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

Quick Summary

Lords of Waterdeep is a captivating and strategic tabletop game that invites players into the bustling city of Waterdeep. With its engaging gameplay mechanics, immersive theme, and high-quality components, the game provides an exceptional gaming experience.

In Lords of Waterdeep, players take on the role of influential Lords seeking to enhance their power and influence by completing quests. Through resource management, strategic agent placement, and the effective utilization of Intrigue cards, players must carefully navigate the city and outwit their opponents to gain maximum victory points.

The game offers a seamless blend of strategy and resource management, allowing players to allocate resources, complete quests, and enhance their Lords' abilities. The beautifully illustrated artwork and well-crafted components immerse players in the high fantasy world of Waterdeep, enhancing the thematic experience.

Lords of Waterdeep also boasts exceptional replayability, thanks to the various quest types, randomization of buildings, and the availability of expansion modules. The depth of strategy allows for adaptability and multiple paths to victory, keeping players engaged and coming back for more.

With its intuitive gameplay, strategic decision-making, and immersive theme, Lords of Waterdeep is a must-play game for both casual gamers and hardcore board game enthusiasts. Prepare to embark on an adventure through the city streets, complete quests, manipulate the fate of Waterdeep, and emerge as the most influential Lord!


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Lords of Waterdeep! Whether you are a beginner looking to enhance your gameplay or a seasoned player aiming to refine your skills, this guide is designed to help you master the game and secure victory over your opponents.

Within this guide, you will find an outline of the game rules, ensuring you have a solid understanding of the mechanics and gameplay flow. Additionally, we will reveal tried and tested strategies that will give you a competitive edge, allowing you to dominate in the influential city of Waterdeep.

From optimal quest selection to maximizing the usage of Intrigue cards, we have distilled years of experience and gameplay wisdom into this guide, providing you with valuable insights and tips to elevate your gameplay. We will delve into the nuances of resource management, agent placement, and balancing short-term efficiency with long-term objectives.

Prepare to embark on a journey where strategic decision-making and astute resource allocation become your allies. Discover how to outmaneuver your opponents, complete lucrative quests, and become the most influential Lord of Waterdeep.

Are you ready to unlock the secrets to victory and establish yourself as a master strategist? Let’s dive in!

What’s in the box

  • Game Board
  • Card Sleeves (33 Standard Size Sleeves and 22 Grey Size Sleeves)
  • Rulebook
  • Turn Order Marker
  • First Player Marker
  • VP Tokens
  • Gold Tokens
  • Adventure Cubes
  • Building Ownership Tokens
  • Agent Pawns (In player colors)
  • Lord of Waterdeep Cards
  • Intrigue Cards
  • Quest Cards
  • Building Tiles
  • Building Ownership Cards

How To Play Lords of Waterdeep: Rules Summary


  1. Place the game board in the center of the playing area.
  2. Give each player a player mat, agents (pawns), and a specific color.
  3. Shuffle the Intrigue cards and Quest cards separately, placing them face-down.
  4. Deal one Lord of Waterdeep card to each player, keeping it secret.
  5. Construct the supply of Buildings and resources indicated in the rulebook.
  6. Place the VP tokens and Gold tokens within reach of all players.


The objective of Lords of Waterdeep is to earn the most victory points by completing quests and acquiring resources.


  1. Take turns in clockwise order.
  2. On your turn, you can either place an agent on an unoccupied building or recall all your agents back to your pool.
  3. Each building rewards resources or abilities based on its type.
  4. Agents placed on an Action Space can take specific actions indicated by the building.
  5. Complete quests by sacrificing the necessary resources.
  6. Play Intrigue cards to gain advantages, disrupt opponents, or alter the course of the game.
  7. Earn Victory Points through completed quests, Buildings, and your Lord card.
  8. The game ends after a certain number of rounds.
  9. Calculate your final score and the player with the most Victory Points wins.


  1. First, count the number of completed quests.
  2. If a tie still remains, count the number of Buildings owned.
  3. If necessary, count the amount of Gold and unused resources.
  4. If there is still a tie, the player with the first Player marker wins.

