The game proceeds in basically three stages. Getting Started, where you are just trying to get your city off the ground; Construction, where you are spending most of your resources on buildings and research; and Combat, where you are building your army, and attacking other cities. Each stage has slightly different concerns for keeping up your gold and resources.
Notice that your play style may have you in Combat before Construction, or both at the same time. Just look over both sections and decide for yourself where to concentrate your resources.
Getting Started Phase
The best thing you can do when starting out is follow the recommended Quests. The game will direct you building-by-building to start a well balanced city, with the resources that you need and a reasonable gold income. The quests also reward you by with many resources, often completely replacing those that you used to obtain the quest objective. Follow the quests until you reach level 7, at least.
- Food - The quests will direct you to build 3 Farms and upgrade one of them to level 5. This should provide plenty of food for your new city, so long as you don't start training Troops. You are too small to defend yourself right now, so don't waste resources training troops that will eat a lot of food and then die if you get attacked by a stronger player.
- Wood - You will find yourself running out of Wood a lot in the beginning. The quests will direct you to build 4 Sawmills, and upgrade one of them to level 3. Consider building 5 or 6 if you have the space, and upgrading them all to level 3 when you can.
- Stone - The quests will direct you to build 3 Quarries and upgrade one of them to level 3. This will provide you with plenty of Stone in the beginning. Later on, you will need a lot of stone for just a few constructions, and then you won't need very much stone at all. Stick with 3 quarries for now.
- Ore - The quests will direct you to build 2 Mines and upgrade one of them to level 3. You will not start needing Ore until later in the game, when you are building cavalry troops and siege engines. Stick with 2 mines for now.
- Population - In the beginning, you need people to employ to collect your resources. Your people will also pay taxes to provide you with Gold income. The quests will direct you to build 3 Cottages and upgrade one of them to level 3. Consider building more than this, as many as 8-10 cottages, to increase your idle population and tax income.
- Gold - The quests will direct you to set your tax rate to 20%. You will also hire your first Knight, which means you need to collect enough gold to pay the knight's hourly salary. You can set your tax rate to 20% long enough to get the quest credit, then lower it if you like. You don't need very much gold in the beginning, just enough to pay salaries and a little to start Research in your Alchemy Lab. Gold is also the one resource that cannot be protected in a Storehouse, so don't bother collecting a lot of it if you are just going to get attacked. Consider adopting the Increase Gold strategy described on the Gold page if you are under frequent attack.
Every upgrade to your Castle will give you 3 additional field spaces to use to increase your production. You should build these new fields as soon as they become available, increasing whichever product you need the most. You should also keep your fields upgraded both to increase your production and your storage capacity.
You should employ at least 3 Knights. You need a Foreman to increase your building speed, an Alchemystic to increase your research speed, and a Steward to increase your resource production. Hire these knights early so they can gain experience from your Knights Hall while your city grows. Go ahead and hire a 4th knight as your Marshal, and 1-2 more knights to command your Troops later on. The earlier they start, the higher their levels will be when you start to need them.
You should consider starting a 2nd City as soon as you can. Each city has a separate building queue and research queue, as well as a full set of city and field spaces to support those efforts. You will need to start a minimal army to conquer a Plain for your second. You can win a level 1 plain with 100 Militiamen, and then you need an additional 250 Supply Troops to carry the resources needed to start the city.
You should also conquer Wilderness areas on the map to get an additional bonus to your resource production. The Wilderness bonus is cumulative: 2x level 2 Woods = 1x level 4 Woods = 10% bonus to production of wood. You can conquer one wilderness for each level of your Castle, so plan to add another wilderness to your collection with each castle upgrade. As your army gets stronger, you can abandon low level wildernesses so that you can conquer higher-level replacements.
Do not build any more Troops than you need, they will just eat your food. Be sure to hide your troops in Sanctuary so they will not be lost if you get attacked. Finally, watch your Food production when you build these troops, and increase/upgrade your Farms if you need more food for them.
