Welcome to Forge of Empires! Take charge of a mighty empire
Build your city, lead it successfully through the ages, research new technologies, conquer the world and triumph over your opponents. This manual can be used as an important tool in your quest: here you will find information about the game, complete tables and valuable tips.
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Forge of Empires – Be your own tour guide through the ages as you proceed to play out the history of man through the eyes of an emperor
When you read the words ‘Dungeons and Dragons’, what exactly does it make you think about? If the answer is anything other than something along the lines of ‘a sad, lonely, middle-aged gentleman with a ponytail unsuitable for a man of his age wearing a food-stained Warhammer t-shirt and engaging in frequent live-action-role-play events’, then we probably don’t stand a chance at getting along. I have a very solid image of your typical player of online fantasy and MMO games, and I am predisposed to imagine them spending a significant amount of time in their local Games Workshop and frequenting various IRC chat rooms wearing nothing but chain mail. This incredibly sweeping generalisation is intended for entertainment purposes only, but after my recent experience with the game under scrutiny today, Forge of Empires, it seems that I may be required to grow an unflattering goatee and start hailing Xanthia because the aforementioned game is of the historical fantasy genre, and guess what? I damn well enjoyed it. Being the god of your own land is kind of addictive, and I for one want a hefty slice of deity pie. Tell the blacksmith to whip me up some chain mail; war’s a-comin’, and the Bronze Age is about to dawn.
Forge of Empires is first and foremost a game of resource management with an emphasis on building a civilisation essentially from scratch. “So what?” I hear you say. Well, where it gets interesting is the manner in which you go about constructing your fictional empire, which entails the nurturing of your fledgling civilisation from a hut-dwelling handful of primal ne’er-do-wells to a fully-civilised society of respectable appearance that is as rich in culture as it is in wealth (I imagine they use plates and everything). The icing on the fantastical cake is piped on joyfully by the game by allowing you to rule over your civilisation through the passage of time, which roughly follows the ages of man from the Stone Age to the late medieval period. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t yet come across a browser-based game that allows me to take control of an entire civilisation by building cities and conquering territories conducting technological research to allow my people to follow the passage of human history. Sprinkle over a bit of tactical turn-based battling for the expansion of your empire, and you’ve got yourself a title that grips you from the start.
Age hopping: Guiding your empire through a structured technological progression is incredibly addictive
The Pursuit of Happiness
The building of your civilisation relies on you positioning residential buildings around the town hall within the space provided. Beginning in the stone ages with basic huts, you must build enough residences to increase the population, which in turn provide you with gold at regular intervals that can be used to purchase many other items in the game. Workshops must also be built and connected to the town hall via small paths, which allows them to be constructed in the first place and to perform their duty of providing you with supplies, which along with gold and diamond s make up the vital resources that your empire relies on for its continued development. Varying quantities of gold and supplies are required for building the different buildings currently available to you in your civilisation’s current stage of development.
The construction of various buildings also relies on the number of people in your city, as well as the level of happiness of your population, the maintenance of which provides another challenge that further compounds your duties. Being invaded can have a negative effect on the mood of your population, so you must keep them happy by building numerous forms of decoration such as obelisks and trees (apparently these people are easily pleased), and eventually the occasional theatre to lighten the general mood of your people. Forge of Empires isn’t simply about constructing the biggest city, therefore; you must apply a certain level of strategy in increasing your population whilst keeping them happy enough for them to continue to be productive.
A Society built on contentment: Happiness is the key to your population's productivity
Research and Development
The speed of your progress in the game relies on your technological development, which for me is one of the main attractions of the game in terms of the gameplay itself. Your current technological standing is somewhat of a limiting factor in the game; sufficient research and development of new technologies is therefore vital to the prosperity of your civilisation since the technology available to you determines which buildings you are able to construct. Building a barracks, for example, is not possible until you have researched your way into the Bronze Age, and without a barracks, your army is extremely limited in both size and quality of soldier.
One of the most entertaining aspects of the whole experience is the performing of research in order to provide you with more useful items and concepts for the advancement of your civilisation. Further adding to the realism of the whole thing is the quirky notion that the direction of your research is actually loosely modelled on the development of particular inventions and concepts throughout actual human history. The Bronze Age contains the invention and use of the wheel, resulting in the physical expansion of your city; architecture and mathematics are available for research in the Iron Age, with the latter allowing for the production of the ballista for use by your army; crop rotation even makes an appearance in the Early Middle Ages. The sheer quantity of possible technological developments to further the progress of your society means the game certainly has no shortage of tasks to be getting along with. This progression also creates interest from an historical perspective by allowing you to witness the development of an entire civilisation from being tribal in nature to becoming an organised and developed society built through the proliferation of ideas and technology that were funded by the hard work of the people within it.
Come at Me, Bro
The entertainment in Forge of Empires isn’t restricted merely to glorified resource management for the sake of it or the repeated construction of endless numbers of buildings without a purpose, since you must always conduct your activities in the knowledge that the space in which you are able to expand you city is finite, and you will soon find that your city is becoming too populous to contain the people and buildings within it. Your only option here is to engage in the conquering of new territory via the practice of a good old-fashioned skirmish on the battlefield. Entering into battles and fighting for the expansion of your empire is pretty much half the fun of the game; after all, you’ve likely been building barracks and training soldiers in your city for quite some time, and while pacifism is a noble concept, you must remember that you are playing a game that is set in a time where simple negotiation and diplomacy is overshadowed by the more traditional concept of showing the enemy the business end of your sword (or spear) in order to get things settled.
Land of Opportunity: Scouting out the surrounding territories is the first step to conquering them (negotiating is for optimists)
To expand your mighty empire, you must first consult the continent map in order to survey the land around you, which is essentially the equivalent of entering a restaurant whilst exceedingly hungry and picking up the menu to see which continent you’re going to devour. Entering into negotiations with surrounding territories is possible, but this would merely be the undersized starter that simply isn’t going to fill you up. The pre-battle screen allows you to choose the troops which you will be deploying to the battlefield, the number and strength of which depends on how many soldiers you have managed to train in your barracks and is also reliant on the technological development of your civilisation thus far. The battles themselves are a genuinely tactical affair where you must position your soldiers on varying positions around the terrain in order to take full advantage of the turn-based battle mechanic. This manner of battling is extremely entertaining and quite challenging since you must use the land around you to your advantage by making use of cover, higher terrain and the distance between you and your foes. Whether you emerge as the victorious or the vanquished, there is no doubt that the fighting side of the game is equally as entertaining as the development of your civilisation, and provides some variety and change of scenery from the confines of your developing city.
One for All
As far as I’m concerned, Forge of Empires has something to offer pretty much anyone with the desire to be fully entertained. Those who like to become engrossed in the management and distribution of resources and the careful planning involved in creating a city will find themselves having the time of their browser-based gaming lives. On the other hand, enthusiasts of the classic medieval battle will appreciate the turn-based battling mechanic and reliance on the training, selection and positioning of your troops on the battlefield. Hell, even fans of history, science, and even technology in general will enjoy performing the research that forwards your civilisation from being primitive to advanced in nature, with the whole thing made possible by the successful creation of a civilisation which funds, supports and defends itself.
While you do have to rely somewhat on the premium currency of diamonds (which can be purchased with your own money at any time), you are afforded the opportunity to progress in the game through sheer hard graft and determination. An engrossing game that will demand significant investment of your time, Forge of Empires quite literally lets you create an empire of relative historically-accurate development in the palm of your hand.
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