For Terraforming Mars, we did use drafting and it was quite good. We had a total of 4 players, all of whom had played and had at least some familiarity with the cards so the draft went smoothly. The drafting really added some strategy: for example, I used a fairly flexible strategy aiming at city and greenery positioning and got more map points than anyone by about a dozen. However, another player had used drafting to selectively build a plant/animal/microbe engine and he ended up beating me for the win by about 20 points. He had 9 VPs on one single microbe card alone, b/c he had used drafting to create microbial synergy. So going forward I am definitely in favor of drafting TM.
As for Lords of Waterdeep, it’s got a certain elegance that I like (yeah, I know that’s the board game equivalent of “fun”) and I also enjoy the D&D theme, so I probably like it more than Tom. The expansion is interesting in that it comes in two “modules”, Undermountain and Scoundrels of Skullport. The Undermountain expansion just adds some slightly more potent placement slots and some great big whomping 40 point quests. It’s fun, but I consider it an example of the “let’s hope More is More” type expansion. Skullport on the other hand, adds a mechanic called corruption which is both an interesting wrinkle and also makes you factor in the other players. The total amount of corruption among all players makes each corruption token cost more in negative VPs. An example of how this worked is that one player had the Lord that gives VPs for corruption and early in the game he was going heavy corruption as the VP bonus was higher than the corruption VP penalty. However, as the game wore on, all of us became at least somewhat corrupt and the corruption penalty jacked up such that by the endgame, that player took a negative 48 point hit on his lord vs his corruption. Now, if we other players had avoided the corruption more, his strategy would have worked. I’m personally not sold on the corruption mechanic as I generally don’t love penalties and negative feedback loops in game design, but it might actually be worth Tom’s time to check it out. The Steam modules are currently on sale for like $3.49 or so - probably worth giving it a test. The AI is actually not bad in the games I’ve played on PC. If you pick just one, Tom, give Skullport a try. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the corruption mechanic. Last note: it may be that the corruption mechanic isn’t interesting vs. AI - it may be better vs. humans.