I came across this terrific strategy article by BGG user Whipy who graciously allowed us to repost this info here.
This strategy article considers if any strategies can be derived from Quest Cards, depending on which Lord you receive at the start.
Let’s say that you receive “Kyriani Agrivar” as a Lord: she needs Arcana and Piety quests to score you bonus points at the end of the game. So which strategy should you use? Which resources, cards and buildings are the most valuable to you? By simply taking some time to study the different Quest Card’s that are available, I believe we can already learn a great deal. So let’s do that together, shall we?
By the end of this post, I hope to achieve a good “basic” strategy for each of the Lords. Based on your Lord, you should watch out for certain buildings, Quest Card’s and spots on the board that will benefit you in further rounds. For example, if you have an Arcana Lord, you should concentrate on getting as many wizards (purple cubes) as possible, even if you don’t need them on any of your open Quest Card’s right now. Remember that LoW is a worker placement game, and you need to optimize every move as much as you can.
At the end of this post, I will give a summary of each of the Lords and what I believe is the best basic strategy for each of them, with regards to resource collection. LoW is a very balanced game and I realize there’s more than one way to skin a cat. But I hope this will provide a good strategic starting point for beginners and more advanced players alike.
The Quest Cards:
Alright, let’s talk Quest Cards now! First of all, the distribution of total victory points over the different types of cards is pretty well balanced. Here’s a breakdown of the total “basic” VP’s you can earn in each category (not counting extra variable bonus points you can get with Plot Quests or cards that give you extra VP’s for each building you control etc):
- Piety: 125
- Commerce: 122
- Arcana: 123
- Warfare: 125
- Skullduggery: 121
As you can see, there is no one type of Quest Card that will consistently give you more VP’s than the others. This makes sense, as your Lord card will determine mostly which type of Quest Card you will be going for. However, there are certainly a number of Quest Card worth aiming for even when they are not a specialty of your Lord, and that’s part of what we’re here to talk about today!
Let’s have a look at each category separately. I will describe them in a specific order, based on my personal preference (Piety > Commerce > Arcana > Warfare > Skullduggery). This is my personal preference: I’m looking forward to reading opinions that differ from my own!
Prioritize collecting: white > orange > money
Completed Piety quests can give you a whole range of things, but some of the Quest Card are pretty powerful because they give you free Quest Card from the Cliffwatch Inn without having to take an action to get them. I would say that overall, Piety is my favorite of the five categories in the game.
One of my personal favorite Quest Card’s is also one from the Piety category: “Defend the Tower of Luck” has a relatively low cost, but it provides you with a free adventurer of any type (white, orange, black or purple) at the beginning of every round. It scores no VP’s but it doesn’t have to. It goes without saying that the earlier you are able to play this card, the more powerful it will be.
If you have a Piety Lord, getting clerics (a rare commodity) should be your main priority. Concentrate on visiting The Plinth, and on using Intrigue Cards (IC’s) and bringing buildings into play that give you extra opportunities to get white cubes as fast as possible!
Quest Card to keep an eye out for, even if you don’t have a Piety Lord:
- “Defend the Tower of Luck”: No VP’s, but a free adventurer of any type at the start of each round;
- “Form an Alliance with the Rashemi”: 10 VP’s + a free Quest Card from the Cliffwatch Inn;
- “Convert a Noble to Lathander”: 8 VP’s + a free Quest Card from the Cliffwatch Inn;
- “Discover Hidden Temple of Lolth”: 10 VP’s + a free Quest Card from the Cliffwatch Inn. Slightly more expensive than “Form an Alliance with the Rashemi”.
Prioritize collecting: money > black > orange
My favorite Quest Card’s from the Commerce category are “Lure Artisans of Mirabar” and “Placate the Walking Statue”. For a relatively low cost, you can get a high yield, placing a building from the stack or even from the Builder’s Hall under your control at no additional cost.
Be aware though, that Commerce Quest Card all require money in order to complete them. So if you have a Lord that specializes in Commerce, start raking in money any way you can: by visiting Aurora’s Realms Shop, by using IC’s, and by buying buildings that give you extra money once someone else uses them.
Quest Card to keep an eye out for, even if you don’t have a Commerce Lord:
- “Lure Artisans of Mirabar”: 4 VP’s and take one building from the Builder’s Hall for free;
- “Placate the Walking Statue”: 10 VP’s and take a building from the stack for free.
Prioritize collecting: purple > black > money
As the color of the Arcana Quest Card’s suggests, wizards (purple cubes) are the most important resource for an Arcana Lord. Completing Arcana Quest Card’s mostly gives you free IC’s! Therefore, if you have an Arcana Lord, your strategy should be focused around obtaining and playing a lot of IC’s.
This makes an Arcana Lord a perfect match for the Skullduggery Quest Card “Place a Sleeper Agent in Skullport” (see the section on Skullduggery Quest Card’s). This Quest Card yields no victory points, but you score 2 VP’s for every IC you play. Nice combo!
Also, the Arcana category has one very strong Plot Quest (PQ): “Recover the Magister’s Orb”. For a relatively low cost,you get 6 VP’s and once per round, you can assign one of your meeples to a space containing an opponent’s meeple. This might just be the most awesome “quality for price” Quest Card in the game, as it severely hinders any one of your opponents from being able to block off your strategy.
Quest Card to keep an eye out for, even if you don’t have an Arcana Lord:
- “Recover the Magister’s Orb”: 6VP’s + once per round, assign a meeple to a space containing an opponent’s meeple.
