This guide is aimed at players who are not quite at the top of their game but which goes into details of how to improve their chances in battle and so on. Special thanks to Humpers2 for sharing this great guide.
Welcome to this guide on how to play Goodgame Empire. As for my general aim, I have tried to keep it as short and as helpful as possible. The reason for writing this is purely down to being asked the same questions countless times by players in-game and by seeing similar questions posted and re-posted on the forums. I hope to do more than answer the questions but to explain them and not at a completely basic level: this guide is intended for readers who have started playing and who perhaps want their armies to be more successful or would like to get the most out of their spies. This guide is for the improvement of their gameplay and I am confident that even many top-level players will find something of benefit here.
The reason why I have started with tools is because I so often see incorrect information passed on and see forwarded combat reports from my friends (who are very experienced players), which make me want to hit my head into a brick wall. Why? Because they have used tools particularly ineffectively and as a result have lost the battle or lost excessive troops.
Firstly it is important to understand exactly what tools do. When defending they increase bonuses that are already present due to castle defences. For example having Stone-throwing tools in two slots will increase a castle wall bonus by an additional 50% or (25% each). What does this actually mean? It means that the defensive power of any troops stationed on this wall will be boosted by the bonus giving them an advantage. When attacking the aim is to reduce the advantages or bonuses that the defender has to 0% meaning the troops will fight an even battle. An important note here is that by overloading attacking tools you will not receive any additional bonus-the defending troops will still fight at normal strength. If, for example you have spied and the enemy has an 80% boost on his wall then it is only necessary to use 8x ladders which reduce it by 10% each. Using 9 or more ladders will have no effect on the battle at all.
A castle with level 4 walls and a level 4 gate has a natural wall and gate bonus of 80% without any defensive tools, so even if your spy report shows the enemy has no tools, it is still important to send attacking tools to reduce these bonuses as precisely as possible to 0% if you want to reduce your troop casualties. If you are farming high level players its worth throwing 20 or so ladders at the castle since you will likely be plundering tens of thousands of resources anyways.
So far, so good? Well now tools become more complicated as you will see! There are four basic types of combat bonus tools (with corresponding attack and defence ones): Wall bonus, such as Scaling Ladders, gate bonus, such as Battering Rams, ranged defense bonus, such as Flaming Arrows and finally moat bonus, such as Fire Moat.
Unfortunately when attacking there are only 2 slots on each flank and 3 slots in the centre, meaning that the defender can always get a bonus somewhere. For example the defender can bolster his moat on his left flank with Sharpened Stakes, his wall with Stone-throwing and his wall with Flaming Arrows meaning that on each wave his defenders will receive at least some bonus. This knowledge is vital as attackers, often because Siege workshop level 3 is a high-tier building, omit moat tools meaning the moat offers an excellent opportunity for a very significant defensive bonus. If they have omitted wall tools in favour of mantlets and moat tools, then boost up your wall bonus and sacrifice your moat tools, just pull them out and save them for your next fight-be sensible as if your tools aren’t doing anything just save them until next time! If you see 80 Belfries (which reduce wall bonus by 20%) then why would you leave your stone-throwers in there?
As for tools there are two more crucial things to understand, the first of which is Mantlets. They are the ONLY type of attacking tool which can reduce the defensive soldier’s capabilities to nothing-by this I mean that wall tools have no effect after eliminating the defensive bonus as explained in the previous paragraph. Mantlets (or other types of ranged defense bonus attacking tools such as Shield Walls) reduce ranged soldiers effectiveness rather than advantage. What does this mean? If your enemy has 100 longbowmen on one flank, you could actually send one bowman, who is a very poor offensive unit to attack them with 20 normal mantlets (each reducing effectiveness by 5%) and he would kill all of them.
An example of this absolute attacker advantage is shown through these screenshots when one longbowman with 20 mantlets takes down 50 scouts of the kingsguard (ranged defenders)
If you are defending a mantlet-heavy attack be sure to alter your ranged-melee percentage of defenders, you can do so by clicking the icon with a bow and sword on the defensive page. If you have no tools which can re-increase the ranged defense bonus then consider defending with 100% melee defenders. Melee defenders are actually very competent against ranged attackers with a decent moat/wall bonus so if there are lots of mantlets, use melee defenders with lots of moat/wall bonus and you will be fine!
The final thing to note with regards to tools is the Armourer. It is a random event which occurs approximately every 10 days, but when he comes make sure you purchase some good Armourer tools. The Fire Moat costing 88 rubies is a solid purchase as the 110% bonus can often save many troops and the Arrow Slits and Machiolation offer a substantial bonus too. In general it is very difficult to defeat a castle with Armourer defense tools without heavy ruby attack tools yourself so it is well worth stocking up next time you see the fella pop up underneath your castle.