By following these rules, you can enjoy the strategic and immersive gameplay of Lords of Waterdeep. Dive into the legendary city, complete quests, accumulate resources, and emerge as the most influential Lord of Waterdeep.

Best Lords Of Waterdeep Strategies

Optimal Quest Selection

Choosing the right quests to undertake can significantly impact your chances of winning in Lords of Waterdeep. Here are some key strategies for optimal quest selection:

Focus on High-Value Quests:

  1. Prioritize quests that offer a high number of victory points to maximize your score.
  2. Target quests that provide additional benefits, such as resources, Intrigue cards, or the ability to play extra agents.

Diversify Quest Types:

  1. Strategically pursue quests from different categories (Warfare, Skullduggery, Piety, Arcana) to capitalize on bonuses and increase variety in your quest portfolio.
  2. Consider the availability of buildings and types of resources required for each quest type.

Pay Attention to Quest Prerequisites:

  1. Take note of the prerequisites for certain quests, such as needing specific resources or completed quests, and plan your actions accordingly to ensure smoother quest completion.
  2. Deal with quests that grant discounts on other quests early on, as they can provide long-term benefits and help save resources.

Track Quest Progress:

  1. Monitor the number of completed quests by your opponents to adjust your strategy. Focus on quest types that are less pursued to avoid competition and increase your chances of completing quests with ease.
  2. Utilize Intrigue card effects or special abilities from your Lord card to clear obstacles or sabotage opponents’ progress on their quests.

By carefully selecting quests and tailoring your approach based on the game flow and competition, you can significantly increase your chances of emerging victorious in Lords of Waterdeep.

Efficient Resource Management

Efficiently managing your resources is crucial for success in Lords of Waterdeep. Here are key strategies to optimize your resource management:

Prioritize Resource-Generating Buildings:

  1. Focus on buildings that provide a steady stream of resources such as adventurers or gold to support your quest completion.
  2. Consider investing in buildings with special abilities that allow you to gain additional resources or manipulate the availability of specific resources on the board.

Strategically Allocate Agents:

  1. Ensure you have enough available agents to collect the resources you need while also efficiently occupying buildings to fulfill quests.
  2. Utilize agent placements to block opponents from accessing vital resource-generating buildings and gain a competitive advantage.

Influence the Builder’s Hall:

  1. Control the buildings available at the Builder’s Hall by selectively completing quests that allow you to replace or shift existing buildings.
  2. Consider claiming a building that offers defensive benefits to counter opponent’s actions, protecting your resources and quests.

Strategic Quest Timing:

  1. Time your quest completion to match the availability of resources on the board or to take advantage of completed quests that grant additional resources.
  2. Consider the effects of Intrigue cards that can affect resource management, such as stealing resources from opponents or increasing your own resource production temporarily.

Strategic resource management in Lords of Waterdeep can maximize your quest completion efficiency and give you a competitive edge. By using these techniques to carefully allocate, generate, and control resources, you can secure victory and establish your reign over Waterdeep.

Strategic Agent Placement

Strategic placement of your agents is a crucial aspect of achieving victory in Lords of Waterdeep. Here are key strategies for optimizing your agent placement:

Secure Key Resource-Generating Buildings:

  1. Prioritize placing agents on buildings that provide essential resources such as adventurers or gold to support your quests.
  2. Consider placing agents early on high-value resource-generating buildings to establish an advantageous position.

Block Opponents and Deny Access:

  1. Strategically place agents to block opponents from accessing critical buildings, hindering their progress and denying them valuable resources.
  2. Ensure placements that restrict opponents’ access to key actions or quests, limiting their options and increasing your advantage.

Exploit Buildings’ Abilities:

  1. Take advantage of buildings’ special abilities when placing agents to gain extra resources, draw Intrigue cards, or trigger additional actions.
  2. Consider the long-term benefits of buildings with ongoing abilities, such as granting additional agents or resources every turn.

React to the Turn Order:

  1. Strategically adapt your agent placement based on the turn order and the potential benefits or detriments it offers.
  2. Place agents accordingly to take advantage of buildings that provide bonuses or modify turn order dynamics.

