Lords of Waterdeep Tips and Strategies

How to own your friends at Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy board game set in the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting first created by designer Ed Greenwood in the 1960s. As one of the masked lords of Waterdeep, you align with a secret mentor, then recruit and send out agents to comb the city for adventurers to carry out quests and sabotage your opponents with subterfuge and intrigue.

Screenshot of the map in Lords of Waterdeep
 Playdek, Inc.

One of the fun aspects of Lords of Waterdeep is how it plays out differently each game. There is no one perfect strategy because each game you have a different mentor and are focused on different types of quests. This means you have to devise your strategy after the game starts. And this only gets more intriguing if you are playing with the expansions. Here are some tips for getting the better of your opponents.

This guide applies to the PC version of Lords of Waterdeep.

Focus Your Quests

The game starts with the unveiling of your lord, which usually means a bonus for quests of two different types. These are the type of quests you want to concentrate on during the game. It's a good strategy to focus most of your attention on just one type of quest. So, if you get Durnan the Wanderer, who gives bonuses for commerce and warfare, you might concentrate on warfare, which mostly uses fighters to carry out the quests.

Some Quests Are Better in the Beginning

The first thing you should do when starting a new game is to assess the quests you get in the beginning and what quests are available on the board. Some are better the earlier you solve them, such as a quest that gives you a reward every time you complete a task. 

Buy a Building Early on in the Game

You get more out of buildings the earlier you buy them, so they're most valuable in the first few rounds of the game. If there's a building that grants adventurers of the same type you need to complete quests for your lord, buying it in the early rounds means more quests completed by the end of the game.

Always Calculate Victory Points

Ultimately, victory points are the key to winning Lords of Waterdeep. Adventurers are worth one point, and you get one point for every two coins. You can use this formula to calculate which quest gives the best rewards. If a quest requires four adventurers and four coins, for example, it has a cost of six victory points. If it only gives eight victory points, you only gain two points for completing the quest. If it grants eight victory points and two fighters, you effectively gain four points for the quest.

Sometimes, Doing a Quest Outside of Your Lord Bonus Is Worth It

This goes hand-in-hand with calculating victory points. Some quests have a low cost, require just a few adventurers, and grant a fair amount of victory points. So, if you see a quest that requires a wizard, a thief, and a fighter, and it grants eight points, don't worry about your lord bonus, just go for it.

Selling Adventurers Can Be a Good Deal

If an opponent plays an Intrigue card offering victory points for adventurers, this is usually a good exchange. You get more victory points than the adventurer or coin is worth. But, watch out for the hidden catch. While you're gaining more victory points than those adventurers are worth, your opponent is getting them free of charge, so they're gaining victory points as well. And they're also getting closer to solving a quest.

Always Pay Attention to Your Opponents

That deal of four victory points for four coins may be worth it towards the end of the game if the person giving you the deal is way behind in overall victory points. You'll also be asked to give resources to an opponent after playing certain Intrigue cards. Knowing which type of quests your opponents are going after can help you pick the best player to receive those resources. For example, if an opponent is completing Arcana quests, you don't want to give him a wizard!

Focus on the Big Payout in the Last Few Rounds

The game's first couple of rounds are great for completing quests with non-victory point rewards, such as a plot quest that grants extra victory points upon completing more quests of that type. But, at the end of the game, you want to go for those 20 and 25 point rewards.

Cascading Quests Is the Fastest Path to Victory

Not all quests give just victory points. Some give you back adventurers. Completing a quest that gives you four warriors and using those warriors to complete a second quest is a great way to rack up a lot of victory points. This is much better than completing that first quest and not knowing what to do with all those warriors.

Don't Forget About Waterdeep Harbor

Playing Intrigue cards is a great way to get "free" resources. Remember, you get to reassign that agent at the end of the round, so you're not giving up resources to play the card. You might not get the resource you're after since another player might go for it after you play your Intrigue card, but you will get something out of it. If you need to complete a quest, go for those resources at the start of the round, otherwise, playing an Intrigue card might be the better move.

Quests, Quests, Quests

Lords of Waterdeep is a game of quests, and the player with the best quests will often win. The "Reset Quests" option in Cliffwatch Inn can be a powerful move if you don't see a good quest on the board and don't like those you have in your hand. Remember to calculate those victory points to locate the best quest, and remember to count your Lord bonus in the calculation.

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