Other than a handful of three player games, the rest of the games played were the desired four players. For the 48 four player games, winning scores ranged from 91 to 162 with an average of 131, which is the lowest of the three years the tournament has been running (average of 133 in 2015 and 135 in 2016). The average margin of victory was 10.4 points (down about 2 points from previous years) and 15 games were decided by 3 or fewer points (compared to 11 last year), including two ties broken by gold. As for the exceedingly close games where the difference between first and last place was less than 10 points, there were 3 occurrences this year which is in line with the 1 seen last year and the three seen in 2015.
Speaking of ties, like last year there were 5 other ties that determined positions other than the winner, all of which were broken by gold, including one game that had a three way tie. There is no master of ties this year.
Often the advantage of certain turn order positions are discussed, which normally focuses on the first or last player. For Lords of Waterdeep, the initial player order is randomly determined, and for subsequent rounds the first player position can be taken. Thus one might think that the initial player order doesn’t matter much, and that thought seems to be true when looking at the statistics over the past three years. Although any given year seems to have a hot seat, for 2017 this was seat 4, which is interesting considering seat 4 was the weakest seat up till now. Seat 3 may look like it is falling behind, but it has the highest percentage of 2nd place finishes and the second lowest average finish.
As for the lords, combining the three years of data results, Larissa, Kyriani, and Brianne remain above average, while Nindil and Nymara remain consistently below average. Leaving aside Larissa, the lord appearances over the last three years range from a minimum of 36 for Caladorn and Piergeiron to a maximum of 54 for Brianne. 2017 was the first year players were allowed the option, if all players at the table agreed, to remove Larissa from the game. I appears players took advantage of this with only 4 appearances of Larissa reported in 2017 compared to 15 for the previous two years.
One note before covering the final, congratulations to the Wolff family for taking 3 of the top 16 positions in the final heat ranking.
The final saw the initial player order of Rick Kirchner, Rob Kircher, Robert St. Pierre, and Chris Gnech, They had the following Lords, in order, Durnan the Wanderer, Nymara Scheiron, Kyriani Agrivar, and Caladorn Cassalanter.
Several unusual occurrences occurred during the game:
- Cliffwatch Inn started with many decent arcana quests, which led to Robert spending his first two turns collecting quests
- All three Bidding Wars Intrigue cards were played during the course of the game with two of them early.
Rogues were hard to come by with House of Good Sprits, built during round 5, being the only additional location where they could be obtained. This led to turn order being more important than usual with the first player was taken often.
Round 1 was mostly quiet with everyone collecting quests, adventurers, etc., although Rob played the Lack of Faith Intrigue card for a quick 6 points.
Round 2 saw Rick completing a quest and building House of Heroes., Rob completing the plot quest Establish New Merchant Guild, and Chris building Caravan Court. Round 2 finished with Rob leading with 14 points, followed by Rick with 6, Chris with 2, and Robert not scoring.
Round 3 was again pretty quiet with Rick completing a quest and Robert building Dragon Tower. Round 4 saw Robert and Chris each completing similar plot quests, Study the Illusk Arch and Bolster Griffon Cavalry respectively, and Robert building House of Wonder. Round 4 finished with Rick leading with 38 points, followed by Rob with 14 points, Chris with 15 points, and Robert with 10 points.
Round 5 had Rick, Chris, and Robert each completing quests and Rob completing two plot quests, Bribe the Shipwrights and Fence Goods for Duke of Darkness, which is a good combination that is even better with Nymara being Rob’s lord. Chris also built House of Good Spirit. Round 5 finished with Rick maintaining the lead at 49 points, followed by Rob with 32 points, Chris with 26 points, and Robert with 20 points.
Round 6 saw Robert make a mistake, as it was too late to really help, by taking and completing Recover the Magister’s Orb while Chris completed 2 quests. Rob built The Palace of Waterdeep, which he then replaced with The Golden Horn via the Real Estate Deal Intrigue card. This marked the last time Builder’s Hall was used and the last building brought into play. Round 6 finished with Chris jumping into the lead with 57 points, followed by Rick at 49, Rob at 42, and Robert at 28.
Round 7 was heavy on quest completion with everyone completing at least one. Robert also handed out mandatory quests to Rick and Rob which they completed during the turn. Heading into the final round Chris was leading with 81 points, followed by Rick at 78, Rob at 50, and Robert at 43.
Round 8 was much like round 7. Everyone completed at least one quest and two mandatory quests were handed out. Robert gave one to Rick and Rob gave one to Robert. Robert dealt with the mandatory quests by playing the Change of Plans Intrigue card. The final round ended with Chris leading with 99 points, followed by Rick at 93 points, Rob with 89 points, and Robert with 75 points. Final scoring didn’t affect the ordering as Chris won with 125 points with Rick close behind at 123 points, followed by Rob at 116 points and Robert at 112 points.