Forge of Empires review: free until frustration sets in

By Daniel Chubb - May 8, 2013

Over the years I’ve put in thousands of hours playing strategy games, from some of the latest attempts to classics like Red Alert and Age of Empires. After seeing Forge of Empires advertised during the new Da Vinci TV Series, I thought this new online strategy game would be worth a quick review for our readers. That hands-on time was meant to last around an hour, but has since turned into over 10 hours playing thanks to what has been an addictive game in the early stages.

Forge of Empires has everything you would want from a game although it is run directly from the browser with no need to install a game, which will impress those that rarely play online strategy games on PC or Mac.

Get ahead by following the tasks set for at least the first hour – The game is designed to teach you how to play from the moment you start with a system that rewards you for taking small steps with set tasks, although you can go your own way but you’ll soon learn you missed out on some extra bonuses that could have been yours if you undertook set tasks. If you want to progress up the ranks fast then we recommend you perform the tasks offered for the first hour at least.

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The image above shows one such task and details what is required, the reward you will get for performing the task and an option to skip. It is worth noting you don’t have to do all of the tasks and some could lose you more than you gain, especially if the reward is hidden.

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Forge of Empires menus – There is so much you can do via the menus in Forge of Empires and this quick review won’t cover anywhere near as much as you can do, but in the photo above you can get a quick look at the building menu and other tabs that deliver more options. These tabs include Product Buildings, Goods Buildings, Cultural Buildings, Decorations, Military Buildings, Roads and Expansion.

We understood after around 3 hours of playing that you need to get the balance right when building different things, if you build too many homes then your people are unhappy and need different decorations to make them happy like trees, flowers and other special decorations that cost diamonds.

It is a good idea to always have more happiness for your people and then their happiness will be enthusiastic once it’s at 120% of the goal, which then delivers a lot more productivity.

If you build too much then you can run out of land to build and this means a need for expansion, which can get complicated involving costly research of new technologies. The key tip here is balance of what you spend, what you build and the resources gained from those buildings.

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Forge of Empires crates on buildings – In this screenshot above you can see a number of crates above buildings, which are now ready for collection. When you click these they reward you with something, which in most cases is coins and supplies in the early stages of gameplay.

When you first start building it is good to remember balance again and building too many huts right away could be a bad thing, which is thanks to huts delivering a lot less coin from citizens although in a faster time (all resources take a different a mount of time to arrive).

After progressing further it is good to have better homes like a Villa in the Iron Age, which delivers +120 coins every hour when your citizens are enthusiastic. This beats collecting +7 coins every few minutes when the homes are just huts, so don’t build too many in the early stage of gameplay or you will waste much needed land that you might need later.

When you logout of the game it will still carry on while you’re away, although you will only gain the coins and supplies when in a game and clicking to collect them. If you are away for a while make sure you research supplies for a longer amount of time, so you can collect bigger when you come back.

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Forge of Empires is free until frustration sets in – this quick review will be followed up with more articles delivering news on updates to Forge of Empires, and also information from future reviews after we give the game more hands-on time. The screenshot above shows you how much it costs to purchase diamonds in Forge of Empires, something we wish there had been a cheat for to get free diamonds, which is impossible considering this is how the game creators make their money.

Diamonds help you do things a lot quicker in Forge of Empires and while you can earn some diamonds for free, the majority cost you real money although this is how the game makes money considering it is free to get started. The game developers created a system that is geared around diamonds and you are enticed to purchase them in almost all areas of the game, from researching new technologies to fighting an army in battle. You are given the option to spend diamonds everywhere and if you don’t have them, the game will gladly take your pounds, dollars or what ever currency you choose.

This is a smart move by the games creators and we have purchased 2,000 diamonds on two occasions, which equaled about the cost of a boxed game you’d normally purchase. This cost came from a game that we thought had been free at the start, if you’re like us and get frustrated by waiting a long time to research or gain something then you could finding yourself parting with real cash to speed up the process.

Have you played Forge of Empires yet? This is only a quick review of the online game and we will follow up with more insight in the coming days and weeks. We very much doubt there’s any Forge of Empires cheats, but some tips can help you progress faster so feel free to share yours in the comments. You can also see the game trailer below.

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Also See: Forge of Empires Halloween 2016 quest list for answers