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Tips & Strategies (57)

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9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
70 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“Locations, Locations, Locations!”

One of the great things about the worker placement game The Lords of Waterdeep is that you don’t have to choose between a bunch of bad options each turn but instead are choosing between a bunch of good ones. In order to win though, you still need to prioritize. With the exception of a couple mega-powerful quests (the lieutenant being the most obvious example), you typically should head first to the builders hall.

Especially in the early game – say rounds one through four or five – run don’t walk to the builders hall and build whatever structure you can afford. The buildings all provide better options for agent placement than the standard fare so your opponents will flock to them bringing you payment in return. Even if your opponents refuse to go, it is no matter because that allows you to take advantage of these powerful locales.

In the late stages of the game, buying new buildings may not be the optimum play since there are only a few rounds where your site might be used. In the early rounds however, there is rarely a better place to go as your real estate will churn out resources for you one way or another all game long.

Since only one player can go to the Builders’ Hall each round it is imperative that you head there first (and even target the Palace so you can go first each round in order to ensure your ability to get there). Blocking your opponents’ ability to build adds further icing to this sweet cake.

If you want to win in real estate, the slogan has always been “location, location, location.” If you want to win in The Lords of Waterdeep, your slogan should be “locations, locations, locations!”

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9
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
97 of 101 gamers found this helpful
“Levelling the Playing Field for All Lords”

Larissa Neathal is the most complicated Lord to play as – she scores through building rather than completing quests, and it’s much easier for your opponents to stop you from building than it is to keep all quests of the type you require away from you.

I have seen a few players have runaway victories playing her, but it’s entirely dependent on staying below the radar… said players can make it to round 6 or 7 without being spotted, and already have the necessary buildings/first turn marker to hold on for the win. But much more often I see people get crushed because their opponents realize by round 3 at the latest that they need to build to win; then they just make sure they keep first turn away from the player stuck with Larissa and play Builder’s Hall first.

Having had this happen to me once, it’s about the only way to NOT enjoy Lords of Waterdeep. The game will be no fun for the next hour as you watch your opponents stack up completed quests you know will bury you in the end.

We’ve implemented a house rule that allows any player randomly assigned Larissa at the beginning of the game to announce it and draw the next Lord from the top of the pile. This way, you can CHOOSE to play her and try to keep everybody else off your trail long enough to win (and probably win big), or you can cash her in for a more normal game. I like this better than removing Larissa from the deck entirely because everybody can still be suspicious at each building purchased provided nobody cashed her in at the beginning.

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8
Professional Reviewer
Canada
I play black
Silver Supporter
31 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“More actions - more points”

Do not ignore intrigue cards – every time you get to play one and then meaningfully re-assign your agent you’ve just gone twice in a round, gaining an advantage over your opponents.

This becomes especially viable as the number of buildings increases and waiting until the end of the turn doesn’t limit your options too drastically.

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7
Book Lover
Knight-errant
Tinkerer
Novice Reviewer
30 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Watch for quest reward synergy”

While it is best, generally speaking, to focus on completing quests that will garner you additional points through your Lord card, pay attention to the various rewards all the different quests provide. Completing quests that provide you with more resources frequently makes it easier to complete more quests more quickly, even if the resource-granting quest won’t directly get you extra points at the end of the game.

Quest reward synergy is especially important if you find yourself in a game where one or more of the resources remains critically low. (I played one game where the only place to get fighters off the board for the first six rounds was at the Field of Triumph. Quests and Intrigue cards that gave fighters were in high demand.)

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7
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
The Gold Heart
Pick a Favorite LGS
43 of 45 gamers found this helpful
“When to get the Lieutenant. (Or when not to.)”

Always grab and complete the card quest that gives you the Lieutenant as soon as possible. In the first couple rounds if possible because an extra action each turn is a tremendous help. On the other hand if you are in the last few turns then don’t bother. It takes a lot of resources to get him and he’s not worth it if you can only use him for a turn or two.

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7
Strategist
The Gold Heart
Treasure Chest
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Mandatory Quest Strategy”

Mandatory Quest cards are probably best used as late in the game as possible. That way, you can use it on the leader, or at least someone who is ahead of you (or immediately behind). All while hitting them with it at a most crucial time in the game.

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7
Strategist
The Gold Heart
Treasure Chest
27 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Attack Intrigue strategy”

In a game that’s more about trying to out-race your opponent(s) to the highest point total than about actually beating them down (which I like btw), the Attack cards, while relatively weak, must be used wisely.

