Scoundrels of Skullport is an awesome expansion for the TechRaptor-approved board game Lords of Waterdeep. Published by Wizards of the Coast, Scoundrels of Skullport is a modular expansion that adds a great deal of variety to the game as well as the option to play Lords of Waterdeep with a 6th player. Modular expansions are great because they significantly increase re-playability by giving players the option to play the game in various configurations as well as giving the option to add in the parts that players like while excluding others that they aren't fond of. Thankfully both of Scoundrels of Skullport's modules are excellent, whether played by themselves or mixed together as one big expansion.
What is Scoundrels of Skullport?
The first of Scoundrels of Skullport's two modules is Undermountain. Undermountain focuses on 'more' and 'bigger.' Some of the quest rewards in Undermountain dwarf (hurr hurr) are the rewards offered in the base game. Acquiring these rewards comes at much greater costs than normal quests, though. The Buildings, Intrigue, and Lords of Undermountain also carry the more/bigger feeling and really give the game some fun strategic options. The Undermountain additions allow resources to flow at a more rapid pace which gives players the option of completing a bunch of smaller and cheaper quests or stockpiling resources and going for broke on the really expensive quests that have huge payouts. It can be very satisfying to work towards and complete one of the Undermountain quests that pay out a massive 40 points.
The Skullport module is the more devious of the two. Skullport introduces a new type of resource to the game called Corruption. Many of Skullport's Intrigue cards, Buildings, and quests deal directly with acquiring or discarding Corruption, and Skullport's Lords have a unique feel, with one even granting bonus points at the end of the game for each Corruption that you have. Corruption is worth negative points to each player who has it at the end of the game, with the overall negative value of the Corruption being determined by the total Corruption that players accumulate.
How it Feels to Play Scoundrels of Skullport
It's a great feeling to deftly outmaneuver your opponents and see them get stuck with a punishing amount of Corruption. Players often compete to see who can most efficiently balance the Corruption they take versus how much they can force onto their opponents. The balancing act and risk versus reward of Corruption really give the game a more competitive environment, as even the players who try to avoid taking Corruption from Buildings and quests will need to be mindful of it.
Both modules are great by themselves, but my favorite way to play is to use both Skullport and Undermountain together. While using one or the other tends to see players focus their strategy on one thing, playing with both turns the game into a free for all where players need to adjust on the fly. Interesting options abound as players maneuver to score big on quests, balance their Corruption and outmaneuver each other with clever play. Adding the additional Lords into the mix helps shake up the game even further as it becomes much more difficult to guess which strategy players are attempting.
The components are excellent and nearly exactly match the base game, although coloring on the additional pawns for the base game's factions doesn't quite match. The box insert holds everything in place, and the box is the same length and width as the base game, which means they stack nicely and neatly on top of each other.
Is Scoundrels of Skullport Worth Your Money?
Scoundrels of Skullport is an awesome expansion featuring two modules that are great by themselves and even better together. This is a must-have expansion for anyone who likes Lords of Waterdeep. Scoundrels of Skullport adds more of what makes Lords of Waterdeep great while changing up the formula in fun and interesting ways.
The copy of Scoundrels of Skullport used in this review was purchased by the author. This review was originally published on 04-07-2015. While care has been taken to update the piece to reflect our modern style guidelines, some of the information may be out of date. We've left pieces like this as they were to reflect the original authors' opinions, and for historical context.