Lords of Waterdeep Strategy (Best Ways to Win!)

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Lords of Waterdeep is one of the most fulfilling tabletop games ever created. In its own way, it’s also one of the most complicated.

It can be difficult to win against other players, especially if you’re just starting to play the game. Fortunately, you can make the playing field even by using the right strategies.

But how will you know which strategies are best? We put together a comprehensive guide to your Lords of Waterdeep strategy for victory.

Once you complete this guide, you’ll be a better player than ever before. In return, the first round at the House of Good Spirits is on you!

Lords of Waterdeep: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game

Lords of Waterdeep Strategy

Focus On a Single Quest Type

In Lords of Waterdeep, there are many different kinds of quests. But to be a successful player, you need to focus on a single type of quest.

The type of quest you focus on is typically tied to your particular lord. That’s because your lords will offer bonuses (such as a commerce bonus) that helps with particular quests.

There are times when you’ll want to pursue a different type of quest simply for the points involved (more on this later). Generally, though, you’re better off focusing on the quests that you can accomplish more easily thanks to your lord.

Prioritize Your Quests

Two people playing Lords of Waterdeep

Matěj Baťha / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

A major part of this game’s strategy comes from an evolving quest strategy. Simply put, you will do better if you focus on different quests at different times throughout the game.

For example, some quests will give you special rewards for accomplishing specific tasks. You’re better off knocking those quests out early on because you can enjoy those bonuses for the rest of the game.

Other quests build value over time. In the beginning, it’s fine to “gamble” by completing quests that boost your victory points for completing similar quests later on. As the game goes on, though, you’re better off simply pursuing quests with big points payouts.

Early Focus On Buildings

Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport Expansion Board Game

The Scoundrels of Skullport expansion introduces more options.

It’s tempting to buy buildings at almost any point during the game. To get the most out of buildings, though, you should buy them sooner rather than later.

To understand why, you need to think in terms of “reward economy.” If a building provides a particular kind of resource (such as adventurers), then buying the building early on means you can enjoy those bonuses for a longer period of time.

And if you haven’t picked up on this by now, you can increase your odds of winning by establishing an early lead. Buying buildings early on can give you the jump start on quests that you need to triumph over other players.

All About the Points

Points are important to strategy for Lords of Waterdeep

You might think that all Lords of Waterdeep players know to focus on their points throughout the game. However, you’d be amazed at how many players lose sight of this fundamental goal because they are focusing on other things.

For example, it’s generally a good strategy to focus on the quests that your lord can help you complete. But this doesn’t mean you have to overlook the other types of quests. If you have an opportunity to complete a different kind of quest and earn some easy points, it’s better to pursue this even if it’s not your usual type of quest.

To really understand victory points, you must understand the math behind them. You must weigh the victory points for the quest and the cost of completing it to understand whether it’s worth focusing on that quest at that particular time.

Late Game, Big Points

Earlier, we focused on some of the best strategies to help you earlier in the game. However, your general strategy needs to change once you get closer to the end of the game.

Various quests offer rewards in different point amounts, and some offer rewards involving no points at all. The longer you play, though, the more you need to focus on quests with a big point payout.

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We recommend swinging for the fences with quests worth at least 20 points. These move you closer to victory, and it gives you a chance to leapfrog your opponents at the very end.

Harbor Power

Do you want a real “secret weapon” when it comes to winning Lords of Waterdeep? Then we’ve got two words for you: “Waterdeep Harbor.”

Using the harbor gives you a chance to play intrigue cards, and that alone can change the dynamic of the game. You also get an opportunity to take a bonus action at the end of the round.

This gives you a chance to scoop up a quest you really need or to snatch the first player marker away at a crucial time. In fact, using Waterdeep Harbor is such a solid strategy that even the most veteran players rely on it to win.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are we limited to ten buildings?

Earlier, we mentioned that buying buildings is often a solid strategy to help you win the game. However, you’ll quickly notice there are only ten building spaces on the board. This leads to a common question: can players only have ten buildings out at a time?

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The answer to that is “no.” The spaces on the board do not represent a limited number of buildings. Therefore, players can have any number of buildings in play during a single game.

Is there a limit on how many quest cards or intrigue cards I can have?

If you play Lords of Waterdeep, you probably play other games as well. And other tabletop games usually enforce a hard “hand limit.” Because of this, you may be curious about whether you are limited to a certain number of quest or intrigue cards.

Once again, the answer is “no.” The game effectively enforces no hand limits. That means you can have as many Quest and Intrigue cards as you want.

Despite this, we still recommend finding the right time to pursue quests and play intrigue cards instead of hoarding them throughout the game.

Mark Coster, BSc(Hons) PhD MRACI CChem
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Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API