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MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

My new obsession!

MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

I love city builders!

Or maybe it is just Manor Lords, developed by Wunderkind, one-man nerd-supreme, Slavic Magic, and published by Hooded Horse (who happens to be the home of so many other fabulous games!) Maybe it is just this tour-de-force of talent that came together to have me yelling, “I love city builders!” like Oprah in the early 00s00’s.

Manor Lords Story

There is no set story of Manor Lords. It is whatever you want it to be. Players are the, wait for it, Lords of the Manor, building and managing their own little slice of the kingdom. While there are no strange women lying in ponds and distributing swords, players wield supreme executive power over the masses.

MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

Do you want to play as the benevolent overlord, focused on improving the lives of your peasants, or the bloodthirsty baron, interested only in acquiring more land?

MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

Heavily researched, the game allows players to fully immerse themselves in their own medieval headcanon.


One of the standout features of Manor Lords is its deeply immersive gameplay. Immersive isn’t actually a strong enough word to describe the depths you will dive into in order to nurture your peasants.

MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

Every aspect of your fiefdom is connected, meaning that, exactly like an actual lord, you need to hold a whole bunch of information in your head at a single time, just to decide where to put your communal oven. Expanding your population means strategizing where to put churches, taverns, markets, and storehouses. Make sure you put new residences on enough land that you can take advantage of vegetable farms and chicken coops, otherwise, your growing population will quickly starve come winter. Want to start a blacksmith in the backyard, well, then you better make sure the iron mine is running, and the smithy, and that you have enough oxen to get everything where it needs to go. And get your blacksmith up fast because bandits are eyeing your supplies. It’s truly difficult to talk about any one part of the game without also mentioning two or three others.

MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

The game’s economic systems are rewarding in their complexity. They take some getting used to, even for seasoned city builders. I’ve started and restarted four games at this point. I only had people dying from cold in the first run-through, which, frankly, I am pretty proud of. It took another two games to really get a handle on the economy.

MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

Unfortunately, I still haven’t successfully defeated any bandit camps (they keep stealing my berries!), and I am still puzzling out getting my tavern up and running. Despite these challenges, though, there is just something about this game that makes me want to neglect my family.

MANOR LORDS Preview for Steam Early Access

Overall 10/10 (even in Early Access stage)

Manor Lords is an absolute gem of a game.

At its core, Manor Lords is a medieval strategy city-builder. But it is so much more than that. Seamlessly blending intricate economic systems, real-time tactical battles, and politics, Manor Lord is an absolute must-play for anyone with even a passing interest in city-builders. This unique blend of elements is what sets Manor Lords apart, and it’s sure to intrigue and pique the curiosity of any strategy game enthusiast.

Manor Lords is available for PC via Steam Early Access.

Related: Reviews by Michelle Jones

I'm a completionist gamer who just needs to find that one last object and clear that final dungeon. I love all video games, from open world sandboxes on a console to a mindless match three on my phone. In addition to gaming and writing, I am a graduate student working on a thesis about the ancient Icelandic Sagas. Feel free to ask me anything about Vikings.