If your cities are under attack from other players trying to steal your resources, be sure to focus on upgrading your Storehouse to protect your resources in inventory. This is a good idea even if you are not under attack.... yet.
- Food - You will need some Food as a requirement for some of your buildings and research. You will also need to feed whatever army you start to raise to conquer Wilderness areas. Build and upgrade Farms as you need more food. You can also conquer Lake and Grassland areas to increase your food production.
- Wood - Wood is still your most-needed resource. Almost all Buildings need a lot of wood for their upgrades. Consider building 1 new Sawmill every time you increase the level of your Castle. Conquering Woods areas is another good way to increase your wood production, so give these a priority.
- Stone - Higher level building upgrades and Walls especially need a lot of Stone for construction. However, most of your stone will be collected and used once, and then you won't need nearly as much stone anymore. One way to deal with this is to build many Quarries but do not upgrade them past level 5 or so. When you no longer need stone, you can Deconstruct them later to make space for other fields. Another way to get a lot of stone once is to buy it on the Market when you need it, and not bother with building your own quarries at all. Look at what is available on your market before deciding between these options.
- Ore - Ore is mostly used in weapons for your Troops, but you will also need it to complete some of your buildings (Blacksmith, Stable, etc.) and your Research (Metal Alloys, Alloy Horseshoes, etc.). Build more Mines here and there as you need them.
- Population - You need population to raise Gold. You will also need idle population whenever you want to train your people as Troops. Keep upgrading your 8-10 Cottages whenever you need more gold income or idle population.
- Gold - With 5 or more Knights in your employ, you will need to earn enough Gold from taxes to keep paying their salaries. As the knights increase in level, those salaries will increase, so adjust your tax rate or upgrade your cottages to attract more taxpayers. You will also need large amounts of gold to perform upgrades on your Research. The Increase Gold function is a good way to collect this money just before you spend it.
- An army marches on its stomach. -- Napoleon Bonaparte
When you reach this phase, the first thing you'll want to do is build Troops. The main difference between a player with 500,000 Might and one with 1,500,000 Might is how many troops they own. You will reach the point where you are done with construction and all of your might comes from troops. You should also increase the number of Barracks in your city and keep them all upgraded to the highest levels. The more barracks that you have, the faster you can train new troops.
Once you have troops, your Food production will plummet, probably into negative income per hour. Now you have the problem of keeping enough food around to sustain your army. Troops do not like running out of food. If you have negative food income, and no food in your inventory, your troops will start to dessert. 10% of your troops will leave at a time, taking their might with them, and reducing your food upkeep until you have just enough troops left that can be fed by your farms.
Raiding other players' cities becomes a source of resource income. With a strong army, you no longer need to produce as much of your own supplies, you can collect them from others instead. Barbarian Camps are another source of resources, primarily Food! Each barbarian camp will give you 100,000 units of food per level of the city. Barbarian camps regenerate every hour, so you can easily raid 1,000,000 food every hour by repeatedly hitting the same circuit of barbarian camps.
You can live with negative food income by raiding for all of your food. But consider what will happen if you miss a day of raiding - your troops will eventually starve, start to leave, and your might will drop. If you cannot guarantee time to keep up with the game, you are better off making sure you have a positive food income. Do this by deconstructing unneeded fields, first quarries, and later mines and sawmills. Also consider abandoning your Wilderness spaces that are not Lakes and Grasslands, so you can then go conquer more to those types instead.
- Food - Absolutely the single most important resource in this phase. You need constant supplies of food to keep your troops, and you will also need food when you train new troops. Collecting food will be your top priority from now on.
- Wood - Wood is still a useful resource. You will need a lot of it to train new troops, especially pikemen and archers. You can cut back on your sawmills to make room for more farms, but only if you are sure that you can collect enough wood from the remaining fields and/or raids on enemy cities.