Prioritize collecting: orange > white/purple/black/money
Here’s where it gets tougher to plan out a definitive strategy. Warfare Quest Card’s demand a lot of fighters (orange cubes) and yield a lot of fighters. While Warfare Quest Card’s are generally easier to string together than other types of Quest Card’s, having a Warfare Lord somewhat narrows your flexibility in terms of strategic decision making.
“If you are going Warfare, “Bolster Griffon Cavalry” should almost always be your priority Plot Quest to acquire and complete at the start. The extra Warriors garnered from it throughout the game can save you some assignments.” – comment added by Plei Forejoy (Jebbie)
The “Recruit Lieutenant” Quest Card might look like a powerful card at first glance, but its cost is very high, especially in a 4 or 5-player game. Since this card slowly loses its value as the rounds progress, I’ve experienced that in a game with more players, people tend to abandon this Quest Card after a few rounds, especially because it doesn’t yield any VP’s.
You will need at least six (6!) moves to save up for it, using just the buildings that are available to you at the start of the game. One strategy could be to play a lot of IC’s at Waterdeep Harbor, ensuring that you get multiple chances to place your meeples every round. But even then it’s a long stretch to getting it in play during the first half of the game.
You predominantly need orange cubes to complete Warfare Quest Card’s, but there is no real second place here in terms of what you need. Some Quest Card’s demand white, some purple, some black. Money is generally less of a priority for a Warfare Lord.
Quest Card to keep an eye out for, even if you don’t have a Warfare Lord:
- “Recruit Lieutenant”: 0 VP’s + add an extra meeple to your pool. Be aware though that this Quest Card is very expensive, and that it quickly starts losing its appeal after the first half of the game has passed.
Prioritize collecting: black > purple > orange
The mischievous Skullduggery Lords tend to need a lot of rogues (black cubes) in order to complete their Quest Card’s. If you have a Skullduggery Lord, a useful Quest Card to get out quickly, is “Fence Goods for Duke of Darkness”, which gives you two extra money whenever you take an action that provides a black cube.
Skullduggery Quest Card’s yield very different things, so it’s difficult to base a general strategy on, although – as with Warfare Quest Card’s – it’s generally easier to string combo’s together and plan out your strategy using only Skullduggery Quest Card’s.
As mentioned before, if you have an Arcana Lord, your quests will yield a lot of IC’s and therefore the “Place an Agent in Skullport” Quest Card is interesting to complete early, as it allows you to score 2 VP’s every time you play an IC.
If your lord is Larissa Neathal, you score 6 VP’s at the end of the game for every building you control. Try and secure the “Establish Harpers Safe House” Quest Card, possibly completing it at the very end of the game. You will get 8 VP’s plus an additional 2 VP’s for every building you control.
Quest Card to keep an eye out for, even if you don’t have a Skullduggery Lord:
- “Place an Agent in Skullport”: 0 VP’s but 2 VP’s for every IC you play. Valuable if you have an Arcana Lord.
- “Establish Harpers Safe House”: 8VP’s + 2VP’s for every building you control. Valuable if you have the Larissa Neathal Lord Card.
At the beginning of this post, I promised I would provide you with a short overview of the Lord Cards and a good basic strategy for them. Here you go! Thanks for reading, and I hope this guide will be of value to you in future games, regardless of your experience level playing Lords of Waterdeep!
List of interesting Quest Card’s, regardless of which Lord you have:
- “Defend the Tower of Luck” (Piety)
- “Form an Alliance with the Rashemi” (Piety)
- “Convert a Noble to Lathander” (Piety)
- “Discover Hidden Temple of Lolth” (Piety)
- “Lure Artisans of Mirabar” (Commerce)
- “Placate the Walking Statue” (Commerce)
- “Recover the Magister’s Orb” (Arcana)
- “Recruit Lieutenant” (Warfare)
- “Place an Agent in Skullport” (Skullduggery)
PS, I realize that most of these cards are Plot Quests. Having said that, there’s more to these strategies than just collecting PQ’s. In fact, I believe some of the “regular” Quest Card’s are actually more powerful than some of the PQ’s!
Collecting Priorities by Lord:
1. Kyriani Agrivar: Arcana + Piety (prioritize collecting purple, white, money)
2. Caladorn Cassalanter: Skullduggery + Warfare (prioritize collecting black, orange, purple)
3. Durnan the Wanderer: Commerce + Warfare (prioritize collecting money, orange, black)
4. Nymara Scheiron: Commerce + Skullduggery (prioritize collecting money, black, orange)
5. Nindil Jalbuck: Piety + Skullduggery (prioritize collecting white, black, orange)
6. Mirt the Moneylender: Commerce + Piety (prioritize collecting money,white, orange)
7. Piergeiron the Paladinson: Piety + Warfare (prioritize collecting white, orange, money/purple/black)
8. Khelben Arunsun, the Blackstaff: Arcana + Warfare (prioritize collecting purple, orange, black)
9. Brianne Byndraeth: Arcana + Skullduggery (prioritize collecting purple, black, orange/money)
10. Sammereza Sulphontis: Arcana + Commerce (prioritize collecting purple, money, black)
11. Larissa Neanthal: 6VP’s per building you control at the end of the game – prioritize collecting money and a decent set of Quest Card’s: especially look out for the Commerce Quest Card’s that give you free buildings, the Commerce Quest Card “Infiltrate Builder’s Hall” if you manage to find it early (6VP’s + whenever you buy a building, score 4VP’s), and the Arcana Quest Card “Recover the Magister’s Orb” allowing you to assign a meeple to the Builder’s Hall even if it’s already taken. If none of these options are available to you, choose Quest Card’s that yield money, or ones that score large amounts of VP’s.