Guild Expeditions

 The guild Expeditions (GE) is almost like a game in itself within Forge of Empires. Anyone who is in a guild will be able to play GE and accrue guild power, which increases a guild's rankings. As guilds become more powerful, everyone is rewarded with tangible benefits, such as forge points from their Town Hall, reduced costs for constructing new buildings, and shorter times for healing military units. Guilds of three or more players can also compete against other guilds for gold, silver and bronze cups, and these trophies are displayed in the guild's profile. Each guild member who plays GE also has the chance to pick up worthwhile personal rewards from chests and relics. For most players, GE is an exciting and rewarding part of the game.

The Guild Expeditions consist of 4 levels of 16 encounters, and you can fight through them with military units or negotiate using goods, medals, gold coins and supplies. Both fighters and farmers can be excellent GE players. The negotiations are geared towards farmers, while the battles are obviously geared towards the fighters. Farmers will find that levels 3 and 4 of GE require a lot of goods, so to negotiate them will require excellent city management skills. As city management has already been handled, we will concentrate here on military units and tactics for fighters in the Iron Age.

Iron Age Military Units

There are five basic military classes of unit with characteristics that are similar in every age. To begin with in the Iron Age there are light soldiers, heavy soldiers, archers, cavalry and artillery. As you advance through the ages, these units will be modernised and equipped with better armour and weapons. For example, slingers in the Bronze Age advance to archers in the Iron Age, mounted archers in the Early Middle Ages, crossbowmen in the High Middle Ages, longbow archers in the Late Middle Ages, muskateers in the Colonial Age, and riflemen in the Industrial Age. With each new age comes better military units. Enemy forces are also modernised and upgraded with each new age, so it is important to understand how your military units operate.

However much your military units may appear to have changed in a new age, the same basic battle tactics employed in previous ages will more or less apply to each military unit in new ages. Just as the Bronze Age slingers advance to riflemen in the Industrial Age, so too the light and heavy soldiers, cavalry and artillery units are modernised as you progress through each new age. Once you understand the basics of the five Iron Age units and master them, those skills will pretty much apply in the next ages.

Archers shoot arrows from a distance. They are deadly, but practically defenceless. Archers get an attack and a defence bonus if they shoot from rocks. They are especially deadly against heavy soldiers. Archers are probably the best military unit of the Iron Age, and eight of them in your city defences should scare off all but the most determined attackers. As they are practically defenceless however, they are extremely vulnerable to cavalry and artillery.

Soldiers are the light units. They benefit from a good defence bonus in bushes and an excellent defence bonus in forests. They are good for chasing down those elusive archers which can run rings around legionnaires.

Legionnaires are the heavy units, and they can take a lot of damage. They also pack a powerful punch. On the plains, legionnaires benefit from a massive defence bonus. However, they are slow and ponderous, especially in woods, on rocks, and particulary in swamps. If you take legionnaires into swamps, archers will run rings around them. Legionnaries are excellent against cavalry and can also take heavy poundings from artillery as long as they remain on the plains. If they venture into woods or swamps or climb on rocks, they lose their defence bonus and become much easier to defeat. If legionnaires are in the enemy forces, try to lure them into swamps and use archers to shoot across the swamps at them.

Mounted Warriors are the cavalry. They are fast and deadly against archers and artillery, but soldiers and legionnaires will destroy them. If there are soldiers and legionnaires in the enemy forces, mounted warriors would not be a good choice of unit. Perhaps having one in your army to sneak past slow moving legionnaires so you can attack artillery might work, but that's advanced tactics.

Ballistas are the artillery units, and they can shoot practically the entire length of the map. One hit on an archer will almost kill him, so 8 ballistas will usually take out 4 archers in one turn. If 4 archers and 4 legionnaires are coming at you and you're using ballistas, take out the 4 archers with your first turn and you may have time to take out the slow moving legionnaires before they get to you. Do not deploy 8 ballistas against 8 cavalry.

Attached and Unattached units

Military units recruited from Forge buildings are attached to those buildings. Military units won in game or from quests are unattached units. If for example you recruit 4 archers from an archery range, those 4 archers are attached to that building. If you deleted the building, those 4 archers would be deleted as well. Unattached units are not attached to any buildings so you can have thousands of them. When you have sufficient unattached units, you may no longer need military buildings or the units attached to them, freeing up city space and resources.