For now I am going to omit tools such as loot carts and glory banners as they are self-explanatory and will not influence the verdict of the battle itself unless an attacker has decided to use too many profit-gaining tools as I like to label them as opposed to battle tools.
Of the entirety of my guide, this section is perhaps the most subjective. It will assess the value of rubies being spent in different ways and it will evaluate ruby buildings. As such this section of the guide should be taken with a pinch of salt, people like to play the game in different ways, something that I both respect and understand. What this chapter intends to identify is the crucial elements that should not be omitted from a ruby player’s game. The first point to make is that if you are buying rubies you have two options, the first is permanent usage, so for example, a watchtower (a building which allows you to see incoming attacks quicker). The second option is to select boosts that you purchase per week, for example overseers (boost production by 25% per week).
ThIS starting point is the most important to any player and if you are a complete non-ruby user, you too should take note. The bakery is the single most important ruby building in the game. In brief it reduces the food consumption per troop by a certain percentage ultimately increasing your troop capacity. As any experienced player will tell you troop-count is key to Empire. If you are only purchasing a set amount of rubies my advice in this section is simple. Buy bakeries with your rubies until you run out. They will help you more than any other building and are a permanent asset to have.
A common misconception is that the bakery has a similar effect as the flourmill and on first glance it would appear so. However, this is false and is easier to disprove with an example:
If I have 2000 food production meaning that without a bakery or flourmill I could have 500 heavy crossbowmen in this castle or outpost.
A flour mill would increase food production to 2200 and therefore mean 550 heavy crossbowmen could be there, however a bakery reduces consumption of each troop to 3.6 (4x90%). 2000 food production per hour divided by 3.6 is 555.5 meaning we can have 5 more troops at food equilibrium with a bakery than with the flour mill.
This is because the consumption has the effect of compounding the advantage, for every 0.4 of food saved, that remaining 0.4 will only be consumed at 90% the rate. In addition reduced food consumption is easier to maintain, by which I mean that other players sending 1000 food will feed more troops or if you need to transport food across realms the troops will last longer.
The point I am making here, which is often misunderstood is that the bakery does significantly more than the flour mill (which should always be level 3 regardless), it makes food management easier and 90% food consumption is actually far superior to 110% food production. In summary if you’re castle doesn’t have rubies and you’re spending them elsewhere then stop. Bakeries should be level 4 in all castles before you splash out the rubies elsewhere but above all bakeries are critical in food OPs and main castles in the ice, fire and sand realms (where your troop count will be highest).
With bakeries, the most significant ruby building tackled I will tackle the remaining ruby buildings. Drill grounds can be considered a very useful building to have, they increase recruitment time substantially but with feasting available and boosting recruitment by a vastly superior 300% with the Kings Feast, they are by no means a necessity. If you are, however, a ‘combatant’ that likes a good scrap, then they should be next on your Christmas ruby wish list after full bakeries. Many would argue that stables are the next most important building, and I would not be one to disagree. Depending on the type of player you are before you take the bigger ruby-spending leap from drill ground level 1 (1500 rubies) to level 2 (13500 rubies), you may want to first invest in Stables upgrades. The advantages are simpler to understand that that of a bakery. Quicker troop movement means a whole host of consequential bonuses such as faster looting cycles, quicker attacks on the enemy, more chance of being able to support alliance members and in summary more effective armies.
These three buildings are what I would describe as the must-haves to a heavy ruby-user’s game. Bakeries are essential for anyone who wishes to compete man-for-man but the stables and drill grounds will provide players an ever greater platform to play the game from. So what other ruby buildings are there? The watchtower, the fire station, the ruby moat, the town house and decorations. In essence the watchtower depends on your own circumstances, are you being attacked enough to warrant its value? Will the watchtower mean your allies can get to you quicker and support you in time? These are questions that depend on the individual but in my opinion the watchtower should only be bought after the three key ruby buildings that I have already discussed since they will alter your chances of winning the battle not through more support time for others to help you but through a stronger army yourself. Less reliance can be a good thing, and the less of these latter ruby buildings the more space you will have for decorations which will boost food production and ultimately troop capacity.
As to the fire station you are essentially alerting enemies that your defenses are weak, since you are prepared to burn. It is not only a bad ruby investment since it will not strengthen you, but on the contrary, it takes up a fair amount of space which could be boosting troop capacity through food production. The 10% fire reduction is pitiful too. Anyone with a fire station I would recommend demolishing it. Additionally if there is an incoming attack which you cannot defend it is significantly more cost effective in terms of rubies to open your gates rather than repair the damage which can often be in the thousands of rubies.
The ruby moat again is not worth the money. It does not offer another slot to moat defenses and the 12500 rubies it costs would better be spent on fire moat tools. Of course the 10% boost is permanent and will make a small difference but if your rubies are limited buying the ruby moat is pointless - The 10% permanent boost will rarely affect battles but the 110% bonus from a fire moat will often be decisive. At 84 rubies each, 148 fire moats will be a great boost to your defensive capabilities for the same price.
