One of the most common things to muse about when it comes to city planning is what GBs to build, and when. It’s no small question either because GBs are a big investment; first you have to source the BPs (which can take a lot of time and FPs), then you have to source the goods to build the GB (which depending on if it’s ahead-of-age or not, could have a FP cost as well), and finally you have to actually invest FPs somehow to raise the GB up to be worthwhile (which is more time and FPs). There’s no truly wrong way to do this, but for a player who wants to optimize their city there is a best path to take, and it’s going to look different for everyone.

While this guide will give you a rough-draft and a skeleton format that you can follow if you truly want to, the main goal of it is to help you think about your city to make the best decisions that suit your method of play. It isn’t going to cover every possible GB out there that you can build, and will instead focus in on some city formats based on the GBs currently in the game (we are up to Space Age Asteroid Belt as of this writing). I have no intention of updating this article further to encompass later ages unless Inno Games comes out with something that turns the game, and GBs, completely on-end that requires me to do so.

Things to Consider

When it comes to choosing what to put into your city, consider what your needs are first. You want to add GBs that are going to compliment your needs and goals in the game, because space is the most precious commodity that you have. Since GBs can continue to be invested into to give greater and greater rewards they are typically the best option to save space and gain goodies. As we have better and better event buildings being produced though, some GBs may lose their sparkle. That should be a consideration in your planning, but not a hyper-focus of it. So what kind of questions should you ponder? Consider the following:

  • What do I need to boost?
    • Common items are FPs, Goods, Attack Power, Population, and Happiness.
  • What are my goals?
    • Common things would be to fight further in GE/GBG, have enough troops for fighting, goods for negotiation, goods to sell to others, FPs to spend on GBs, removing houses, etc.
  • Would adding a GB in save space?
    • Consider this, if you put in Innovation Tower (for example), you likely won’t require the rows and rows of houses that you have. That space can now be used for something else. Similarly, Cape can replace a lot of Terrace Farms. So on and so forth.
  • Does the GB suit my style of play?
    • If you fight and never negotiate, do you need a GB that produces goods as its main property? In the opposite, if you only fight when forced to by the story quest, and negotiate everything else should you build a GB focused on fighting? This sort of thing.
  • Can I afford this GB?
    • This is more about the timing of building a GB than anything else. You have to factor in when it becomes truly useful, and how many FPs it will cost to get there. Plus, if you’re buying goods to build it then you need to factor in the cost of the goods. Sometimes you really want something but it’s just not the right time… yet.

We’re using these questions to determine whether or not building a GB is a good idea, but these same questions can be applied to most buildings in the game. If the building isn’t going to meet your needs, then it’s probably better not to build it. Unlike most buildings in the game though, once you place a GB down there’s no storing it should you decide you made a mistake, or you’ve outgrown it; the only option is to delete the GB and lose any associated goods, FPs, and ranking points. This is why it’s especially important to consider GBs a bit more carefully, so you don’t waste a lot of your time, goods, and FPs on a bad investment (not that most of us haven’t done that, myself included).

Categories of Hierarchy

These are not official categories, but are instead created for the purpose of making it easier to understand when and why to build something. It will also help to provide you a structure with which to plan by. Remember, this game is a marathon and not a sprint. You’ll see a lot of amazing cities out there of high-level players, but most of them have been playing this game for years. As of composing this particular piece of advice, I personally have been playing Forge of Empires for four years now, and am well into my fifth. Many high-ranking players have been playing at least as long as myself, if not longer. None of us achieved what we have overnight (unless they have chosen to spend a lot of diamonds, which is not necessary), and neither will you. Similarly, it may take a bit to move from one part of the hierarchy into another, and that’s okay. It’s also fine if you start at the same time as a friend, and you move slower or faster based on how aggressive you decide to play. There’s no one timeline, and there’s no one way to play.