Basic Battle Tactics

Learning to fight in Forge of Empires can be frustrating to begin with. Be prepared to lose troops while you learn. Perhaps the best way to learn how to fight is to watch the replays of succesful attacks on your city. Observing how expert players defeated my city defences taught me how to fight. I learned to consider being plundered a suitable reward to the player for teaching me how to fight. Another good way to learn is to perhaps just fight the first 3 or 4 encounters in GE. The following week, try to go a fight or two further. Don't kill yourself, just take it one fight at a time and be patient. It won't be too long before you're finishing level 1, and then it won't seem quite so long before you're finishing level 2. They key is to fight without overspending yourself, and enjoy the experience.

The first thing to check when selecting an army is whether or not artillery is deployed against you. This is important because battle tactics are entirely different depending on whether or not artillery is deployed. Artillery can fire the whole length of the map and you have to cross the map to get to them. If there is no artillery, you can sit back and let the enemy come to you. If 8 ballistas are deployed, heavy cavalry will beat them easily, sometimes even without loss depending on the terrain and any attack and defence bonuses you may have.

If 8 cavalry are deployed against you, light or heavy soldiers will beat them easily, often with just the loss of one unit when you know how to deploy them. If you deploy heavy soldiers, arrange 5 of them in an arrowhead formation right at the start on the plains, and put the other 3 units inside the arrowhead formation for protection. Don't move from there and let the cavalry take the first hits. The retaliation strikes [melee] from the heavy soldiers will take most of their strength from them, and then one hit should take them down. If you have time before second strikes, try to protect injured soldiers and use your full strength soldiers to finish the cavalry off. Light soldiers are also deadly against cavalry, but you will need to get them into forests or bushes for a defence bonus.

If 8 archers are deployed against you, use 8 ballistas if you can. Two shots from a ballista is enough to take an archer down, so the first eight shots usually take out 4 of the archers. If the terrain is favourable, your second strike may even take out the rest before they can hit any of your ballistas. Terrain is important in such battles. If the archers can reach you before you take your second shots, you may lose a couple of your artillery units.

If the enemy has a mix of 4 cavalry and 4 soldiers, I use 8 heavy soldiers, arrange my arrowhead formation at the start and wait for the cavalry to arrive and take the first hits. I then take them out, rearrange my arrowhead, place injured soldiers inside for protection, and then wait for the much slower heavy infantry to arrive.

Sometimes it can pay to run away to try to lure enemy troops into poor defensive ground. I use this tactic with archers when deployed against heavy soldiers, as long as there is no artillery. If there are swamps, place your archers by them and wait for the heavy soldiers to arrive. Archers can even shoot across swamps at heavy soldiers with impunity. This would not work against cavalry, and certainly not if there were artillery units pounding your archers.

If you position troops on the plains and there are light soldiers coming at you, make sure there are no bushes or forests beside your units otherwise the light soldiers will use them for a defence bonus making your fights much more difficult.

If you find yourself with light soldiers facing heavy soldiers, get your men into forests if you can, away from the plains. Heavy infantry have no defence bonus in forests, only on the plains.

If you find yourself facing 4 artillery units or 4 archers, and you have 4 shots before they strike again, do you take out two of them and leave two with full health, or do you hit them all once leaving them with a tiny amount of health each? If you are attacking with light soldiers, heavy soldiers or cavalry, it is much better to take one hit out of each artillery unit or archer and leave them all with a tiny bit of health. I would try not to have archers in this situation.

Strong Taverns are important to GE. Being able to afford to buy the 30% attack boost in the Tavern shop using tavern silver will reward you with easier battles. The 30% attack boost is expensive, so make sure all your friends are actively visiting your taverns regularly. A fully upgraded and kitted out tavern, and a list of at least 40 to 50 friends should keep you in enough tavern silver for GE. Always keep 3000 tavern silver in reserve for emergency GE negotiations should your guild be in a tough cup competition.

