How To Play: Tyrants of the Underdark – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Tyrants of the Underdark is an immersive and strategic board game that combines deck-building and area control mechanics. With its captivating gameplay, stunning artwork, and depth of strategy, the game offers an exciting experience for both new and seasoned players alike.

Intrigue cards add an element of surprise and tactical maneuvering, allowing players to disrupt their opponents' plans and gain an advantage. Balancing unit deployment and positioning is crucial for controlling key regions and scoring points. The game offers various avenues for victory, including military strength, cunning espionage, and precise manipulation of the board.

By carefully managing their card decks, players can hone their strategies and adapt to the changing landscape of the game. Building powerful combos, choosing effective card synergies, and utilizing cards with recurring benefits can significantly impact a player's competitive edge.

Forging alliances and engaging in diplomatic relations with opponents highlight the interactive nature of the game. Succeeding in Tyrants of the Underdark requires not only individual tactics but also astute negotiations and mind games.

Overall, Tyrants of the Underdark provides a rich and dynamic gameplay experience. Its blend of deck-building, area control, and player interaction make it a must-play for strategy enthusiasts seeking a challenging and immersive board game.


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Tyrants of the Underdark! Whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned player looking to enhance your skills, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and winning strategies to conquer the dark and mysterious Underdark.

In this guide, we will not only outline the game rules and mechanics but also delve deep into the most effective strategies to achieve victory. Tyrants of the Underdark combines deck-building mechanics with area control, creating a unique and dynamic gameplay experience. It requires strategic thinking, careful planning, and adaptability to outmaneuver opponents and claim dominance in this treacherous realm.

Throughout this guide, we will cover key topics such as deck-building strategies, area control tactics, intrigue card management, board positioning, and player interaction strategies. By mastering these aspects of gameplay, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to secure victory and become the ruler of the Underdark.

Whether you prefer aggressive military tactics, cunning espionage, or strategic manipulation, this guide will provide you with the tools and insights to enhance your gameplay and compete at the highest level. So, get ready to dive into the world of Tyrants of the Underdark and discover the path to domination!

What’s in the box

  • 275 Cards
  • Game Board
  • Tokens
  • Rulebook

How To Play Tyrants of the Underdark: Rules Summary


  1. Place the game board in the center of the playing area.
  2. Shuffle the market deck and place it face-down next to the board.
  3. Set up the central deck with noble cards and epic event cards.
  4. Each player receives a starting deck and control markers.

Game Rounds

  1. The game is played over several rounds, each consisting of three phases.
  2. Intrigue Phase: Play Intrigue cards to manipulate the game or take special actions.
  3. Recruitment Phase: Acquire new cards from the market to add to your deck.
  4. Action Phase: Take turns deploying units and playing cards to control regions and gain points.

Unit Deployment

  1. Deploy units from your hand onto the game board.
  2. Units must either be placed in a controlled region or a region adjacent to a controlled region.
  3. Use units to control regions by having the most power in a region.

Controlling Regions

  1. Regions are controlled based on the total strength of your units in that region.
  2. Control markers are placed in regions that you control.
  3. Gaining control of regions grants various advantages and points.

Scoring and End Game

  1. The game ends when the noble deck and epic event deck are depleted.
  2. Final scores are tallied based on controlled regions, noble cards, and other objectives.
  3. The player with the highest score is declared the winner.

By following these rules of play, you’ll be ready to embark on your journey to dominate the Underdark. As you explore different strategies and marshal your forces, may you emerge victorious and claim your rightful place ruling over this dark and mysterious realm.

Best Tyrants Of The Underdark Strategies

Deck Building Strategies

Mastering the art of deck-building is crucial to gaining an edge in Tyrants of the Underdark. Here are some effective strategies to consider when constructing and managing your deck:

Focus on Card Efficiency

  1. Select cards with recurring benefits that allow for multiple uses.
  2. Choose cards that offer a good balance between cost and effect.
  3. Include cards with synergy, such as cards that enhance each other’s abilities.
  4. Remove weak or situational cards from your deck to maximize efficiency.

Diversify Your Card Types

  1. Include a mix of units, events, and nobles in your deck.
  2. Ensure a variety of abilities and effects are represented in your deck.
  3. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of different card types when making choices.
  4. Balance offense, defense, and utility cards to adapt to changing game situations.

Plan for Card Combos

  1. Identify synergistic card combinations to maximize their impact.
  2. Get familiar with powerful card synergies that can turn the tides of the game.
  3. Include cards that draw extra cards or allow for card cycling to increase the chances of drawing combos.
  4. Build your deck around strategic combinations that align with your overall game plan.

By following these effective deck-building strategies, you will enhance your chances of victory in Tyrants of the Underdark. Remember to adapt your approach based on game dynamics and leverage the versatility of your deck to outsmart your opponents.

Area Control Tactics

Securing control over key regions in Tyrants of the Underdark is vital to your path to victory. Employ these effective area control tactics:

Establish Early Presence

  1. Focus on placing your units strategically in key regions right from the start.
  2. Claim control of regions that offer valuable resources or advantages.
  3. Place units near opponents’ forces to deter them from encroaching on your territory.
  4. Make bold moves in the early game to set the tone and establish your dominance.

Expand Your Reach

  1. Gradually extend your control to nearby regions without spreading your forces too thin.
  2. Avoid direct confrontation with opponents’ powerful units unless you have a significant advantage.
  3. Maintain a balance between expanding your influence and consolidating control over existing regions.
  4. Strategically position units near regions controlled by opponents for potential power shifts.

Disrupt Your Opponents

  1. Play Intrigue cards to undermine your opponents’ plans and weaken their control.
  2. Dismantle their forces by targeting units that play crucial roles in their strategies.
  3. Form temporary alliances without revealing your true intentions to surprise rivals later on.
  4. Anticipate opponents’ moves and counter them by blocking their expansion or strategic actions.

