Forge of Empires Game

Forge of Empires – Settlement-building strategy played out in a real-time fashion 

Grand-Scale Tower Defense

Because of the large amount of time that real-time strategy games require in order to make any sort of progress within them, you will often find yourself hugely disappointed to find that your investment of time was not a wise one upon discovering that the reward for your effort is progress in a game that really isn’t that good in the first place. Waiting for a game to simply ‘get good’ after an initially disappointing start is like the gaming equivalent of ‘chasing the dragon’, only without having even experience the initial ‘gaming high’ in the first place. Forge of Empires is a game that is all dragon but with none of the chasing. Combining real-time strategy with empire-building, resource-management, turn-based battles, and even hints of tower defense on a grand scale (your empire is effectively a complex tower with various attributes that must be defended against other players), Innogames have produced a title that will keep you coming back for more on a regular basis.

Gameplay

The majority of the gameplay consists of building and managing your settlement. Beginning with simple huts in the Stone Age, you must construct residential buildings in order to build population numbers and secure regular income of gold coins (the main in-game currency). Resources must also be farmed by creating production buildings, and the happiness of your population also affects their productivity; this latter attribute can be boosted by building decorations and cultural buildings as your town expands. Building an army is also essential for defending your civilisation and also for expanding your geographical might by invading surrounding areas: this is achieved by constructing military buildings to produce weapons and troops. The whole thing is like a very strategic and long-term balancing act where you must nurture your settlement over time from the Stone Age to the High Middle Ages, and it is an entertaining, almost consuming experience.

Research for Victory

The main selling point of the gameplay – and indeed the element of the game that drew me in for the long haul – is the fact that your progress is limited to your technological capability, a factor which can be greatly advanced through scientific research. You can conduct research by using ‘forge points’, and can investigate different concepts that roughly follow the path of history, from the discovery of the wheel, right through to the refining of raw materials, the proliferation of architecture, and the discovery/use of mathematics and physics. Each of these ‘discoveries’ results in different benefits to your civilisation that range from simple geographical expansion to the ability to build bigger, better, and more advanced buildings. The primitive huts of the Stone Age, for example, soon become roof-tile houses once you perform enough research to push your town into the Iron Ages. It’s not exactly a respectable historical source, but advancing from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age and beyond gives you a sense of progress that feels so real that you can almost feel with your own hands.

Battle Happy

The game even incorporates some ground-level, real-time battles to add to the glory of the already- fantastic experience. Once you have researched and developed your army to a respectable standard, you will be able to invade surrounding lands in order to expand your empire. The battles take place on a small piece of terrain with a geometric overlay that allows you to indicate where you wish your troops to go and the actions they should take. Your army may begin as a set of pathetic spearfighters but the more you research, the better your troops become, eventually leading on to having barracks that can create highly-trained soldiers with knowledge of the phalanx formation. The game also allows you to battle against other players in tournaments, or simply to exact revenge on your neighbours should they decide to attack and plunder your settlement.

Real-Time Royalty

My experience with Forge of Empires leaves no doubt in my mind that it is one of, if not the best browser-based game of real-time strategy I have ever played. Its combination of resource management, connectivity with other players, turn-based battles, fantastic graphics, and detailed animation is unrivalled, and the ability to research your way through the ages is frightfully addictive. I struggle to see how Innogames are going to top this one.

85/100

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