Sparta: War of Empires

management historical war

Sparta: War of Empires brings you to an ancient greek world, where city-states endlessly fight or unite for domination, glory and cash. Apparently, the reference historical setting is the one of the Second Persian War (made famous by the movies), at the time when the greek cities (or poleis) united to face the persian ... read >>


Supremacy 1914

war 1 strategy 1 historical 1

In Supremacy 1914 each player is the leader of one historical nation, and can use diplomacy or force to subjugate enemy territories, build powerful economies, and rule entire continents. Although many other browser-based games promised us the same exciting experience, this game by Bitro Labs is by far above them all. ... read >>

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Forge of Empires

historical sim 1 management 1

Forge of Empires  in short
pros cons
complete history time online
combat system seen concept
premium not invasive standard mechanics
planning required
originality 5 details 7
care 7 diversity 6
experience 8 longevity 9
graphics 9 multiplayer 9
would you recommend it?

Forge of Empires is a well known browser-based strategy game by InnoGames. In line with much of the older civ games, the goal of this game is to manage a city-state throughout History, from the Stone Age to the Future Era, while the majority of other similar browser games focus instead on a single historical setting, like Sparta: Age of Empires or Anno Online. Although this does not speak for this game's originality, I am more inclined -oddly enough- to consider this as an innovation rather than a step back. Players of my generation grew up playing PC games such as Age of Empires (whose name most probably inspired InnoGames) and Civilization, that both had a similar game concept. In years, this sort of games were only rarely transposed to the web, so I am pleased that this happened again with Forge of Empires.

The game mechanics are quite standard, so let me jump straight into the main features of this game, and don't forget to check out the tips at the top-right of this page.

Resources and currency. There are a few currencies/points in the game:

  • Gold coins: these are produced by housing buildings .
  • Supplies: produced by production structures (butchers, cultivations, manufacturers, industries, etc.)
  • Medals: won though arenas with your neighbours (see later).
  • Diamonds: this is the premium currency, to speed up almost anything and revive casualties.
  • Morale: boosted by monuments, decorations, public structures. Making your population happy will get you a +20% on any production of gold and supplies, so keep those fellas smiling.

Time online. I have seen many games attempting in any way to keep you online, but FoE beats them all. If you are looking for a game to which you don't feel compelled to play every few hours, then Forge of Empires is definitely not for you, at least if you want to actually see some development in reasonable time, and be competitive with your neighbours. Here is a partial list of tricks that the developers put in place for this aim:

  • Gold coins are produced by housing buildings, whereas supplies by productive structures. The progression of such structures is such that it alternates between those producing coins more quickly (for example, 15 minutes) in small amount, and those producing more resources (per minute) but much slower (for example, every hour). Since coins must be collected by the player, this makes sure that logging in very often (and at different intervals) is always more convenient during the entire game.
  • Tech points (those that you use to go trough the tech tree) are given at the rate of one every hour. There is a buffer of ten points, so if you don't play at least once every ten hours, you will stay behind others.
  • Bonus resources are given to online players, in the form of 'quests' that are nothing more than a one-click activity.
  • Actions towards neighbours, such as attacking, polishing their monuments or motivating their workers, can be done one per day.

City development. A non-spoken vital resource of any city in this game is space for construction. The initial grid space is quite small, and it will take less than a couple of days to occupy it all with lilliputian urban life. While on one hand the player is expanding the city, on the other, in a global map, new territories can be explored and resource discovered. Fighting the AI civilisations makes gives rewards as well, and some times now grid squares to expand further the city. However, the primary way of acquiring new land is through the tech tree. As new building bring new exotic resources and possibilities to your community, or boost your production, more advances constructions also occupy smaller spaces. Finally, to build structures you need population, which you gain building houses. Differently from Anno Online, there are no differences among your fellow countrymen.

Tech tree. It is quite straightforward, and it does not need to be commented much. A novelty here is that, apart from spending tech points, you will also need to pay an unlocking price in gold, supplies or resources.

Multiplayer. Actions towards neighbours, such as attacking, polishing their monuments or motivating their workers, can be done one per day. As you log back to the game, if applicable, a small windows informs you of recent activity, so it is quite easy to keep track of friends and foes, retaliate or reciprocate. Commerce is done as well with your neighbours only, and although it is not clear how these are determined, this is actually a good idea, as it allows you to remember past interactions. If you prove yourself better then your flock, it seems that the game moves you to a new neighbourhood; usually one in which your current score in just average. This dynamic reassignment is definitely a good idea with respect to the usual global fixed map, as it avoids being surrounded all the time by inactive players to pillage at no risk (sorry, power-players). Another important interaction with other players is commerce; although exchanging resources with them is normally very convenient (players can set the exchange rate between 0.5 and 2 to avoid multi accounts, whereas the rate for AI merchants is always 0.1), every transactions will cost you a tech point. Finally, the game features a guild system, but it is honestly not clear what this is supposed to add to the game.

Units and combat system. As you would expect, an impressive number of different units can be trained during the game, from ancient warriors brandishing spears and slingshots, to helicopters, tanks, and futuristic units. The combat system is what makes this came quite unique in its genre: fights happen in real-time, in a turn-based fashion. Although the two 'armies' are limited to 8 units per faction, each of these has its own movement and combat abilities. Moreover, each unit gets different bonuses depending on the type of terrain in its current cell of the combat grid, which also influences the cost of transit in terms of movement points. Each unit also has an offensive bonus against a certain enemy class (light units, heavy units, and so on), which makes these mini-combats very interesting, as you are forced to understand their ever-changing strengths and weaknesses.

Overall gaming experience. I find Forge of Empires a good game, but the situation changes rapidly as you progress, when the fun is killed by the numerous countdowns (although the pace here is still better than many other similar games). The good thing is that, anytime you log in (for the reasons commented above), you will always have something to do. Also, the 'management' of the city is way too simple (no economy balance, social features, taxes, limited resources, etc), which makes this title a bit predictable and naive.

Forge of Empires ()
VideoGame > Browser Game (web browser)
Forge of Empires, historical, sim, management browser game
Score: 81 out of 100

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