  • Foundation
    • These are the GBs you need to stabilize your city initially, to make it relatively self-sufficient so that when you add more GBs on top you can maintain game-play at your current level (meeting guild requirements as well if that’s a concern for you).
  • Advanced City Support
    • Now that you have a foundation, these GBs are going to expand upon it and free you up to do more things, potentially faster. They will enhance what your city is already able to do, and set you up to start digging into a specialization. The three most common specializations are: Fighter, Negotiator (formerly called a Farmer), and Balanced.
      • Fighter: Someone who does the bulk of their GE, GBG, and Continent Map (C-Map) work via fighting. Often likes to participate in PvP by attacking their neighbors (with or without plundering).
      • Negotiator: Someone who does the bulk of their GE, GBG, and C-Map work via negotiation or the spending of goods. They will typically only fight if forced to by a quest they cannot abort or ignore.
      • Balanced: Someone who plays with a combination of the Fighter and Negotiator styles. They may lean closer to a fighter or a negotiator, but they are open and willing to use both methods of play. Depending on if they lean more towards fighting or negotiating will change whether they lean more on the GBs for a fighter or a negotiator.
  • Basic Specialization
    • At this point you’re going to start adding in GBs that help you flesh out the basics of your game-play specialization. Now is when you need to really consider how you like to play the game, and what GBs will assist you in doing that in the most efficient manner possible. There is a lot going on in this game, so the less time you have to spend on any one task the better.
  • Advanced Specialization
    • These GBs are going to further build on your play style and further enhance how you play the game.
  • Accessory
    • GBs in this category are ones that you’re going to probably want/need, but they don’t particularly fit into any of the other areas of the hierarchy. You’ll add them in as they make sense, and as you’re able to, but they’re not going to be a defining focus to your foundation or to your specific play style.

How long it takes you to get through each stage of the hierarchy is anyone’s guess. There are a lot of factors that will go into it; how often do you play, how supportive is your guild, what’s your FP income, how lucky do you get on finding the BPs, what is your GB leveling strategy, etc. Bare minimum though you’re probably looking at a lot of time being spent on the foundation and advanced city support, maybe 4-6 months at minimum, and once you get chugging along the rest will only take 2-4 months a piece minimum. That initial foundation is the hardest part because you have the least amount of resources. As you climb the pyramid to the top of the hierarchy it gets easier to manage because you have more resources at your disposal and (in theory) less to do. This is just a rough estimate though, because you may stick accessory GBs in here and there which alter the timeline (perhaps significantly, looking at you Arc).

Skeleton Builds (as examples)

The following are some general builds that you can follow if you’d like, but are nothing that should be considered set-in-stone as the one true way to do this. They’re meant entirely as something to guide you, but not to bind you. Ultimately you get to play your game, and build your city in whatever way pleases you the most. No one can force you to do anything you don’t want to (unless you give them access to your account; which don’t because that’s against the Terms of Service of the game, and you should never give away your password to anyone!) There are guilds out there which might have a requirement on a treasury GB, but even still if you truly don’t like the requirement there are plenty of other guilds in the game to select from.

