Manor Lords Starting Guide

Manor Lords is a strategy city-building game where you’re sent to play as a lord in a land of much peril and opportunity. The game itself, in its most simplified form, is a combination of city-building, strategic RTS warfare along with a full simulation of economy and social situation. Imagine if you could play Crusader Kings, but on a micro level, where you’re focusing purely on one section of the world, your section. Our Manor Lords Starting Guide goes over everything you need to prepare for your first winter and beyond.

If you don’t have the game yet, pick it up on Steam before you read our Manor Lords Starting Guide (or use our guide to help see if this the game for you): Manor Lords on Steam (

To understand the game you’ve got to understand some core concepts, from family units and what that means for your town to how combat and economy works, which we’ll go through in this guide.


The basic population unit in Manor Lords is a family. They consume one food and up to two fuel monthly. They live in Burgage Plots and their level is equal to the housing level (up to 3). A family can work at a workplace and the same family can also run a stall (depending on the workplace) to sell the output to the community.

At tier 2 you can build an Artisan workshop at the house itself, but the family can’t be used for other labor pools at that point. You’ll need to balance artisans vs. non-artisan families.

Male family members can become militia. If they perish in battle then they will no longer work their job. This makes war painful if you lose a lot of troops as your economy can take a massive hit, even if you remain the victor.

Manor Lords Starting Guide – Game Functions

Below are the main functions you’ll need to pay attention to and how they work:

  • Population: You’ll need to watch how many families you have, what they’re doing and their approval rating and public order. If your approval rating goes down, you’ll have less of a chance of families moving in. If public order lowers, citizens can convert to bandits.
  • Population Needs: You’ll need to track which houses on which burgage plots need what to increase level. For instance, they may need clothing, etc.
  • Livestock: The amount of livestock you have available.
  • Goods: You’ll need to keep an eye on how much goods you have.
  • Personal Stats: You’ll need to watch how much money you personally have, how much you have to pay in taxes, how much influence you have and how much the king favors you.
  • Time: The season is important to follow as it impacts agriculture and other mechanics in the game.
  • Roads: You’ll need to build roads between settlement buildings. They’ll follow the roads based on their jobs.
  • Army: You’ll need to train retiinues, militia and hire mercenaries. You’ll need to keep track of your army.
  • Construction: You have to build everything yourself, so city planning will be key.
manor lords starting guide starting city build

Manor Lords Starting Guide – Early Game Gotchas

You’ll need to make sure you have water available. As long as a well is nearby, your people will be happy. You’ll need to follow the amenities requested, as the different requests need to be met and often supplied via stalls.

You can build gardens in the burgage plots. The bigger the garden, the more time it takes to work, but the bigger the backyard garden the better. Goats supply hides, Chickens supply eggs. The longer they take to traverse to work and back then the less time they have for working the backyard.

Families can leave! Be careful and make sure to watch their needs.

Manor Lords Starting Guide – Resources

The resource gathering is based on how regenerative the resource is. Wood is gathered, but also the trees are replanted. Wild animals and berries automatically regenerate, so they’ll gather up as much as they can. Whereas mines can run out of resources and are limited in their supply.

Crops are obtained through fields and these operate based on the seasons. Crop rotation (switching the kind of crops season after season) is how you keep the ground fertile. This is a micromechanic that is huge to your success in feeding your families.

Manor Lords Starting Guide – Combat

There’s little avoiding combat in the game. You’ve got three kinds of troops:

  • Militia: These are your common villagers and you have to supply them with weapons to make them effective. Male villagers only apply here.
  • Retinue: Professional soldiers bound to the region’s manor. You can upgrade the number through upgrading and expanding different related buildings.
  • Mercenaries: You can hire mercenaries, but so can your enemy, so take note. They are also expensive.

You’ll use the rally button to move your troops about. Once you send a rally flag, they’ll move to gather equipment and get to the rally point.

Combat operates kind of in a Total War way. It’s both real time, but you can also pause and give orders. Most of the combat operates off of troop count + equipment vs. enemy troop count + enemy equipment. You can posistion your army slightly better or flank the enemy to get an advantage, but combat does boil down to a lot of numbers here.

Losing militia means you lose workers, so consider that as you assemble your troops.

Manor Lords Starting Guide – Early Game Survival Tips

  • Make sure your villagers have water. It’s easy to place and a major requirement.
  • Setup your food and basic resources asap. You can get hunting/forgaging going along with logging and woodcutting rather quickly. Firewood will be needed to get through the winter.
  • Build a storehouse, a grainery and a market and make sure your burgage plots are close to the market. You want to minimize travel time.
  • Travel time, travel time, travel time. Lowering your villagers commute gets more productivity out of them!
  • Manually assign your families, make sure to put them close to your work site so that their commute is short. This can’t be stressed enough.
  • Winter is brutal in the game, you’ll need to have lots of firewood.
  • Build backyard plots as you have extra money.
  • Trade for refined goods until you can make them yourself.
  • Watch your food and firewood! You do not want to expand past your capability to take care of your town, no matter how much wealth comes your way.

A Word on Diplomacy

A crucial aspect of success in Manor Lords revolves around mastering trade and diplomacy. Establishing trade rules opens your town to a variety of goods that are otherwise hard to come by but also significantly boosts your economy while letting you obtain what you need.

As of now there’s no on-map lords or barons to deal with (an off-map one arrives later in the game). So worry with your town and trade first, everything else second.

Hopefully our Manor Lords Starting Guide got you off to a great start. You should be past your first winter, able to take out the local bandits and ready to work with the regional barons and the king.

David Piner, an accomplished video game journalist since 2001, excels in developing comprehensive guides and engaging content to enrich the gaming experience. As the esteemed former Managing Editor at TTH (as David "Xerin" Piner) for over a decade, David established a strong reputation for his perceptive analysis, captivating content, and streamlined guides. Having led skilled teams of writers and editors, David has been instrumental in producing an extensive collection of articles, reviews, and guides tailored to both casual and hardcore gamers aiming to enhance their skills. Dedicated to player-centric content, David meticulously crafts guides and articles with the players' interests in mind. He is a proud member of OUT Georgia and fervently champions equity and equality across all spheres.