Manor Lords tips for beginners

Learn how to get a good start into the game
Slavic Magic / Hooded Horse

It’s finally here – Manor Lords is out in Early Access on PC and though it still has a long way to go before it’s content complete, the medieval city-builder and strategy game is magnificent. As the new lord of a fiefdom, it’s your responsibility to build a flourishing settlement that can house prosperous people and stand tall against any dangers that may threaten it.

Naturally, that’s easier said than done. The road to prosperity is long, especially since you’ll start from humble beginnings with just a handful of loyal families and resources.

Don’t be afraid, though: Our Manor Lords tips for beginners will show you how to get the best start into the game and lay the foundations for a future empire.

Manor Lords tips: What to build first

Your starting resources will be limited, so you’ll need to choose your first buildings wisely. As a ground rule, you should always get a Logging Camp up first – this will guarantee that you’ll get additional construction material flowing your way. 

Next is food production: Get either a Hunting Camp or a Foragers’ Hut – prioritize the one that’s closer. 

Third, you should set up a Granary and a Storehouse – if you leave your goods outside for too long and it starts to rain, they could get destroyed. Building storage structures quickly ensures that you won’t have that problem. 

Once all of that is set up and you’ve assigned families to these buildings, it’s time to get your homeless people some residences by placing down some Burgage Plots. You’ll want enough space for your five starting families and then some extra in order to attract newcomers and expand your population. Speaking of which…

Manor Lords tips: How to grow your population

It’s really the number of families in your town that limits the amount of stuff you can produce, so you’ll want to attract more people fast. At first, the best way to do this is to get everyone under a roof to eliminate the disapproval gained from homelessness. Your second step should be to get positive approval by providing for varied food supply, which can be done by setting up a Hunting Camp or Foragers’ Hut – whichever one you didn’t build earlier.

As long as you have positive approval and free space in your village, new families will come over time to add to your workforce.

Manor Lords screenshot of a lord visiting a market stall.
Having diverse goods available at the market will raise your approval. / Slavic Magic / Hooded Horse

Another easy way to generate approval early on is to build a Tannery and make leather from the hides the Hunting Camp provides, though the second food source has the added advantage of helping your town survive.

In general, you can always actively manage your families to make up for manpower shortages: In winter, you don’t need people to be farmers, so get them to work on some other stuff while there is snow covering the ground.

Manor Lords tips: Logistics

Logistics are a crucial part of Manor Lord. All resources need to be transported from A to B by carrying, driving with a handcart, or towing with an ox. That takes time. In order to minimize the amount of time your people waste with transporting things from A to B, make sure to plan your village ahead of time.

Use some of your early regional wealth to buy another ox and build a second hitching post next to your Logging Camp – this will ensure a steady supply of timber and boost building speeds.

Place your Storehouse and Granary at central locations, close to the Marketplace and production facilities. If you have production facilities somewhat outside the village, such as farms or mines, place a Burgage Plot nearby and assign the family moving into it to the job – this minimizes the time they waste while going to work and then home.

For the same reason, it’s a good idea to plan out some of your early Burgage Plots in the town’s core with backyards. Backyards can later house workshops, in which artisans make advanced products – having them in the center of town, close to your storage facilities, will be a major help later on.

Keep in mind that redevelopment is a little difficult – though you can demolish buildings, all their goods will be placed on the map as a storage pile at their old position, so you won’t be able to rebuild something else on the land immediately.

Manor Lords tips: How to gain Regional Wealth

Regional Wealth is very important – it’s used for purchasing livestock, constructing some of the backyard production buildings, and importing goods you can’t yet make yourself. One slow and steady way of gaining Regional Wealth is to upgrade your Burgage Plots, which yields monthly income.

However, the best way to obtain Regional Wealth early on is to trade – I’ve been having a lot of success selling planks and then warbows, which are easy to make as they only require timber. For regions with rich clay deposits, producing and selling roof tiles is great for income. All you need to do is set up a Trading Post and unlock a trade route, investing some Regional Wealth upfront.

Wool has proven to be another popular export good, thanks to its infinite production by sheep – but it’s been so widespread that the developer introduced a new mechanic to prevent you from selling the same good all the time.

Aside from taxes and trade, plundering bandit camps is another source of Regional Wealth – though you can convert those spoils into your direct Treasury as well, making it another source of that.

Manor Lords tips: How to expand to another region

If your first settlement is going well, you may be eyeing one of the other regions in your area – perhaps you’ll want their rich iron deposits or their fertile farmland? 

In order to expand to a new region, you must first claim it by investing Influence. That, in turn, is gained from destroying bandits, constructing special buildings such as churches and manors, and from collecting tithes for the church. The latter is unlocked once you've built your Manor, where you can also set a tax rate to convert Regional Wealth into Treasure.

Manor Lords screenshot of a region being claimed.
You can claim a region by zooming out into this map view and investing your Influence. / Slavic Magic / Hooded Horse

Treasure is the second resource you need aside from Influence. After you’ve successfully laid claim to a territory – which the AI might challenge you on the battlefield for – you can send out settlers with some wealth from your Treasury to inhabit the new lands. In essence, this will be like starting the game all over again, as you’ll get to build a second town from the ground up.

Manor Lords tips: The Art of War

You can either hire mercenaries using your Treasury for funds or call your militia to the banners when it’s time to fight bandits or a neighboring lord. Make sure to rally your soldiers ahead of time and not in the last second – they’ll have to run home, grab their gear, and then form up.

Somewhat similar to Total War – and, indeed, real life – battles in Manor Lords are decided by a morale contest: Whichever side breaks first will lose. You can strengthen your troops’ morale by having a high approval rating and ensuring they can fight with peak combat efficiency.

Manor Lords screenshot of a small skirmish.
As with most strategy games, a good mix of troops is the best way to go. / Slavic Magic / Hooded Horse

Efficiency increases when units are rested, in a cohesive formation, and on favorable terrain. In other words: You let the enemy come to you on the ground of your choosing. Manor Lords also offers various stances your units can enter in order to dictate the battle. Use Stand your Ground on your frontline and Push Forward on your flanks to slowly surround the enemy.

Archers usually won’t mow down waves of enemies ahead of the melee – unlike in movies, the defensive equipment of shield and armor does its job in Manor Lords – but will be able to break the cohesion of enemy units as they approach, making them vulnerable to your own melee troops, as well as weakening their morale. No matter how good your armor is, it doesn’t feel particularly great to get arrows flung at you.


Published |Modified
Marco Wutz

MARCO WUTZ

Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining tl.net, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of tl.net as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: marco.wutz@glhf.gg