  • Foundation
    • Temple of Relics (ToR), Statue of Zeus (Zeus), Lighthouse of Alexandria (LoA), Cathedral of Aachen (CoA), St. Mark’s Basilica (SMB) and Castle del Monte (CdM)
      • ToR – This GB isn’t associated with any age, and you can get the BPs either from other ToRs or from GE. Its sole purpose is to spawn relics in GE which will give you much-needed resources to help your city grow and expand.
      • Zeus – To assist with what little fighting the story quest (and some other quests) will require of you. It’s a Bronze Age GB so it’s very simple to get, and it’s also very cheap so it can give you a taste of battle to see if you like it.
      • LoA – To assist with building up supplies, and to help with the initial income of goods that you will need for the tech tree, GBs, and possibly to buy ahead-of-age goods with depending on how aggressive you are. Since this is an Iron Age GB it should be simple to get. It can also help give you a taste of negotiations, and see if you like it.
      • CoA – It will give you coins, and assist with what little fighting the story quest (and similar) require of you. This is an EMA GB so it’s not as easy to get, but still relatively inexpensive.
      • SMB – It will boost your coins and also give you goods. This GB is huge and HMA, so it’s not as easy to get as some of the others, and of the foundation GBs should be the one more carefully considered. You can get coins from a lot of places, and may find you don’t need this one if you’re in a supportive enough guild on the goods end (so since it’s large, better to save the space and the investment). Might possibly want this regardless if you choose to be a negotiator.
      • CdM – This will support you with FPs and attack boost, so you’ll definitely want the FPs and the attack will help with what little fighting the story quest (and similar) requires. This is an LMA GB so it’s not as easy to get, but it’s a good one to have.
  • Advanced City Support
    • Cape Canaveral (Cape) and Innovation Tower (Inno)
      • Cape – This is a PME GB that just gives FPs. It is a powerhouse for FPs though in that you will earn 1 FP per level (at least by the time it reaches level 10), and it’s not that large of a footprint. It’s smaller than a TF and can yield 2x as many FPs with just one set of BPs.
      • Inno – This is a CE GB that provides you with population and a handful of FPs. You have to be careful when raising it up because you don’t want to upset the apple-cart for happiness, but it has the ability to remove your need for any other form of houses in your city. This is a huge space saver.
  • Specialization
    • Fighter
      • Alcatraz (Traz)
        • Traz – A PE GB that will give you happiness and free troops. The troops you get will be based on the barracks planted in your city. Boost can only take a fighter so far, because without troops you’re not going anywhere. This GB may need to come before some Advanced City Support if you decide early-on that you want to fight.
    • Negotiator
      • Frauenkirche of Dresden (FoD)
        • FoD – A Colonial GB that will give you happiness and goods. When you reach ME and beyond they will be unrefined goods which isn’t as great, but if you plan to never build Traz you will need this to take to high levels for happiness (combined with Hagia).
  • Advanced Specialization
    • Fighter
      • Arctic Orangery (AO), Terracotta Army (TA), and Himeji Castle (HC)
        • AO – An AF GB that gives you a chance for a critical hit against same-age troops that you’re facing, in addition to FPs. This is the second-best FP generator as well as far as GBs go, as it will also grant you one FP per level. For this reason alone it’s something a negotiator might consider if they have extra space.
        • TA – A VF GB that gives out more attack (and defense) boost to your army. It’s not as dense as Zeus for this, but considering it grants it to both your attacking army and your defending army it’s pretty powerful.
        • HC – A VF GB that offers the chance, when you win a battle, to get an extra gift. This gift might be troops, FPs, goods, diamonds, or a selection kit unique to the GB. It also grants supplies, which will come in handy for the tech tree.
    • Negotiator
      • Truce Tower (TT), Star Gazer (SG), and Space Carrier (SC)
        • TT – A TE GB that will give you supplies, and one good per aid a certain number of times a day (based on the GB’s level) that you can use to trade down. This is the key here, being ready to prime your FL with higher-era players and trading those goods down to get a lot of what you need.
        • SG – A SAM GB that gives you goods from the previous era. It’s only one kind of good each day, but that does add up and when you’re spending a lot of goods this can drastically cut down on how much trading you might need to do to supply yourself for GE and GBG.
        • SC – An SAAB GB that offers the chance on a successful negotiation to get an extra gift. This gift might be goods, FPs, diamonds, a selection kit unique to the GB, etc. It also grants special resources once you hit AF and beyond, but prior to that it will be medals.
  • Accessory
    • Observatory (Obs), Hagia Sophia (HS), Chateau Frontenac (CF), The Arc (Arc), The Kraken (Kraken), and The Blue Galaxy (BG)
      • Obs – This GB has no age, and the BPs are hard to come by; but it’s small, cheap, and helps your guild out. Many guilds require you to have (or be working on acquiring) either this or Arc to assist the treasury.
      • HS – This EMA GB is good for FPs and Happiness. Not really worth it unless you plant to take it beyond level 10, but a high level HS paired with a high level FoD can make up for not building Traz if you decide to go that route.
      • CF – This PE GB gives you a boost to certain quest rewards. Is best when paired with Arc and doing an activity called “questing” using the recurring quests you can get after you’ve run out of bonus and side quests.
      • Arc – This FE GB is one that every player will eventually build, but when you build it will be unique to you and the kind of guild you’re in. It offers goods to the treasury, and boosts the rewards you get for donating to other GBs if you can place in the top five for contributors. It really shines at high levels. In a fantastic guild with a lot of support you should be able to build this early on. If you’re not in such a guild, you may not get to build this until you reach FE at the latest.
      • Kraken – This OF GB is geared towards fighters, as it offers the chance to destroy one enemy unit at the start of a battle a certain number of times a day (based on the level of the GB). It also offers FPs, but not as densely as AO or Cape do. Most fighters love this GB, but it doesn’t make a huge difference unless you use it wisely or take it up high, unlike other fighting GBs.
      • BG – This OF GB grants medals (which are meh after Arc), and the chance to potentially collect double the amount of an item from a production building in your city (the true draw of it). This GB is useless if you choose to diamond collect your city (something browser-based PC players can do but mobile players cannot) without any other foresight, but at high levels can be otherwise powerful for potentially doubling some of your best collections.

