Lords of Waterdeep (Rules and How to Play)

Welcome to the bustling city of Waterdeep, where you will send out secret agents to help you complete quests and win victory points. In these Lords of Waterdeep rules, you will learn how to become the most powerful Lord in the city and win the game!

Lords of Waterdeep, by Wizards of the Coast, is a worker placement board game that takes place in Waterdeep, a well-known city from the popular Dungeons and Dragons tabletop RPG.

While in the city, your goal is to send your agents out to do your dirty work and recruit adventurers and gold to help complete your quests. Depending on which Lord you are assigned at the beginning of the game, they will provide you with special end-of-game bonuses.

If you have ever been interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons, Lords of Waterdeep is a great game to give you an overall feel for the realm it takes place. 

This Lords of Waterdeep rules guide will cover the following:

  • What is Lords of Waterdeep the Board Game?
  • Playing Lords of Waterdeep: What you’ll need.
  • Lords of Waterdeep rules
  • How to keep score in Lords of Waterdeep
  • Video Tutorial for Lords of Waterdeep
  • FAQs
  • Similar game guides to Lords of Waterdeep

Learn how to play Lords of Waterdeep below.

What is Lords of Waterdeep the Board Game?

Lords of Waterdeep Board Game Info image

Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy board game that involves worker placement and completing quests with end-of-game scoring that varies each time you play!

 Number of players: 2-5

Ages: 12+

Difficulty: Medium

Length of play: 60 min

Category: Worker Placement, Hidden Roles, End Game Bonuses

Similar to: Viticulture, Agricola, Citadels

Main Objective: Become the most powerful Lord of Waterdeep by sending your agents throughout town to complete quests, obtain gold, and throw your opponents off-track.

Why We Love It: We love the mystery of each player’s secret goal. At the end of the game, each player’s Lord card will be revealed and show what they will gain extra points for!

Playing Lords of Waterdeep: What You’ll Need

Everything you need to play Lords of Waterdeep can be found in the box:

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Each box contains the following components:

  • Game board
  • Rulebook
  • Storage tray
  • 5 Player mats
  • 100 Adventurer cubes:
    • 25 of each color/class (White Clerics, Orange Fighters, Black Rogues, and Purple Wizards)
  • 33 Wooden pieces:
    • 5 Score markers (in each color)
    • 25 Agents (5 of each color)
    • 1 Ambassador
    • 1 Lieutenant
    • 1 First Player marker
  • 121 Cards:
    • 11 Lords of Waterdeep cards
    • 50 Intrigue cards
    • 60 Quest cards
  • 170 Die-cut pieces:
    • 24 Building Tiles
    • 45 Building Control markers (9 of each color)
    • 60 Gold tiles (50 1-Gold tokens, 100 5-Gold tokens)
    • 36 Victory Point tokens
    • 5 – 100 Victory Point tokens

Lords of Waterdeep Rules

Game Setup

The following setup is for a game of 2 players. The game setup changes slightly depending on how many players there are.

  1. Unfold the game board and place it in the middle of your play area within reach of all players.
  2. Each player chooses a color/secret society to play with along with the matching colored player mat, score marker, and agents.

For a 2-player game, each player will take 4 agents to keep on their player mat’s “Agent Pool” and 1 extra agent, which gets placed on the Round 5 Agents area on the bottom of the game board.

  1. Place your score markers on the “0” position on the score track found on the edges of the game board.
  2. Make sure all of the adventurer cubes and gold tokens are within reach of all players.
  3. Shuffle the building stack, intrigue deck, and quest deck, then place them in their designated spaces shown on the game board.
  4. Draw 3 of the building tiles and place them face-up in their designated spaces in “Builder’s Hall” on the game board.
  5. Each player then gets dealt 1 random Lord of Waterdeep card, which can be looked at by the player it’s dealt to, but kept secret from all other players. Then, deal 2 random intrigue cards to each player.
  6. Deal 2 random quest cards to each player, then place a face-up quest card in each of the 4 designated spaces in “Cliffwatch Inn.”
  7. Place 3 of the Victory Point tokens in each space of the Round Track on the bottom of the game board.
  8. Determine which player takes the first turn. The rulebook suggests the player who most recently visited a city should go first!
  9. The first player obtains 4 Gold to start with, and the second player obtains 5 Gold to start with.

You are now ready to play Lords of Waterdeep!

How to Play Lords of Waterdeep

Your main objective in Lords of Waterdeep is to complete quests, which in turn provide you victory points which you will keep track of along the score track on the sides of the game board.

However, the secret “Lord” card you are provided in the beginning of the game will provide you additional end game bonuses to quests that you have completed or buildings you have in your control.. Refer to our “How to Score” section below for some examples.

During the game, you will pick up adventurer cubes and gold which will help you complete quests. You may keep these in your “Tavern” on your player mat until you are ready to use them.

Start of the Each Round

Lords of Waterdeep is played over the course of 8 rounds. At the end of the 8th round, the game is over, and final scoring will take place to determine the winner.

