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Grepolis

Ancient Greece, mythological units and classical city manager; Grepolis is a free online strategy game set in the ancient era; we start with a tiny settlement, while the key is to build and manage classical city. Build your own ancient empire; expand your borders, raise powerful mythological army.

Another Ikariam? No!
Are you familiar with Ikariam? Grepolis also takes us to the ancient Greece; we are starting the game only with few buildings, surrounded by other players. At the start, we must select the game server; I recommend choosing fast server, since Grepolis is rather slow progression strategy game. City is placed on the island, with a capacity of maximum of 20 other players. During the tutorial, everything is explained precisely; game mechanics, how to construct buildings and hire army. Heart of each city is the Senate building – key structure, functioning as the city center. At the start, we must construct a quarry and a timber camp – city’s economy is based on 3 important resources; Rock, Wood, and Silver, while each is being generated at separate buildings. Gold is premium currency, available only when we pay real cash; like in other free strategy games, premium currency has impact on gameplay, this time, it cut building times in half. Yes this feature is unbalancing the game.

In Grepolis world has been separated into a plenty of islands with up to 20 players, while some towns on the island are controlled by computer. To develop influential, classical era city we have to improve technologies (research option); we can research technology at Academy.

Near our city, we can notice NPC “farming towns” that can be pillaged by other players. It’s recommended to attack them; it’s beneficial for the economy, and is increasing the city’s population. Yet player should not do this too often or NPC towns will improve its defense capabilities – as usual you need to “feel” when.

Ancient adventures
Game mechanics is simple and intuitive, so newbies should be familiar with most of Grepolis features, – especially after the tutorial. Our main mission is to set up solid economic foundation and secondly raise an army; we receive 7 days “newbie protection”, so we should double efforts before to improve both. The key to success is well-balanced economy, attacking from time to time NPC farming towns and recruiting largest army we can.

All units are separated into 3 categories: ships, land units and mythological units; while each category possess from 8 to 20 units. Army building is very entertaining, since we can recruit powerful mythological units to the army. Each is unique, while it’s connected to a certain deity (Zeus, Hera, Athena, and Poseidon).

Large part of the gameplay is connected to social features; the key to our safety is to create or join an Alliance. Our wealth and security also depends on, how well we can manage alliances.

Graphics side of game is pretty solid, however it may look outdated. Worth to add that Grepolis has far more realistic visuals than Ikariam.


(Grepolis trailer)

Pros
Large variety of units
Awesome mythological units
Realistic visuals
Entertaining

Cons
Slow progression
Pay to win

Official site: http://en.grepolis.com

Summary
Grepolis is pretty entertaining online strategy; it offers simple game mechanics, a large variety of units, while it’s set in unique ancient world. Since Grepolis has slow paced progression, and – in my opinion – to premium features too much affecting on the game, which can scare of some players. Most of free online strategy games have problems with balance between free and premium players; yet some developers can find the balance, while not affecting gameplay too much.