- Stone - Stone is almost useless in this phase. It is needed to construct catapults, which most players will never be able to make because of the real money expense to purchase Divine Inspiration tokens. It is also needed to build some of your wall defenses, but only in small quantities. If no one ever attacks your walls, you will have no need for stone to replace the defenses. Deconstruct most of your quarries to build more farms as soon as you are done building your level 9 buildings. If you still need stone after that, you can probably get millions of it from raids.
- Ore - You will still need Ore to train some of your troops, especially cavalry and siege engines. You can cut back on your mines to make room for more farms, but only if you are sure that you can collect enough ore from the remaining fields and/or raids on enemy cities.
- Population - You will want to have enough idle population to be able to queue up training for 10k to 20k new Troops at a time. If you have 8-10 Cottages at level 8 or 9 each, you should have plenty of population.
- Gold - Once you start raiding other players, you should always have plenty of Gold. Enemy storehouses will not protect gold from your raids, so you will always bring some home from a successful attack. Even so, keep your tax rate high enough that your Knights' salaries are covered and your net gold income is positive, to ensure that your knights do not get left unpaid.
These are the statistics from two cities as they are being played in the game, to illustrate the ideas described above.
Construction Phase City
- 3250 Might, Level 13 Viscount, defensive strategy using Increase Gold
- Castle at level 3, Wall at level 2, Alchemy Lab level 4, Storehouse level 3, Market level 1
- Knights Hall level 1, 3x Barracks at levels 2/1/1
- No wilderness conquered yet
- Troops: 250 Supply Troops, 68 Militamen (both left over from establishing the 2nd city)
- 2 Knights, total salary 80 gold/hour
- Food: 3x Farms levels 5/2/1, 200,000 food capacity, 2000 hourly production - 704 troop upkeep = 1296 net production
- Wood: 5x Sawmills levels 3/2/1/1/1, 130,000 wood capacity, 1420 hourly production
- Stone: 3x Quarries levels 3/1/1, 90,000 stone capacity, 900 hourly production
- Ore: 2x Mines levels 3/1, 80,000 ore capacity, 1010 hourly production
- Population: 1x Cottage level 3, 8x Cottage level 2, Tavern level 1, 98 happiness, 2,940 total population, 2,480 idle population
- Gold: 3% tax rate, 88 tax revenue, 80 Knights' salary, 8 net income
- this city has 6 open field spaces, where they should build more fields
- this city needs more knights, it does not have a steward to increase resource production
- the storehouse in this city is larger then the capacities of each resource, so all production will be protected in the event of an attack
Combat Phase City
- 895,000 might, Level 55 Prince
- All research and most buildings completed to level 9
- 7 Knights, 4 assigned to Roles, 3 available for combat, 4180 total salary
- 8 Barracks at levels 8 and 9, about 58,000 troops
- Wall is fully fortified with Defensive Units
- Wildernesses: 4 Lakes at 7/7/8/10, 2 Grasslands at 6/6, 1 Mountain at 6, 1 Woods at 6
- Food: 19 Farms all level 9, 8,560,000 food capacity, 431,875 hourly production - 385,920 troops upkeep = 45,955 net production
- Wood: 9 Sawmills levels 6-9, 2,710,000 wood capacity, 85,149 hourly production
- Stone: 3 Quarries all level 9, 1,360,000 stone capacity, 38,574 hourly production
- Ore: 6 Mines levels 7-9, 2,020,000 ore capacity, 63,414 hourly production
- Population: 10 Cottages at levels 8-9, Tavern level 9, 98 happiness, 42,336 total population, 27,726 idle population
- Gold: 11% tax rate, 4,656 tax revenue, 4,180 knights salaries, 476 net income
- this city is actively raiding other cities and currently need to rebuild lost troops, which is why there is a high available food production
- this city is concentrating on food production from farms more than wilderness, which is why the wilds are lower level
- this city deconstructed mostly quarries, but also a few sawmills and mines, to make room for all of the farms