When to Build What?

The when is the harder part to this entire equation, and it depends on a multitude of factors. For a player who is in an extremely helpful guild like my own, where we’re willing to give goods, BPs, and even FPs away to each other to help build someone up they’ll be able to fly through the foundation quickly, easily earn the advanced city support stuff they need, and also add in accessory GBs to the mix. For a player in a guild that’s young and unable to support each other as much, or is just plain in an un-supportive every-person-for-themselves guild, then it’s going to be much more difficult to obtain these things and they may have to really focus on what they need in a given moment to determine where they focus their efforts; up to and including not achieving certain GBs until they reach those eras.

In theory following the hierarchy will get you a decent city, but you don’t have to build GBs in that exact order. You can also place GBs into the categories in order in a way that better suits your needs and goals, if that helps you plan things out. While a general skeleton has been provided, in no way is it supposed to suggest that this is the only way to build a city nor that it’s the best way to do so. You do you. If you’re completely stuck though, or brand new to the game, it’s not a harmful plan to guide yourself with either, especially since by the time you reach some of the more advanced stuff you’ll have a much better feel for the game and its workings.

Ideally what you want to do at each stage of the hierarchy is level your GBs to level 10, if possible, but at bare minimum to where they are helpful and not a waste of space. This means they need to give you enough that you aren’t struggling with whatever it is they’re supposed to be helping you with. For example, if you build Zeus so you have an easier time of fighting, keep leveling it until fighting becomes easier. If fighting has become easy enough at level 6, then feel free to stop and move on to something else. If that’s not until level 10, then keep going to level 10. Anything you plan to keep long-term should be taken to level 10 though, at some point.

Building a whole bunch of GBs as you’re able to can be really exciting, but don’t forget that the more GBs you have, the more space that’s been taken up and they [typically] don’t really offer much until around level 5. So it’s never a bad idea to focus for a bit before adding more in if you need to. Any earned BPs aren’t going to go anywhere, so it won’t hurt to hold off on building something until you’re ready.

Now, another thing you’re going to end up considering (and a reason why this is absolutely a skeleton build) are event buildings. This is a huge topic in and of itself, but suffice to say you’re going to end up (eventually) meeting a lot of your needs in game with event buildings, which may negate your need of certain GBs. This is going to depend entirely on how well you do during events, what you focus on attempting to get, and similar though. Negotiators, for example, will end up getting most of their goods from event buildings most likely, and may have less need of GBs than a fighter where attack boost is everything. This is perfectly okay, so if you’re finding you don’t want/need a lot of GBs because event items are taking care of things for you, go for it. Build your city the way that works best for you. Add GBs in where you need them, as you need them.

In Summary…

The main take-away from this piece should be thus:

  • Consider why you need a GB
  • Consider when you need a GB
  • Focus, focus, focus

GBs are a back-bone of the game, and can be a very exciting part of the game. Like anything else in life though, too much of a good thing can be bad, and too many irons in the fire can be overwhelming. You don’t need to rush through anything, and there’s a certain flow you’ll want to follow to make sure you build your pyramid of greatness with the foundation on the bottom, and not the top. This should help you do that, by assisting with the train of thought both by looking at some specific questions you should ask yourself before building a GB and working on it further, and by offering a skeleton build with some reasoning behind it to provide a specific example to work off of.

Special Thanks to John Gault, Dragonblade Riven, Aristeas Prophet, Tornadodave, and Hossam Aly for their assistance on critical thinking for this writing, by sharing different viewpoints and strategies to assist in creating a well-rounded strategy of thought.