How To Play: Dungeon Lords – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Mastering Dungeon Lords requires understanding the intricate phase order, sufficient resource management, and the art of anticipating opponents' moves. Effective planning, strategic thinking, and careful observation from setup to the final scoring are crucial for claiming victory in the depths of this competitive underworld.


Welcome to your ultimate guide on ‘How To Play Dungeon Lords’! If you’re ready to master the dark arts of dungeon management, you’ve come to the right place. Together we’ll delve deep into the nefarious world of this strategically complex game. This isn’t just about knowing the rules, but weaving them into a tapestry of victory through cunning strategy. We’ll explore the nuances from setup to final scoring, equipping you with the insight needed for a triumph that isn’t left to chance. Prepare for anecdotes, tactics, and treasures of advice that will leave your opponents marveling at your dark dominion. Let’s begin our descent!

What’s in the box

  • 1 Two-sided Central Board
  • 4 Individual Dungeon Boards
  • 1 Two-sided Progress Board
  • 1 Two-sided paladin’s Board
  • 4 Plastic Minion Figures
  • 132 Cards
  • 101 Cardboard Counters
  • 32 Plastic Imp Figures
  • 3 Plastic Troll Figures
  • 26 Wood Tokens
  • 1 Starting Player Token
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Playbook

How To Play Dungeon Lords: Rules Summary

Setting Up Your Dungeon

Kick-off your subterranean reign by preparing the game. Spread out the central board, giving each player their personal dungeon board, a set of orders, and tokens. Next, populate the board with event, trap, monster, and room cards.

  1. Distribute starting resources (gold, minions, food) according to the rules.
  2. Place the turn marker at the beginning of the turn order track.
  3. Set every player’s evilometer to the neutral position to track their uprising T;
  4. Ensure each player has three tunnels dug in their starting dungeon.

Gameplay: Dig, Defend, and Dominate

Dungeon Lords is played over two years, each split into four seasons. You’ll be digging tunnels, building rooms, setting traps, recruiting monsters, and getting ready to fend off pesky heroes.

  1. Competitively select orders in secret and reveal them to perform various actions.
  2. Manage your minions to execute tasks while considering their upkeep.
  3. Gather resources and construct a formidable dungeon that’s both expansive and efficient.
  4. Prepare for the annual arrival of heroes looking to test your dungeon’s mettle.

Victory: The Supreme Dungeon Lord

Winning in ‘How To Play Dungeon Lords’ comes down to points. After two years of in-game time, tally your achievements in evil deeds, constructed traps, and monster recruitment.

  1. Count the points from your successfully defended dungeon against heroes.
  2. Add additional points from gold, leftover resources, and bonuses from rooms.
  3. Subtract points for any wounds your dungeon has suffered.
  4. The player with the highest score is crowned the ultimate Dungeon Lord!

Special Rules & Conditions: Knowing the Nitty-Gritty

Your journey will include mastering the finer details and understanding the unique scenarios that may occur.

  1. Remember to account for the evilometer; lower-ranking evils have certain advantages during hero invasions.
  2. Advanced rooms and traps have their specific rules and bonuses which can be critical to your game plan.
  3. Adjust your strategy if ‘paladins’ come knocking, as they are the heroes’ hard-core version and need special attention.
  4. Each type of minion has unique abilities; utilize them properly to gain tactical advantages.

Best Dungeon Lords Strategies

Mastering the Art of Strategy in Dungeon Lords: Phase Order and Planning

When delving into the intricate world of Dungeon Lords, I can’t stress enough the importance of grasping the phase order for executing your strategies effectively. Firstly, there’s the season cycle – spring, summer, autumn, and winter – that dictates your crucial decision-making activities. Everything flows from one phase dashboard to the next, so getting your ducks in a row early on has always been pivotal during our game nights.