Efficient and strategic agent placement in Lords of Waterdeep plays a pivotal role in achieving success. By utilizing these strategies to secure vital resources, block opponents, and optimize building abilities, you can enhance your chances of emerging as the ultimate Lord of Waterdeep.

Maximizing Intrigue Card Usage

Effectively utilizing the power of Intrigue cards can greatly enhance your chances of victory in Lords of Waterdeep. Here are key strategies to maximize the usage of Intrigue cards:

Save and Play Impactful Cards:

  1. Hold onto valuable Intrigue cards until the opportune moment to make the most impactful move.
  2. Consider using cards that allow you to steal resources, block opponents’ quests or collect extra rewards when timing is advantageous.

Disrupt Opponents’ Plans:

  1. Play Intrigue cards strategically to hinder opponents’ progress or disrupt their planned actions.
  2. Consider playing cards that force opponents to discard beneficial quests or resources, adversely affecting their strategies.

Utilize Cards for Surprising Moves:

  1. Look for combinations between Intrigue cards and your predefined plans to execute surprising moves.
  2. Play cards that allow you to take extra actions, gain resources or complete quests more efficiently, catching opponents off-guard.

Manage Card Draw and Utilization:

  1. Plan your deck composition by selecting cards that synergize well and align with your overall strategy
  2. Draw additional cards through buildings or quests to increase the chances of having impactful options at hand.

Mastering the strategic usage of Intrigue cards is a potent tool to manipulate the game in your favor. By employing these strategies, you can gain a significant advantage and navigate the complexities of Lords of Waterdeep with finesse.

Balancing Short-term and Long-term Goals

Striking the right balance between short-term gains and long-term objectives is essential for achieving victory in Lords of Waterdeep. Here are key strategies for balancing your goals effectively:

Evaluate Quest Completion Benefits:

  1. Assess the immediate rewards and long-term benefits of each quest to determine their value in relation to your overall objectives.
  2. Prioritize quests that provide synergistic rewards or support your long-term strategy.

Manage Resource Allocation:

  1. Distribute resources efficiently between completing quests in the short term and investing in resource-generating buildings for long-term stability.
  2. Ensure a sufficient reserve of resources for emerging opportunities or handling unexpected challenges.

Adapt to the Game’s Progression:

  1. Stay flexible and adapt your goals as the game evolves and new opportunities arise.
  2. Reconsider your objectives based on how the turn order or distribution of resources may change the dynamics of the game.

Strategic Quest Completion Timing:

  1. Pace your quest completion strategically to maximize the impact of accumulated resources or bonuses.
  2. Consider if delaying quest completion may aid in setting up advantageous placements or disrupting opponents.

The delicate balance between short-term efficiency and long-term planning is key to success in Lords of Waterdeep. By employing these strategies, you can navigate the ever-changing landscape of the game and create a winning strategy that outshines your opponents.

Conclusion: Master the Art of Strategy

Congratulations! You have reached the end of our comprehensive strategy guide for Lords of Waterdeep. Armed with the knowledge and techniques provided throughout this guide, you are now equipped to dominate the city of Waterdeep and secure victory over your rivals.

We have covered various aspects of gameplay, including optimal quest selection, resource management, agent placement, maximizing Intrigue card usage, and balancing short-term efficiency with long-term objectives. By implementing these strategies and honing your decision-making skills, you can chart a path to success and become an esteemed Lord of Waterdeep.

Remember to adapt your strategies to the ever-changing game dynamics and seize upon opportunities as they arise. Maintain a keen eye for resource-generating buildings, disrupt your opponents’ plans through tactical use of Intrigue cards, and choose quests wisely to accumulate victory points and leave your mark on Waterdeep’s landscape.

Now it’s your turn to embark on your adventure and unveil your strategic prowess. We hope this guide enhances your enjoyment of Lords of Waterdeep and brings thrilling gameplay experiences to your table. May your quests be successful, your resources plentiful, and your victory extraordinary!

Want to know what we think of Lords of Waterdeep? Read our detailed review of Lords of Waterdeep 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.