Forge of Empires (abbr.: FoE) is a browser-based strategy game developed by InnoGames. The open beta phase started on April 17, 2012, and it was released for the iPhone and iPad in 2014, as well as Android in 2015. By 2013, the game had 10 million players. The game is similar to both SimCity and Clash of Clans, but includes turn-based strategy elements.
Game: The main goal of the game is to build and enlarge a city beginning in the stone age and ending (by now) in the tomorrow era. For this purpose there are limited building grounds which can be expanded gradually. To buy new buildings and decoration the player needs coins and tools which can be collected from residential and production buildings. Besides there is a timeline on which the player has to unlock the eras in order to proceed in the game, a battle ground and a continent map that shows the provinces the player has to conquer.
City management: The main part of the game takes place on a city map, similar to SimCity. As players progress through various ages (shown by their town hall) by researching new technologies, they can unlock new buildings (either residential, goods, military, production or cultural), decorations, and an expanded building area. Other buildings include special buildings (gotten during events) or Great Buildings.
To buy a building, players must spend coins and supplies, and then place it where they would like it within their city. They can move the buildings later, during renovations of their city, or when progressing past the Colonial age, at which time the size of some buildings (such as residential) becomes bigger. (In the case of residential buildings, before the Industrial age, they are 2×2, but after, they are 2×3 or larger.)
Research: To progress through ages, players must research technologies through their research tree. Each technology requires a certain number of ‘Forge Points’, one of which is gained every hour. When a technology has been fully researched, a payment (in the form of goods, coins, supplies or a mix of the three) is required to unlock the technology, at which point, the building(s) associated with it are unlocked for purchase in the building menu.
Army management: Players can choose to expand their empire on the continent map by trading with the rulers of other lands, or by fighting them in combat. When fighting, the player must choose his army (up to 8 troops) and then will play against an AI with pre-determined troops in a turn-by-turn strategy game. Each troop has its own weaknesses, strengths, health and attack, and so proper strategy must be used to ensure a victory. If the player is victorious, they get that sector, and are closer to getting the province, which is gained when the player controls all of its sectors.
They can also choose to fight other players in PvP style, using the same system above (the defendant is played by the AI). A player may only attack the same player once every 24 hours. If the attacker wins, they can plunder one of their opponent’s buildings, collecting the coin, goods or supplies the building would have produced. The defendant’s army does not die; after the battle, they are re-set. However, the attacker’s army is not, and all losses must be re-trained in their city.
Guild vs Guild: A recent addition to the game, Guild vs Guild (often shortened to GvG) takes place on a separate map, where guilds can team together, donating soldiers from their players to fight either in-game characters or other guilds who control pieces of land (both controlled in battle by AI). At the end of each day, GvG resets and guilds with lands in the areas win prizes, power and prestige, which are used to benefit the guild and its members.
Currencies: Forge of Empires has multiple currencies and other items used to level up, research, complete quests and buy items. These are:
Coins: One of the two main currencies of the game, coins are produced in residential buildings and are used to research technologies, level up, build buildings, train troops and produce goods.
Supplies: The other main currency, supplies are produced in production (or supply) buildings and are used to research technologies, level up, build buildings, train troops, and produce goods.
Goods: Goods are produced in a goods building through a payment of coins, supplies and time, and are used to trade for land and level up. A variety of goods are available (5 per time period/level). Examples of goods available include wine, gold, jewelry, basalt, granite, and coke. Boosts can be found in some territories that allow for an increased rate of production of a particular good in its production building, and are claimed when the territory is controlled. These boosts last infinitely.
Medals: Medals are earned by ranking in the PvP boards for different ages, through certain Great Buildings (such as the Colosseum) or through Victory Towers. Medals are used to increase land space.
Forge Points: Forge Points are earned freely, at the rate of 1 an hour (more can be bought for either coins or diamonds, and packages of 2, 5 or 10 are given occasionally as rewards for finishing quests or in special events). They are used to level up Great Buildings, trade goods in the marketplace or research technologies.
Diamonds: The game’s premium currency, diamonds can only be earned through quests or by purchasing them through the game with real currency. Diamonds can be used to buy premium buildings, speed up building, training or scouting time, as a method to increase land space (other than medals or technological unlocks), as well as to motivate buildings to produce more goods.
Types of buildings: There are multiple types of buildings featured in the game, including residential, goods, production, military and cultural, as well as decorations. All buildings (with the exceptions of decorations) require a connection to a road connected to the Town Hall.
Residential: These buildings provide a set number of workers (which are needed for goods, production, and military buildings). They also produce a certain number of coins every 1, 2, 8 or 24 hours. Coins and supplies are usually needed to build them; however, there is at least one example of a premium residential building which requires diamonds to buy.