At the beginning of each round, you must follow these instructions:

  1. Remove the 3 VP tokens from the current round on the round tracker and place one on each of the buildings in Builder’s Hall.
  2. If there are any buildings in play on the game board (not in Builder’s Hall), you must follow any Start of Round instructions they may have.
  3. When you reach Round 5, each player picks up their agent that was previously placed near the round tracker at the start of the game. Players can now add this agent to their Agent Pool and use it for the remainder of the game.
Round Tracker Image

Turn Actions

  1. Assign an Agent:

During each round, starting with the first player, players take turns placing 1 of their agents on an unoccupied space on the game board. Then, each player immediately performs the action of the space they placed their agent on.

Turn order goes back and forth with each player placing 1 agent at a time until all agents have been assigned by both players.

  1. Complete a Quest:

If you have all of the required components needed to complete a quest, you may do so once per turn right after you assign an agent. Take any rewards listed on the card and place your completed quest face-down on the quest space on your player mat.

Explanation of City Spaces

Here is a brief explanation as to what happens when you assign any of your agents on one of these spaces:

Builder’s Hall: Allows you to purchase a building for face value. You immediately score the amount of Victory Points (VP) that has piled up on that building over the rounds.

Place the building in one of the spots located on the sides of the game board and place one of your control tokens on the bottom right, signifying this building is in your control.

Players may assign their agents to this building which will also grant you something in return for owning the building. You may also place one of your own agents here but will not receive the owner’s reward.

Cliffwatch Inn: You can obtain quests, gold, and intrigue cards in this location, depending on which space you choose. There are 3 spaces to land, and they are each labeled with instructions on what you will receive on each specific space.

Waterdeep Harbor: There are 3 spaces at this location. This is the only place that allows you to play an intrigue card.

Once you assign an agent here, immediately play an intrigue card from your hand. After every player has assigned all of their agents throughout the city, any agent remaining in this location may be reassigned to another position before ending the round!

However, you will always start reassigning agents from left to right in numerical order with how they were originally placed in this location.

All Other Spaces: There are many more spaces to choose from in the city, but they are all self-explanatory. The majority of them will advise you to pick up a certain amount of adventurer cubes, gold, intrigue cards, or even grant you the first player token.

Quest and Intrigue Cards


Quests are the most important cards to obtain and complete during the game. On each card, you will see it requires a certain amount of adventurer cubes and/or gold in order to be completed.

When you pay the requirement for a quest to be completed, you immediately score the amount of VP and any other gold or cubes it may reward you. Then, place this completed quest face-down on the “Quest” space on your player mat.

There are 5 different types of quests: Arcana, Piety, Skullduggery, Warfare, and Commerce. Depending on the Lord card you received at the beginning of the game, you should strive to obtain quests of that type listed on the card, which will provide you end-game bonuses.

There are also Plot quests and Mandatory quests. Plot quests have ongoing effects that you can use throughout the remainder of the game. Once you complete a Plot Quest and obtain the reward, you can place it face-up on the side of your playmat as a reminder to utilize it.

Mandatory quests are found in the intrigue deck. When you assign an agent in Waterdeep Harbor and play an intrigue card, you may give your opponent a Mandatory Quest. Your opponent must complete this quest before completing any other quests!

Intrigue Cards

There are 3 different types of Intrigue cards: Attack, Utility, and Mandatory quests (which are explained above).

Attack cards provide your opponent a disadvantage, such as losing adventure cubes or gold.

Utility cards typically provide you with something beneficial, such as obtaining adventurer cubes or gold from the supply.

Quests Image

How to Keep Score in Lords of Waterdeep

At the end of the 8th and final round and when all Agents have been assigned (and/or reassigned), final scoring may begin!

Each player obtains 1 VP for each adventure cube that remains on their player mat (that has not been used for any quests). They also obtain 1 VP for every 2 gold in their possession, rounded down.

Then, their secret Lord of Waterdeep cards are revealed. Each player calculates the bonus points based on their secret objective the Lord card provided.

For Example: The Lord, “ Brianne Byndraeth”, will allow you to score an additional 4 VP per completed Arcana and Skullduggery quests you have completed during the game.

There is only 1 Lord in the game who does not provide bonuses to the types of quests you complete. This Lord will instead give you bonus points for each building you control.

Players will move their score marker on the track based on all of the VP that were obtained from the end game bonuses. The player with the most VP at the end of the game wins!

Video Tutorial for Lords of Waterdeep

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lords of Waterdeep fun to play with only 2 players?

Yes! To make the gameplay similar with any amount of players, they adjust the amount of agents that are provided at the beginning of the game. When playing with only 2 players, you have the max amount of agents to utilize.

Are there any expansions to Lords of Waterdeep?

Yes, Scoundrels of Skullport is the only expansion available at this time. However, it has had excellent reviews and is highly suggested to play with the base game!

Is Lords of Waterdeep a slow-moving game?

Lords of Waterdeep is not a slow-moving game unless you make it one. Turns typically go fast, but some players may take extra time thinking about their next move!

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