By utilizing these effective area control tactics, you can not only dominate regions but also create a strategic advantage over your opponents. Adapt your approach based on the changing game dynamics and seize opportunities as they arise in the ever-shifting landscape of the Underdark.

Intrigue Card Management

Mastering the management of Intrigue cards is a key aspect of achieving victory in Tyrants of the Underdark. Here are some effective strategies to consider when utilizing these powerful cards:

Timing is Everything

  1. Play Intrigue cards strategically to disrupt your opponents’ plans at crucial moments.
  2. Hold onto cards until the right opportunity arises to maximize their impact.
  3. Observe the game state and player actions to identify optimal times to play Intrigue cards.
  4. Avoid using all your Intrigue cards too early and keep opponents guessing about your remaining arsenal.

Targeted Moves

  1. Use Intrigue cards to directly hinder opponents’ area control efforts or card strategies.
  2. Target vulnerable areas or valuable units to cripple opponents’ plans.
  3. Prioritize playing Intrigue cards that can potentially shift the balance of power or thwart opponents’ key moves.
  4. Plan and execute calculated moves to achieve the maximum disruption with limited Intrigue card usage.

Bluff and Misdirection

  1. Use Intrigue cards to mislead opponents about your true intentions or strategic focus.
  2. Play cards that may not immediately seem advantageous, creating doubt and confusion among your rivals.
  3. Employ deceptive moves, making opponents wary of your next actions and their potential consequences.
  4. Utilize the element of surprise to catch opponents off guard and gain an upper hand in the game.

By employing effective Intrigue card management strategies, you can disrupt your opponents’ plans and gain a strategic advantage. Remember to consider the timing, target specific moves, and utilize misdirection to outmaneuver your rivals and pave your path to victory in the Underdark.

Board Positioning

Strategic board positioning is instrumental in achieving victory in Tyrants of the Underdark. Here are some effective strategies to consider when placing your units and securing control over the board:

Control Key Regions

  1. Focus on securing control over regions that provide valuable resources or beneficial abilities.
  2. Deploy units strategically in regions adjacent to key contested areas to restrict opponents’ movements.
  3. Claim regions that offer favorable adjacency bonuses or monopoly over certain resource types.
  4. Prioritize controlling regions with high point values to boost your score during final scoring.

Strategic Unit Placement

  1. Position units to create strong defensive barriers, blocking opponents from advancing or seizing control.
  2. Spread out your forces to cover wider areas of the board and maximize your influence.
  3. Place units strategically to threaten opponents’ controlled regions and force them into defensive actions.
  4. Consider the movement abilities of certain units when positioning them to swiftly react to changing situations.

Flexibility in Approach

  1. Remain adaptable by positioning units across the board, preventing opponents from predicting your strategy.
  2. React to opponents’ moves by adjusting your unit placement and addressing their advances or potential threats.
  3. Be prepared to change your board positioning strategy as the game progresses and new opportunities arise.
  4. Keep opponents off balance by maintaining a versatile and elusiveness in your positioning.

By utilizing effective board positioning strategies, you can assert your dominance and exert control over the regions of the Underdark. With careful planning, tactical unit placement, and swift adaptability, you can outmaneuver your opponents and claim victory in this intense strategic game.

Player Interaction Strategies

Mastering player interaction is key to achieving victory in Tyrants of the Underdark. Here are some effective strategies to consider when engaging with your opponents:

Form Alliances

  1. Temporarily align with opponents to collectively thwart a common threat or achieve a shared objective.
  2. Exchange information, discuss strategies, and create trust to ensure the success of the alliance.
  3. Be mindful of potential betrayals and consider when it might be advantageous to break an alliance.
  4. Use alliances strategically to gain an advantage and then pivot when necessary to maintain your own success.

Create Diplomatic Relations

  1. Engage in negotiation and diplomacy to establish mutually beneficial agreements with opponents.
  2. Trade resources, regions, or favors to promote a sense of cooperation and goodwill.
  3. Use diplomacy as a means to redirect opponents’ attention or convince them to join your cause.
  4. Be wary of opponents using diplomacy to gain advantages or lure you into disadvantageous situations.

Psychological Warfare

  1. Use psychological tactics to create doubt, confusion, and distractions among your opponents.
  2. Bluff, mislead, or exaggerate to manipulate opponents’ actions and decision-making processes.
  3. Observe opponents and exploit their weaknesses, applying pressure to unsettle their strategies.
  4. Stay calm, composed, and confident to demonstrate strength and undermine opponents’ morale.

By effectively employing player interaction strategies, you can influence the game’s dynamics and gain an advantage over your rivals. Carefully assess the state of the game, adapt your tactics, and leverage your interpersonal skills to outmaneuver opponents, seize opportunities, and emerge victorious in the intense world of the Underdark.


Congratulations! You have completed our comprehensive strategy guide for Tyrants of the Underdark. By now, you should have a solid understanding of the game rules, along with effective strategies to dominate the Underdark and emerge victorious.

Through mastering deck building, area control tactics, intrigue card management, board positioning, and player interaction strategies, you now possess the tools to outwit your opponents, adapt to changing game dynamics, and secure control over the Underdark.

Remember, Tyrants of the Underdark is a game of both strategy and immersion. As you embark on your quests in the dark and mysterious depths, consult the lessons learned in this guide and be prepared for unexpected twists and turns.

Now it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Gather your forces, assemble your deck, and plunge into the depths of the Underdark. May your strategies be sharp, your wits be quick, and your dominance over the Underdark be unrivaled!

Want to know what we think of Tyrants of the Underdark? Read our detailed review of Tyrants of the Underdark 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.