Townhouses by many top players are being demolished because coins are much better acquired by towers in the sand and fire realms. You can make a nice 35000+ coin profit off a dragon, and off a sand tower you are looking at an 8000+ coin profit. That profit is the amount of coins you are rewarded minus the troop costs to recruit and potential transportation costs from one realm to the next. It is clear that 10 minute tax cycles are of the past, and one person in my alliance by demolishing all dwellings and townhouses and replacing with decorations which increase food production, managed to increase his total troop count by 1500. Population 0 is what is desired by many top players now. If you are not yet in sands or fire, it is still a good idea to stick to dwellings since the benefit of town houses is by no means great and additionally the knowledge that you will eventually not need them should be enough to put you off them.
The final permanent ruby buildings are decorations. These are for the heavier ruby players and are mainly to increase production (and troop count) as well as recruitment times and other public order benefits. The most important ones to note are the jousting list and the festival squares. The festival squares are clearly the best public order/space decoration in the game, meaning a castle fully kitted with these ruby decorations will have a very high level of food production, however, to any players who can’t break the bank so easily I will suggest an alternative. A park provides 104 public order, a jousting list 180 public order and a festival square 190 public order. It is clear that there exists a significant jump between parks’ and jousting lists’ benefits whereas a much lower difference between jousting lists’ and festival squares’. At 4375 rubies compared to 5500 rubies you are spending 79.5% as many rubies for what is a 5.3% bonus to public order. When we consider that production is given by the formula 100+2*Square root of Public Order ie 100+2*SQRT(PO) we realise that this 5.3% bonus will in fact be an even smaller boost to production due to the diminishing returns of Public Order. In other words splitting your ruby decorations between buildings and purchasing jousting lists instead of festival squares (unless you have unlimited rubies) is the best option and the ‘certified’ Humpers recommendation.
Permanent ruby buildings are in my opinion the most important things to spend your rubies on. They will provide the basis to any player’s ruby investment and these next temporary bonuses vary in terms of importance, however, as I started with bakeries in the first section I will start with food overseer here. The one weekly upgrade worth purchasing above all else is the food overseer, a boost of 25% to food production will mean a significant increase in troop count (which I am aware I keep harking on about now!) and at 625 rubies per week is a steal. If the additional troops that you get from this bonus defeat a few sand fortresses per week, you are already in ‘ruby-profit’. Indeed the veteran overseers which rarely appear in the Hunter’s Lodge are offering an even better 30% boost to production at 999 rubies per week. However, here is the best bit: you can have both overseers running simultaneously, a 55% total production increase for only 1700 rubies per week. When you see the vet overseers in the Lodge next time, make sure you grab that food overseer and stock up on his delicious bonus for your hungry troops! Another way of identifying when this wonderful man arrives is that the King’s Market tab will turn orange indicating his presence.
All the rest of the ‘heroes’ such as the other resource overseers, the merchant and so on are all in my opinion luxuries and although each provide their own useful bonus for me they are in the circumstantial bracket. If you have the rubies to spend and have a lot of lower level alliance members perhaps you will want to siphon off more of your resources and invest in the merchant, in other circumstances during a particularly gruesome war the medico may be a wise choice. As I set out, however, in the introduction to this chapter, these all end up as personal choices and I cannot comment therefore on them.
So what else in the ruby world is there? The Kings Flag? No benefit in-game unless you want to show off that you have 5000 rubies to spare. The majority of players I see with the Kings Flag I actually assume are bad players, since those 5000 rubies could have certainly been used elsewhere. How many times do I see an up-and-coming player with a Kings Flag and think, why didn’t you build a bakery with those rubies… Well after this chapter of the guide I hope a lot less. Try to hold off from ‘speeding-up’ construction of auto finishing with rubies unless you have a lot of rubies to spend. Remember that this game is not a sprint, and any rubies you ‘auto-build’ with could have made a decisive difference in a battle with tools which are worth noting. Please refer to my previous chapter about tools if you have not already; they often make the difference in battle and can save literally thousands of troops, however, the choice of how many to buy and whether to use normal ruby tools or armourer tools is again a personal one, based on how many total rubies you have to spend. As a general rule, the more ruby tools, in particular, armourer tools, the better your attack and/or defense will be (as long as used within the guidelines of my Tools chapter).
The last thing worth noting is alliance donations. Again these are a personal choice, however, in any alliance, donations are hugely appreciated and costly upgrades are more often than not obtainable through very small individual contributions. What is important to remember is that these donations although not directly impacting your game will ultimately improve your experience whilst playing Empire and your chances in war. As for alliance upgrades, member count, support speed and attack speed are all critical with number bonus being ultimately useless, many top players when fully built struggle to get rid of their resources quickly enough, and looting bonus being occasionally effective for food starving (a topic and strategy about which I will write when discussing warfare).
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