out all the dungeon tiles, markers, coins and so much more besides. You get 43 minis including monsters, villains and your five intrepid heroes. They are:
- The Dwar.
- The Human Paladin.
- The Elf Cleric.
- The Sorcerer.
- The Tiefling Fighter.
It is worth noting that the game provides some amazing, stand-out monsters including the large death tyrant.
Waterdeep can be played with any of the D&D adventure system series. You can design your own campaign or choose to follow the campaign outlined in the booklet included in the box. This campaign starts in an inn in Waterdeep where you enter the cavern in search of a group of bandits.
Playing the Game
All campaigns in Waterdeep follow a similar set-up. You pick the heroes you will play as, take the player card and choose from a set of special abilities and weapon cards. Each character is allotted different arrangements of these cards, which can be used in different ways during the story.
Some weapons are one use only so should be timed carefully. Others can be used on each of your turns. The player board outlines your starting health and you collect that many HP tokens. It also outlines other key stats including the following.
- Speed - Equates to how many squares you can move on the dungeon tiles.
- Armour Value - Important in combat.
- Surge - Important because if you lose all your HP, this is the level you will reset to after using a healing surge.
You place the starting tile on the table and create a pile of the dungeon tiles that you will draw from to add to the dungeon you create as your heroes explore. Whenever your hero reaches the edge of a tile, you draw a tile and add it to the map. You then resolve encounters and spawn the monsters and traps outlined on the tile and if you are lucky you may even get some treasure.
Encounter, treasure, spell, monster, trap and bane and boon cards are shuffled and placed within easy reach of players. The tokens you will need are also placed within reach. Place your hero mini on the board, decide who is going first and then your adventure can begin.
Turns follow the same order. Heroes are allowed two actions. There is one free move that is carried out before or after the action phase which can include: combat, movement, attempting to disarm traps and picking up treasure.
If the hero reaches the edge of a tile, a new tile is flipped over and added to the dungeon. If a monster icon is on the new tile, a monster card is drawn from the deck and given to the hero who explored the tile and the minis are placed on their spots. The monsters then attack.
The monster attack follows clear guidance on their card, with all attacks following a similar theme. The monster moves before rolling the D20 dice and add to the strength of the monster. If this number is greater than the armour of the hero, the hero takes hit points according to the damage outlined on the monster card. If it is less, the monster misses with their attack. Depending on the tile an encounter may be drawn and this will be resolved, these are often negative.
Once a player's monsters have all activated it is the next player's turn. If they choose to attack a monster, they follow the same procedure although they can utilise a choice of weapons spells or treasure items they may have found. Successful killing of monsters provides treasure. Often, this is in the form of coins but can also be special items or abilities. Monsters and heroes can be stunned and weakened all of which has an impact on your next turns and markers make it easy to follow who is carrying any form of damage.
The heroes march on exploring tiles watching out for and disarming traps wherever they appear so as not to lose too much HP. However, if a hero does lose HP, they are placed on their side. At the start of their next turn, they can use a healing surge if they have one to reset some of their HP and lose any weaknesses they may have picked up from monster attacks. However, these must be used wisely as they are limited. In the first game you have two available. If all helping surges are used up, the player is out of the game and he heroes lose this part of the story and must start again.
Heroes continue until they have met the objective of that story. They can then use the treasure they have amassed to buy upgrades, treasure or level up their character ready for the next stage of the campaign. This allows for real character development as you play through the campaign. There are a set of additional cards that are not used during early parts of the campaign. This increases the difficulty as you work towards the end of the story.
Final Thoughts on Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Waterdeep: Dungeons of the Mad Mage is a great dungeon crawler, reminding many of the joy of an RPG without the need for a DM. It brings the classic world and characters to life but in a great board game.
The look and feel of the game is great, the miniatures are stunning and the sheer amount of components you get make for a whole load of replay-ability. So, grab your team of heroes, pick your weapons, and roll that D20! Let's go on an adventure through the Dungeon of the Mad Mage.