I very rarely play games and even more rarely write about them. I can count on one hand how many games have truly gripped me enough to play them longer than a few days. So when I tell people I am currently addicted to playing an iPad game, they look at me in disbelief.

About a decade ago, my wife and I played a Sid Meier game where you made your own golf course. Then you had to run it as a profitable business. Our lives stopped for months as this game took over our lives. Then our version of Windows got upgraded and the game stopped working.

Now with the iPad Air, the same thing is happening all over again with Forge Of Empires, quite possibly the most addictive game I have ever played.

Create Your Own World & Be King (Or Queen)

The iPad is a wonderful device for playing games. Although you can play Forge Of Empires in an internet browser, it is a rather clunky and awkward experience using a trackpad or mouse.

But the iPad version is wonderful. Graphics are very smooth, the bright colors pop out at you and tapping the screen to make selections is fast and easy.

The image above shows Mark City after four days of continuous play. But when you start for the first time, you only have the town hall, some land, some coins and some diamonds. Then it’s time to start building your own civilization.

Your Options

Let’s take a look at the options that present themselves at the bottom of the screen, but I will miss out Market, Inventory, and Settings. You won’t need them to start the game and they are pretty easy to figure out.

It’s worth pointing out that this is a game that will take literally YEARS to play. It’s a slow methodical logical long-term game. Your civilization starts off in the Bronze Age and as you progress, you enter the Iron Age, The Middle Ages, and more until you enter the Modern Era.

Build

The whole point of the game is to buy more and more land, and build on it to make your empire bigger, richer, and more powerful than ever before. So the quicker you start building, the faster the population moves in and therefore the quicker the tax revenue starts coming in.

So start building on your available land by checking your money and seeing what you can afford. At the very least, start building huts which will provide some money at the beginning.

You can click on the question mark on each one to see what you need to build it (how much money, how many tools, etc).

You also have to build up an economy as that also promotes wealth and taxes. So as you raise the money (and acquire the land), start building your industries.

Research

Obviously as you progress, your industries become much more advanced. But for that to happen, you need to do research on various areas.

For research to start, progress, and succeed, you need what is called Forge Points. These are automatically generated at the rate of one an hour and you can use them on whatever research level you are currently at. Or if you want more Forge Points faster, you can buy them, either with your game coins, game diamonds, or real money.

When a research level is over, you gain benefits such as more land, or the fruits of that research (each module will tell you what you gain at the end of it).

Army

Every empire needs a military and you will need to build yours straight away. So start building military barracks and train your soldiers. Then you can decide who will be in the front-lines if battle comes. The green squares indicate if any of them are wounded or not.

Obviously at the beginning, your army will be very rudimentary in terms of weapons but as your research progresses, so will your weaponry.

Map

To build an empire, you need to know where you are going and where your enemies live. For that, you need a map.

The green areas are the ones you control (either through negotiation or by war) and the red areas are held by the enemy. If you click on an enemy position, you will be greeted by the ruler and you will see your options.

You will see their price for negotiation. If you don’t have it, you can buy it if you have the diamonds or trade for the items on the open market. Or if you’re feeling particularly bloodthirsty, you can see their military strength and see if you fancy a bit of a fistfight.

As you can see they have swords and I have….stones? So no, time for a graceful exit and maybe a negotiation.

Everybody Needs a Friend

One of the strengths of “Forge Of Empires” is that you can build up alliances with other players. They can spend coins in your world and you spend coins in theirs. Especially in the tavern where they will spend money drinking your beer.

They can also send you “motivation” which is where gold stars pop up on your screen. Although, being told they have polished your flowers is rather weird….

Money Collection!

Depending on the type of building and industry, money will start to come in every couple of hours or so. When it is ready, you will see coins hovering above each place. Just tap them and the money will be banked in the treasury.

At the top of the screen, you will see the current amounts of everything so you will know right away if you are flush or going broke.

Your Advisors

Every ruler needs advisors so when you start the game, you are introduced to your people. They will warn you of any impending problems, suggest what to do next and sell your wares.

Make People Happy

Finally, as any dictator will tell you, if the population gets unhappy and restless, you’re in big trouble.

So give them things to make them happy. A tavern to let them get drunk, a theater to make them laugh, statues to convince them how wonderful they are, and schools to educate them.

If they are happy, they work harder. That means more tax revenue. A win-win all round.