The attack Great Buildings (GBs) are extremely important. Constructing the Zeus and upgrading it to a minimum of level 6 must be a priority. Each level will add 3% to your attack strength. If you can trade for EMA goods, get yourself a Cathedral of Aachen as well, and get that levelled up. If you're in the Iron Age, a level 6 Zeus and a level 6 Aachen will add a 36% boost to your attack strength. The Castel Del Monte (CdM) is the third attack Great Building, which requires Late Middle Ages good to construct. The CdM also gives you forge points, making it one of the most useful GBs in the game if you're a fighter.

Side quests are also important. You can advance the side quests and the Continent Map while in the Iron Age and pick up 2 or 3 EMA Armoured Heavy Soldiers. With an EMA heavy soldier, 7 rogues, a level 6 Zeus, plus the 30% attack boost from the Tavern shop, you will be practically invincible in the Iron Age Guild Expeditions.These units with rogues allow me to fight through 2 levels of GE without much trouble, and once my attack GBs are up to strength, to fight through 3 levels. When you can fight through 3 levels of GE, negotiating to complete level 4 every week is within your grasp. These next age military units are fabulous, so pay attention to the side quests. Resurrecting these next age units are priorities for my diamonds should I lose one.

Here is a short video demonstrating some of these basic tactics.

Rogues and Champions

Rogues can only be recruited in a Rogue Hideout, which is a special quest building, or won in GE. The rogues are without doubt the single most powerful and useful military units in Forge of Empires. Champs are heavy cavalry units which are recruited in a Champs Retreat, another special quest building.

When Rogues are hit, they randomly turn into any type of military unit you have deployed. If you have nothing but heavy soldiers in your attack force, a rogue will turn into a heavy soldier when hit. If you have no units whatsoever other than rogues, they will disappear with a puff of smoke when hit. Don't use rogues in city defences, otherwise attackers will take out the other units first, then when there are no other units left apart from rogues, you're getting plundered. Rogues are brilliant for attack, but not really much use in defence of cities.

The absolute best way to avoid being plundered is to have all your goods and supplies buildings on a 24 hour cycle, all maturing at the same time, and be there to collect. If someone really annoys you, and they've broken your city defences but there was nothing to plunder, and there's nothing you can do to stop them coming back to plunder later, you can always remove a street from your town hall so your city stops production until you wake up in the morning.

If there is one thing you should learn to never do, under any circumstances, ever, is to go to war with 8 rogues. Trust me, you wouldn't enjoy the experience, especially against eight artillery units. It's a mistake I think everyone makes once.

If you attack an injured military unit with one of your rogues, it will totally wipe it out and still remain a rogue. After a battle, all converted rogues turn back to rogues so you can use them again.

Be wary using rogues in fights in the Continent Map as the rules are slightly difference, and defending units often target ordinary units first before going for rogues. If you don't have rogues, keep an eye out for rogue hideouts in quests and try to get yourself 3 or 4 of them. Unlocking rogues in hideouts is a priority when I'm spending diamonds I pick up in game. Three fully unlocked rogue hideouts will give you 15 rogues, which is enough to keep you fighting through GE for a week as long as you give them time to heal between battles.

Depending on defence, attack with either 7 rogues and a champ or 7 rogues and a heavy or light soldier. If defence consists entirely of cavalry, archers and artillery units, 1 champ and 7 rogues is a formidable attack force. If defence consists of light soldiers, heavy soldiers and cavalry, 1 heavy soldier and 7 rogues is a formidable attack force. If there are nothing but soldiers in defence, use 7 rogues and 1 heavy soldier and leave them all on the plains right at the start. When a light soldier hits a rogue, the rogue turns into a heavy soldier. As the light soldiers arrive first, they attack the rogues. When they hit a rogue, the retaliation strike, the melee, will take most of their health. One hit from your heavy soldier should then take a unit out completely and there will be no melee.

Champs are particularly useful when jumping to a new age. Once you arrive in a new age, use a One Up Kit or a Renovation kit on a Champ's Retreat and you begin the age with heavy cavalry. If you have rogues as well, you begin the new age militarily advanced and ready for GE.

The best way to learn how to use rogues is to see them in action, so here is a short video demonstrating their abilities.

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