Manor Lords guide: How to survive your first two years

5.10.2024
By Julian Benson, Contributor

When you start a new game of Manor Lords, you’re given a group of homeless villagers, a single oxen, and a few small piles of resources. From these humble beginnings, you’re expected to build a thriving town that can conquer all of the neighboring regions and, in time, the entire map.

Those grand ambitions must wait, though. Before you can chase your rival lords out of the land, you'll need to survive the first two brutal years of Manor Lords. In this early portion of the game, cold winters, empty pantries, and violent bandits threaten to snuff out your fledgeling fiefdom before it can prosper.

Don't worry—our step-by-step guide can help you avoid the major pitfalls of a new settlement and get past the first bandit attack that arrives at the start of Manor Lords' second in-game year.
Manor Lords Starting With Nothing


Get your resources out of the rain


When you start Manor Lords, you have three immediate needs: protecting your starting resources, acquiring more of them, and providing shelter for your people. It may seem callous, but your people can wait.

In Manor Lords, bad weather can quickly ruin resources that aren’t stored correctly. Losing your precious food rations and firewood in the opening moments of the game can devastate your people’s prospects. As much as your homeless villagers may grumble, your first job should be building a Storehouse and a Granary and assigning a family to work in each.

When the buildings are completed, workers will transport your starting resources inside where they will be safe from the elements. Well, all of the elements except for the fire of a bandit's torch—but we’ll get to that later.
Manor Lords Logging Camp
 

Build a Logging Camp


A Logging Camp is a close second when it comes to early-game priorities. In Manor Lords, there's nothing stopping you from spending all of your starting lumber on buildings and running out of wood without any means of acquiring more.

Be careful when choosing the location for your Logging Camp. Your woodcutters will clear all of the trees nearby, even if they’re home to wild animals and berry bushes—both of which can be vital food sources. Make sure you place the Logging Camp near woods where there are no animal or berry icons.

Over time, your Logging Camp will clear away all of the nearby woods, so eventually you'll need to build a Forester’s Hut, but that isn’t a priority for now. You need to be ready for your first winter before worrying about where you'll get the resources to survive the second.
Manor Lords Storehouse
 

Collect firewood as soon as you can


Even though your people still don’t have homes at this point, it’s important to get a headstart on collecting firewood. As the temperature starts dropping, your villagers burn more fuel to keep warm, and you need a substantial reserve to get them through winter. The next building you construct should be the Woodcutter’s Lodge.

Your woodcutters don’t get their firewood from the trees cut down by the Logging Camp lumberjacks. Instead, they cut down their own trees and chop those into kindling. Still, even though it will speed up deforestation, the best place for the lodge is next to the Logging Camp. Later, when you place the Forester's Hut, it will plant enough trees to satisfy both wood-felling buildings.
Manor Lords
 

Build your Hunting Camp


Later in your campaign, you should explore more stable sources of food, but in the early days of Manor Lords you have two options: hunting and foraging. Unless you have plentiful berries near your settlement, you should build a Hunting Camp first. Distance is key. It's inefficient for your villagers to travel long distances to forage and bring food back to the village, and can reduce how much food you have in your settlement’s first months.

The Hunting Camp is best because it's free to build, letting you construct one without using up your limited timber. And in addition to producing meat for your villagers to eat, your hunters also collect animal hides. You can turn hides into leather at a Tannery and use that to produce clothes, which makes your villagers happier.
Manor Lords Housing Extension
 

Build your first homes


With sources of wood, food, and firewood secured and buildings to store all of your goods safely, you're finally ready to start building homes for your villagers.

Try to build at least five homes and ensure the plots are large enough to tack on an extension later. In Manor Lords, houses increase your population cap, and they can also be upgraded with small businesses that produce vital resources. You can tell a plot is large enough to be extended when a white line appears and divides the blueprint in two.

Construct a Marketplace near your houses, as it's where your villagers collect food and firewood for their homes. It’s free to build—try to make it large enough for at least 15 stalls.

You should have enough money to extend two of your new houses with Chicken Coops. If you do this, then those homes will create a steady supply of eggs, providing a little more food to get through the coming winter.

If you have the lumber collected, build at least ten houses. Apart from your starting supply of workers, you can only attract new villagers to your settlement if there are empty houses for them to move into. From this point on, you should always try to ensure you have a few houses empty.

Your fledgling village should now have everything it needs to get through its first winter. Your hunters and Chicken Coops will produce enough food, and your woodcutter will gather enough firewood to support your starting families. As spring dawns and the snow covering your settlement starts to melt, you need to turn your eyes toward the next 12 months.
Manor Lords Trading Goods
 

Start trading


Your goals in year two involve picking an industrial specialization for your town and creating a militia large enough to fend off the first bandit attack. Both of these goals require money.

The only way to get money in Manor Lords is to sell goods through the Trading Post. Your traders will draw goods from the Storehouse and Granary, so try to find a nearby spot to construct the Trading Post.

In time, your town will produce high-value commodities, such as weapons, armor, and leather clothing, all of which can be sold for a premium. However, planks are a good resource to sell until you have more advanced industries. While you need some in-stock to upgrade your own structures, they're quick to produce. Place a Sawpit near your Logging Camp or Storehouse and assign a family to convert logs into planks.

When you start exporting planks through the Trading Post, make sure to set a desired surplus of at least ten. This will stop your trader from selling your entire stock.
Manor Lords Upgraded Homes
 

Diversify your economy


With money from your Trading Post, you can build more home extensions. Place Chicken Coops and Goat Sheds into all of your gardens—or, if the extension is large enough, place a Vegetable Garden. The yield of the Vegetable Garden is proportional to the size of the backyard.

These extensions mean a greater variety of food available through your Marketplace, which makes for a happier population. This makes your settlement more attractive, meaning families will move in more quickly. The larger your population, the more families you can assign to your buildings and the more goods they will produce.

Now is a good time to zoom out and survey your territory to learn what resource you should specialize in. A gold crown above a resource icon indicates a rich deposit. If your territory has a rich deposit of iron, for example, it’s a good idea to focus on that industry. Each resource has a set of buildings that will transform it into valuable commodities you can sell at the market.

After you have identified a rich deposit to exploit, set your villagers to construct the necessary buildings. For clay, build a Mining Pit and a Clay Furnace. For stone, a Stonecutter Camp. For iron, a Mining Pit, a Bloomery, and a Smithy. With families assigned to these buildings, you will start producing resources that you can sell at the Trading Post to earn extra coin.

These resources will also be used in advanced extensions, such as the Blacksmith's Workshop and Armorer's Workshop, which make weapons and armor respectively.
Manor Lords Battle Lines
 

Arm your militia


After you've upgraded your homes to level two and built advanced extensions, such as the Blacksmith's, Fletcher's, and Armorer's Workshops, you can make the weapons and armor you need to equip your militia. That said, in the early years of Manor Lords, it's easier to simply import them through the Trading Post.

To survive the first bandit raid, you should try to equip one full unit of Spear Militia. For this, you will need 36 Spears and Large Shields.

If you have the resources, build your lord a Manor too, as it unlocks a small retinue of soldiers equipped with heavy armor. While there are only five soldiers in the unit, these fearsome troops do a lot more damage than your average militia soldier.
Manor Lords Bandit Attack
Once you have a fully-equipped unit of Spear Militia, you have everything you need to survive the first two years of Manor Lords. Check out our Manor Lords beginner’s guide for tips on what to do next.

Manor Lords is available now on the Epic Games Store.