Manor Lords – How to Get Through the Early Game

This guide shows you how to make it through the first couple years. And how to prepare your army for the bandits and Baron attacks.

Early Game Guide

The Starting Months

We’ll skip over the very beginning since it’s not too important. But here’s a quick overview for new players. If you’re past the first months, skip to Part 2.

When you start, you have 5 homeless families and lots of supplies needing storage. First, build a logging camp to get wood for storage and housing. Then build just enough homes for 5-6 families. Next, set up a forager’s hut and hunting camp for temporary food and to raise approval for growth. Don’t forget a well and woodcutter’s lodge too.

Building Your Militia

Now you’ll want to start training militia soldiers. Luckily you start with 20 spears and 20 large shields already. You need around 16 men to conscript into your militia. Raise population by having good approval and housing. When ready, rally the militia and attack the nearest small bandit camp of around 16 enemies. You should beat them easily. After destroying the camp, send the money to your personal treasury, not the village. Then disband the militia and hire mercenaries while they go home. Get spearmen and footmen for around 60 silver. Use the mercenaries to clear out remaining bandit camps, keeping all the money.

Growing Your Town

You can do some of this alongside Part 2. But don’t speed up the game too much or you’ll miss things.

Now build up your town’s economy. A clay mine and furnace can let you profit from selling roof tiles. Always have more housing than families to allow growth. Raise approval with stable food, clothing and a church to level up housing. More housing means more workers for farms, industry, etc. Build foresters and extra woodcutters as needed.

Farming

As your population grows, you’ll need more food production. In your second year, set up farmland. Check soil fertility then build some small farm fields, not too big. Build a farmhouse to assign farmers. Do this in winter so farms are ready for planting season. Once crops grow, build a windmill to mill grain and a community oven to bake bread.

If All Goes Well

By year 2 the bandits will be coming. Look to build more militia regiments. Hire mercenaries again a month before to help fight them off. Your bandit loot and taxes should cover mercenary costs.

The Bandit Attack

The bandits attack with around 36 troops total. If you prepared well, your combined forces should destroy them. Still, don’t get overconfident. Encircle their ranks by having one unit draw them while another flanks. The bandits won’t burn buildings if you threaten them.

Moving Forward

After the battle, you should have influence to claim a new territory from the Baron. Do it, and contest any he tries to take. Keep mercenaries as you build wealth and army.

Tips

  • Build lots of wells in case of fires.
  • Take it slow, don’t rush.
  • Mercenaries will eventually leave, except Wayward Sons.
  • Mercenary regiments can form defensive shield walls.
  • Hire Wayward Sons archers, they’re very useful.
  • The Baron has a huge army in the final battle.

Managing Villagers

The people tab (second tab in any building pop-up) is one of the most powerful features for managing your village.

The yellow lines show you where any inhabitant or worker is in a task. If a home or building has multiple families, you will see all of their movements. There are three icons near every family:

  • Home: Takes you to the family home.
  • Gear: Takes you to the family workplace.
  • Recycle: Lets you reassign the family to a new workplace.

These are useful for:

  • Putting workers closer to their homes or supporting buildings for better town logistics.
  • Balancing workers for more efficient vegetable gardening.
  • Making villagers work closer to home.
  • Balancing out villagers who live with veggie plots vs. chicken coops.
  • Getting resources to the villagers who need them, even if they’re available.

You Don’t Need Routes To Trade

For a long time, I thought I needed to pay for a route to trade from my village. Many guidebooks say to get the trade logistics with your first development point because it makes routes cheaper. But you don’t need that at all!

Routes make it faster to trade goods because a dedicated resource merchant will visit you, but they are very expensive to set up. I haven’t found any benefit that makes the huge cost worth it. In the screenshot, the clay tiles have an active route, which let this village trade other “major” goods. I didn’t have to buy any other routes for trade.

Once the stock of tiles goes above 10, the extra will be exported. In the beta patch, there are only a few major trade routes you must set up to buy or sell these goods:

  • Clay Tiles
  • Bricks
  • Leather
  • Charcoal

I’ve seen some weird things in how this works in my villages. Opening one trade route will allow any major trade. Having a trade route in one village allows that trade route in another village. Sometimes I have to open a route for the better items (armor).

I’m not sure if these were flukes or how trade is meant to work, so just be aware of what might happen. Most of the time, all you need to trade is to set your reserve lower than your current stock value and choose export (to import, set your reserve higher than your current stock value).

For Flax and Barley, both will be imported until a stock of 100 is reached. As you can see, I did take the Trade Logistics and Better Deals development points so that imports would be cheaper. I don’t think these are needed to do well, because I ended up with a very high regional treasury balance that I couldn’t do much with. Approval is really the most important stat in this scenario to keep up, so I suggest focusing on developments that will help with that (food).

Jan Bonkoski
About Jan Bonkoski 823 Articles
A lifelong gamer Jan Bakowski, also known as Lazy Dice, was always interested in gaming and writing. He lives in Poland (Wrocław). His passion for games began with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. Proud owner of Steam Deck, which has become his primary gaming platform. He’s been making guides since 2012. Sharing his gaming experience with other players has become not only his hobby but also his job.

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