Specifically, the ones where the opponent must take (x) from their tavern and place it back in supply OR you get a benefit. Their power is actually scaled to how many people are playing. If you only have one opponent, then you can only get [2 VP, 2 gold, 1 Intrigue, or 1 Quest]. So the more opponents you have, the greater benefit for you, while still not being all that powerful of an obstical for your opponent.

Therefore, I think it’s best to play these cards early in the game when more of your opponents won’t have the colored cube in their Tavern.

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9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
69 of 73 gamers found this helpful
“Faction Flavor”

In order to add more theme to the game, here is a great idea I picked up from Chris “Myoman” Wood at BGG. At the beginning of the game only, have each faction start with an appropriate lead in a certain category (players must select their faction before being assigned a Lord when using this set-up):

Starting Faction…………………….Starts the Game With
City Guard………………………….2 Fighters in their Tavern
Harpers…………………………….1 Wizard in their Tavern
Red Sashes………………………….2 Rogues in their Tavern
Silverstars…………………………1 Cleric in their Tavern
Knights of the Shield………………..4 Extra Gold

I think the thematic element is obvious and fun with this as the “lead” makes sense to the stories of these factions. (The advantages gained are also minor enough not to be game determinative even in the luckiest of faction, leader, quest combos that might arise…and if you are really worried about that then just play it the normal way!)

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2
Critic - Level 1
38 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“Picking plot quests”

Early game, try getting a few plot quests that have interesting benefits, even if they don’t match your Lord. Some benefits can be game-changing fo you (Recover the Orb is one: it lets you place agents where other players have them; It’s especially good for taking the First Player marker every rond. Recruiting the lieutenant is another great one).

Near the end game, plot quests may be less useful: you have few turns left to use their benefits, and they don’t offer a large victory-point-payoff.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
37 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Cliffwatch Purging for Early Plot Quests”

By now, most of us understand that focusing on your lord’s quest types of choice is a good idea. The bonus four points per completed quest is huge. The plot quest’s that earn you an additional two can help extend this lead even further. During the first few turns, if you don’t see either of the two you need already in someone’s possession, I recommend a few random digs through the quest deck to procure them.

Use the last action space on Cliffwatch Inn to clear all quests and reveal four new ones. Even if you don’t locate the specific plot quests you are looking for, you my find others that can help set your strategy. You will usually pick up a few quests that you can complete later anyway. This also tends to disrupt others by ripping past quests they may need.

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5
Intermediate Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
Sophomore
14 of 14 gamers found this helpful
“(Almost) Any Plot Bonus is a Good Bonus”

I’ve been playing Lords of Waterdeep both on the table and digitally (if you haven’t played the digital version on iOS, you’re missing out) since the game first came out, and I can’t stress enough how impactful aggressively pursuing plot quests can be — even when they’re not directly helping your hidden Lord card. It’s true with the base set, and even more true for the expansions.

In every game I play, the first two things I check are the available buildings and the quests available in the Inn. If there’s a building that kicks back anything other than victory points, I set my sights on it right away. If there’s a plot quest that kicks back free cubes, gold, or actions (Recruit Lieutenant and Study in the Librarium are key examples), grab them as early in the game as possible. The strategy trails off in effectiveness around turn five or six, depending on the effect, but done early, each of these “kickback” plot quests can easily net you the effects of 1-3 extra turns each round. Spread out over the course of a game, these extra turns will easily allow you to complete plenty of quests relevant to your Lord card by the end.

Additionally, the 40-point quests from Scoundrels of Skullport are significantly easier to complete when you’re picking up an extra 3 to 5 resources per round, and are always worth completing regardless of your alignments.

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7
Advanced Reviewer
It's All About Me
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed
46 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Make the Crescents Four Gold Each”

Silly little rule that’s made a couple of the buildings much simpler to manage lately. Since nothing in the game needs five-gold increments, but plenty need four, this helps speed things up.

A building stockpiles four gold per round? Crescent.
Landed on the Market? Crescent.
Turning in a huge quest? Two Crescents.

And then at the end of the game, a Crescent is worth two VPs.

Minor tweak to an otherwise fantastic game.

Gamer Avatar
8
Gamer - Level 8
Stone of the Sun
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
Champion
30 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Hire Adventurers at the End.”

If you are only going to be able to complete one or two low value quests in the final turn, it may be better to stock up on adventurers and coin and just hold on to them for final point scoring. It will depend on the quests you have at the end, but don’t waste your adventurers needlessly for a weak quest in the final turn.