Goods: Goods buildings produce goods (such as wine, gold, jewelry, textiles, or coke). The player must select how many of these he wants to produce (by selecting the production time of 4 hours, 8 hours, 1 day or 2 days). The amount these production times yield depends on whether or not the boost has been found on the continental map and has been claimed by owning the territory associated with it. A cost of supplies and coins is then taken, the amount depending on the production period and age to produce the goods, though they are refunded if the goods production is cancelled. Goods are used to trade for new lands and unlock technologies. These buildings cost supplies, coins and workers.
Production: Production buildings (occasionally called supply buildings) are used to produce supplies, which are used to buy buildings and produce goods. When selecting a production building, the player can choose to have a production time of 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, 8 hours or 1 day. Most production buildings are bought with coins and supplies; however, there are at least two examples of premium production buildings. These buildings cost supplies, coins and workers.
Military: Military buildings are used to train military units (used in battle modes and to protect your city). The training time varies depending on the age and unit, with time ranging from 30 seconds (spearman in the first age) to a day (special units, such as Military Drummer, Rogue, or Champion). Military buildings cost supplies, coins and workers.
Cultural: Cultural buildings provide happiness, which increases the productivity and adds bonuses to coin and supply productions when the population is happy or enthusiastic. On the other hand, a lack of happiness can cause a decrease in the production of such items. Cultural buildings are similar to decorations; however, they need to be connected to a road.
Decorations: Decorations provide happiness, which increases the productivity and adds bonuses to coin and supply productions when the population is happy or enthusiastic. On the other hand, a lack of happiness can cause a decrease in the production of such items. They are similar to cultural buildings, though they tend to be smaller and do not require the use of roads to connect them to the town hall.
Special buildings: Special buildings are buildings given away during events. These buildings are usually extraordinarily useful. They fall into one of the above categories, with a few exceptions. These exceptions are the Wishing Well (produces random item), Victory Towers (medals), the Monastery (adds 20% to city defense) and the Hall of Fame (power, used in Guild vs Guild); however, certain buildings can fall under more than one category (such as the Oasis, which produces both coins and goods).
Great Buildings: Great Buildings are buildings that can be built by a player when they collect all of the blueprints (9 per building) to construct it and pay the goods cost. They tend to be larger than the average building, with sizes ranging from 2×3 to 6×6 and beyond. Great buildings cannot be plundered, but can be leveled up (up to level 10) through the use of Forge Points. These buildings are based on real life or historical buildings, such as the Tower of Babel, Library of Alexandria, Alcatraz and Cape Canaveral.
At each level, the Great Building produces greater and greater rewards, which vary depending on the building. They do, however, with the exception of the Statue of Zeus, have two rewards per building, one passive (which happens once per level, when the building is leveled up), and non-passive (which happens at minimum daily). Passive rewards can include a boost in population, happiness, or a bonus to production, while non-passive rewards can include extra (randomly chosen) goods, supplies, medals, or coins.
Special events: Numerous times throughout the year, Forge of Empires offers special events to its players, which allow players to get special buildings, earn more coins, medals and supplies as well as new character portraits. These are often run during special times of the year. So far, there have been 16 events, and they occur five to six times a year. Special quests are created for the event, and they either award the player with a variety of event currencies which chain depending on the event (e.g. Cookies for Christmas, Eggs for Easter) or give the player rewards for completion.
Upon the completion of the event (Halloween or Valentine’s Day), a major building is rewarded to the player, and an updated version is rewarded in its stead if the player already has it. For example, a new player completing the event can get the Graveyard, while a player who has completed two Halloween events (or has won the Graveyard during other events) will get an Old Graveyard, and a player who already has the Old Graveyard will get the Ancient Graveyard.
The events that give special event currencies (summer, Christmas and Easter as well as the World Cup) for completing quests have another screen, where the player can either spin a wheel (summer), pick a shuffled shell game style prize (Christmas) or buy an item from the special store (Easter) for a certain number of their currencies. The summer wheel, for instance, costs 1 ticket, but tickets are given at the rate of 1 or 2 per quest or through spinning; while the Christmas event costs 10 cookies a pick, but cookies are given in quest rewards (or in the prizes) in multiples of 10–50. The Easter event gives egg packages, which can be hidden in decorations in other players’ cities and when picked are worth 1, 5, 10, 20 or 50 eggs, which can then be used to buy items in the stores, with prices ranging from 20 to 600.
Past events have been:
- Halloween 2012, 2013, 2014
- Christmas 2012, 2013, 2014
- Birthday 2013
- Valentines Day 2013, 2014 and 2015
- Easter 2013, 2014 and 2015
- World Cup 2014
- Summer 2013, 2014 and 2015
- 2013 – MMO Award for Best Strategy Browser MMO
- 2013 – Deutscher Computerspielpreis (German Computer Game Award) for Best Browser Game