Strategize from Season to Season

  1. Spring is preparation – it’s where you need to dig out room for your operations efficiently. Underestimating the need for space, I recall a game where my later conquests were stifled simply due to my overcrowded dungeon!
  2. Summer beckons growth, where rooms and recruiting monsters happen. If you planned well, you’ll know exactly which room benefits your strategy. I failed once by randomly building rooms and the disjointed effects were a lesson hard learned.
  3. Autumn is the calm before the storm – traps are laid. Here’s where your forward-thinking shines or dims. Strategically placing traps in my games has taken down many heroes that would’ve otherwise been overwhelming.
  4. Winter, the heroes’ arrival, is the true test of the preceding efforts. Reflecting on past games, adequate preparation in the previous seasons allowed me to repel invasions with ease.

Being fretful or scatterbrained during any phase could bottleneck your progress. There was a time I played loosely in the early phases, thinking I could catch up, but alas, the lack of resources hindered my dungeon’s defenses gravely. Consequently, anticipating and planning meticulously for each phase and realizing how they interconnect fundamentally shapes how one conquers or crumbles in Dungeon Lords.

A Master’s Guide to Resource Management in Dungeon Lords

Learning How To Play Dungeon Lords taught me one thing very clearly—effective resource management often spells the difference between victory and defeat. In essence, your minions, gold, and food are the lifeblood of your dungeon. Without them, you can’t build structures or hire help to defend against the goody two-shoes heroes who try to come crashing through your doors.

Program Your Resources

Foresight is key, folks. When I planned my actions for four turns ahead, ensuring my resources would align with my objectives, I maneuvered myself into a formidable position. Impressively enough, doing so transformed potential losses into resounding victories a few times over!

  1. Assess upcoming costs and potential gains each turn.
  2. Prioritize actions that give you the most bang for your buck.

Critical Moments in Resource Allocation

Nothing feels worse than missing out on a crucial recruitment or construction by a hair’s breadth. Staying one step ahead, thinking about what’s needed and when, gave me the upper hand in clutch moments. Pre-planning turned desperate scrambles into calculated engagements.

  1. Always have a contingency plan for unexpected shortages.
  2. Know which resources are more precious in context to current and upcoming threats.

Balancing Act: Minions, Gold, and Food

The triad of resources can be a delicate balancing act. Securing an awesome creature only works if you’ve got the gold and food to maintain it. There came rounds when one wrong move could have spelled disaster, but with care, and even a sacrifice here and there, equilibrium was maintained and my dungeon thrived.

  1. Prioritize resources needed immediately without jeopardizing future turns.

Master the Art of Prediction: Stay Ahead of Your Rival Dungeon Lords

Anticipating opponents’ strategies is a critical component in ‘How To Play Dungeon Lords’. Vigilance is key because, every move your adversary makes, is part of a larger strategy that you need to unravel to win. Reflecting on my sessions, I’ve learned that taking a moment to consider why an opponent digs a certain tunnel or hoards resources can reveal much about their future intentions.

Assess Opponent’s Actions

  1. Scrutinize each move others make––your enemies’ actions could hint toward future plans.
  2. Pay close attention especially to uncommon or aggressive plays as they can signal a shift in strategy.

Plan Proactively

  1. Don’t wait––adapt your strategy in real-time based on the lead and subtle cues from your opponents.
  2. Always keep a backup plan ready, in case you need to respond to an unexpected move.

Counter Strategize

  1. Create several contingency plans to toggle between; a hook into an adversary’s unexpected move can be your lifeline.
  2. A diversified approach will often disrupt the rival’s flow and give you an edge.

Like the time my overconfidence in my secure defenses led to an utter downfall when an opponent surprised me with a horde of adventurers I completely overlooked. Learn from such experiences: Recognize pattern breaks, untangle complications early, and always remember, a cunning adversary is an opportunity in disguise for a prepared Dungeon Lord.

Dungeon Mastery: Sealing the Victory

As we lay the final stone of our ‘How To Play Dungeon Lords’ strategy guide, remember that the path to becoming a legendary dungeon lord is both treacherous and exciting. Harness the powers of careful planning, witty resource management, and keen anticipation of your competitors’ tactics to emerge victorious. Combine these skills with your personal touch and a sprinkling of adventurous spirit, and soon you’ll master the underground realms. Employ these strategies and lead your minions to glory, ensuring that your dungeon withstands the test of heroes and time alike!

Want to know what we think of Dungeon Lords? Read our detailed review of Dungeon Lords here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.