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3
Went to GenCon 2011
20 of 21 gamers found this helpful
“Balanced Start for the game”

As we played this game we found that there were occasions where one player would receive a phenomenal starting set of cards (quests, intrigue, and lord). In order to balance it we play with a passing start. It goes like this:

First, pass the following to each player to view: 2 Lord cards, 3 Quest cards, and 3 Intrigue cards

Second, each player will select 1 quest and 1 Intrigue card from those provided and pass 1 of each to their left and one of each to their right. (in two player games this will be the same person)

Third, each player will select 1 quest and 1 Intrigue card from those passed to them and discard the other.

Fourth, each player will select a lord from their two and discard the other.

Overall we find that this insures that you receive top pick of your initial hand but will not receive a mind blowing combo unless the people you have passing to you are also receiving a good setup. It simply removes some of the starting luck.

Additionally, we typically do a switchback on the player order allowing each player from last to first select one resource as if they had played an agent (i.e. 2 orange, 2 black, one purple, one white, or 4 coin) with no two players getting the same resource. This provides some balance on the player order beyond that single coin.

Combined we have found these house rules to remove a lot of the start game luck and give you a chance to customize your initial direction. The only downside is mixing brand new players with experienced will potentially give the experienced players an even greater edge.

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5
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Australia
37 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“First in best dressed!”

Jump the queue: Always consider taking First Player Marker (@Castle Waterdeep) or the Ambassador (@building: The Palace of Waterdeep) when available. The power you can get from them is somewhat underestimated. You can either capture the resources you need early, or put a stranglehold on your opponents ability to progress (re: Builder’s Hall).

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Sometimes Denial Really IS Just A River In Egypt”

While seeking a particular resource, there are many times when the decision is between a standard or an advanced building. The advanced provides a bonus, but it also helps an opponent. Often I choose to go for my minimum requirements in an effort to deny the builder his reward.

It is important to watch for situations when you know that a third player will select the advanced building anyway. In this case, your denial plan will only be shorting yourself as that location’s payoff was triggered despite your avoidance.

Example: You need two fighters. You KNOW that Player A also needs fighters. Player B owns “Fetlock Court” (Select to gain two fighters and one wizard, but B will get one of his choice also). If you choose “Field of Triumph” (Select to gain two fighters), Player A will still activate the Court and gain the extra wizard that you could have had!

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3
Went to GenCon 2011
18 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“Intrigue plus building for the win”

If you can get yourself into a groove where you are getting and playing intrigue cards it will often make the difference between winning and losing. Even those intrigue that don’t appear to make a difference may be an investment or cost an opponent. Even the psychological factor of getting to reallocate your agents can have a demoralizing effect on your opponents.

The best way to insure the effectiveness of any intrigue played is to make sure that there are enough locations on the board that the reallocation of your agents isn’t a waste. So, buy buildings. encourage others to buy buildings. Get those extra allocation spot on the board and then churn through as many intrigue as you can.

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6
United Kingdom
Intermediate Reviewer
Video Game Fan
18 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“Long game - more rounds”

If you feel like your game of Lords of Waterdeep is over a bit too quickly, add a couple of extra rounds at the end of the game – there are enough victory point counters in the box for them and still enough room for one building to be built per round.

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9
USA
Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
56 of 62 gamers found this helpful
“Ignore the 25VP Quests ~ A LoW Strategic Tip”

Unless you are Larissa, the Large VP Quests may be a drag on your time commitment.
You can probably complete 2 smaller quests and get more Lord bonus points if you choose two smaller quests… with less of a chance of wasting a turn… which might mean getting three quests in (depending on if someone quest-blocks you if they figure out what you need which is not hard).

LoW Strategic Tip ~ Bigger is not Always Better. Go for the Smaller Quests

Granny Approved

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3
PC Game Fan
23 of 25 gamers found this helpful
“Build Lord Stratagem”

If you end up as the build lord, in my experience the finance quests are the most useful, not only do they generate the money you need to buy buildings in Waterdeep but they also contain chances to get new buildings as rewards for completing the quest.

Because your first agent should be used to create a building you will then have the rest of your agents free to either:
a) complete finance/other quests which focus on point yield so the 20-25 point quests in any category
b) sabotage your fellow players – by using intrigue cards that alter play or which give you cash for wizards/rogues/etc returned to the tavern or by specifically blocking agents you know someone needs for a high scoring run. By blocking the buildings within waterdeep proper you can force people to use your buildings and thus mine rewards from building use

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