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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Sparta: War of Empires

management historical war

Sparta: War of Empires  in short
pros cons
some good ideas unoriginal
visually captivating uneffective setting
premium a must
heavy interface
originality 4 details 6
care 7 diversity 7
experience 5 longevity 8
graphics 8 multiplayer 7
would you recommend it?

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 force of King Xerxes I, as he sought to conquer all of Greece.

As you would expect, you will be put in charge of your own spartan city-state and it's fate you will be in your hands: will it flourish and prevail, or will it be soon be dominated and disappear from records into shadows of History, where the lesser belong?

Under the guidance of Leonidas I himself (King of Sparta at the time), who will help you during the early phases of the game, you will learn the ropes and prepare to make a stand against the Persian Empire and fight, trade and ally with your neighbours.

I'm a spartan girl, in a spartan world

The setting seems perfect: historical poleis fought for many centuries against each other, formed coalitions, traded with the known world. And they were independent (sometimes under the protection of some bigger brother), and they were ruled my monarchs, councils, oligarchs. Perfect for a strategy-manager historical browser games, right? Well, the problem here is that everybody is spartan. Yes: there are thousands of 'Sparta-like' cities in this spartan world, and you are one of them. Where are the Athenians, the Thebans, the Mycenaeans? It would have been nice to choose your culture, and evolve it through cultural choices/advancements, and create your own fictional greek polis, even with a common 'spartan background'. Why everybody has to be the same instead? An ultimately, what is Sparta here? Is this just the n-th clumsy exploitation of a famous movie/setting/franchise? Apparently yes.

By the way, let's leave aside these considerations about what a real game about greek cities should have been, and go back to the game as it is.

Be online and click that button!

As you start your tutorial stage under the benevolent protection of Kind Leonidas, you will go through long a series of tasks. There are plenty of opportunities here to start building your own little empire and make your city flourish. Building infrastructure is expensive, all gamers know that, so you will raid persian positions (AI only) or defend greek (AI only) positions against the eastern shadow, but also attack your fellow greek cities. There are two types of attacks: raiding a city will give you loot, whereas besieging cities will expand your protectorate over rivals, which will pay you tributes until they (or somebody else) rule out your occupying troops. Since these two option both come with a price in casualties, the usual spy-system will allow you to judge your moves. There are also other ways to acquire resources (namely timber, bronze, grain) fast: the guys at Plarium recently added quests (either individual, coalition, and divine) that provide you for something to do while online. Yes, because Plarium (the developer) wants you to stay online: as in other games, it seems that you can raise resources faster by emptying the 'buffer' attached to each production structure. However, all these quest are nothing more that a clicking exercise: you click, wait, grab rewards. Done. Boring? Yes it is, especially given that the entire tutorial/task system is a fixed track you can hardly ignore.

So we come now to one of the biggest problems with this game: a lot of nonsensical clicking around. The rest is automatised. The tutorial is an endless sequence of popup windows to close. Beautifully designed and illustrated, that's true, but still annoying. They talk about sacrifices to the deities, divine quests, heroes, but apart from those illustrations nothing is there. Only closing beautiful popups. After the thirtieth you stop reading. That's the awful truth.

On wars, and how to alienate people

Units are divided into attack and defence. What the long tutorial should mention is that keeping your offensive units into your city will not help defending it at all. You should better move them to the acropolis, where they are kept safe together with part of your resources. The units are beautifully illustrated, and it is a pity that combats are not animated, but you receive just reports instead. Actually, the entire graphic is awesome, and it really keeps you hooked. There are two main views: the usual city view and the gobal map, where you look for allies and cities to raid.

Apart from building structures, you need to study ancient scrolls and sign agreements. The first two amount to some more clicking, while the last is way more interesting. The concept is very nice: you need to collect (or trade) some articles to sign agreements with famous historical cities. This basically replaces the usual tech tree. The nice part is that the game provides you some of these articles, at the rate of one per day, but then it is up to you to trade the ones you don't need (anymore) with new ones, using a special section in the market.

Multiplayer interactions are encouraged: you can trade, protect, join coalitions, declare joint wars etc, as usual. Each one of your 'friends', not necessarily coalition members, can help you fight as an hero in your army. A brilliant idea, that fits with the heroic setting.

If you are lucky enough to start with just a few neighbours with the same level as yourself, then you have many chances of becoming a respected polis. However, any other situations will bring you to endless conflicts and retaliations. Of course, that's why you joined the game in the first place, however it is arguable that a normal player doesn't stand a chance against a paying player, leading to the usual, well known frustration loop. Buying drachmas will greatly speed up your city development, and many of the most important features require so many drachmas to be virtually inaccessible otherwise (or at least very rarely). Two examples for all: defensive structures, or the ability to 'revive' causalities, which is a good card to play for fast retaliation. I think you all got the point. It's not the first time we saw it, and it won't be the last. Actually, I do not have anything against paying for a game you like, but this should not be so expensive.

So Sparta: War of Empires is a nice game, but don't let the graphics (and sound/music/dubbing! they are very good) fool you, or at least not too much.

Sparta: War of Empires ()
VideoGame > Browser Game (web browser)
Sparta: War of Empires, management, historical, war browser game
Score: 52 out of 100

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