The game changes as your empire grows. I’ve written this sort of “walkthrough” so you know roughly what to plan for at the various stages of the game…
Note: I only play on Grepolis 1.x revolt servers, so the information about farming villages and city revolts may differ significantly to how things work on your game world.
Your first 175 point city
You’ve got pretty much nothing. Resources are insanely hard to get. Everything takes ages. All the other cities on your island are in the same predicament - and most of their owners will quit the game within a few weeks.
You need to be patient here. Don’t go rushing around doing silly stuff just to relieve the boredom. Use your resources very carefully, and focus only on things that will get you more resources.
Send your swordsmen to gather resources from farming villages as often as possible. They won’t bring much back, but every little helps. Devote as much time as possible to farming until you’ve got at least 3 cities.
If you have friends with larger cities, see if they can cast Wedding or other divine powers that will give you more resources. Better still, see if they can cast Divine Sign (a chariot) or Patroness (5 land troops) as that will help with farming (make sure you have enough at least 5 free population slots first though).
Your first task is to get a few more swordsmen, so you can get more bounty from farms. Do not try attacking other cities yet.
Build your city wall to level 2 because some of your neighbours might try and attack you with their 6 swordsmen.
Once you get to about 75 swordsmen, your focus should switch to getting archers. Archers can carry lots more bounty, and they are faster too. They make farming feel much less painful.
As soon as you can, research Booty so your farming missions are more productive.
If you get invited to an alliance, join it, but don’t invest too much time making friends with its members - you will often want to attack them later in the game.
Once you’ve got about 150 archers and 150 swordsmen, and at least a level 8 wall, your focus should switch to getting horsemen.
Horsemen make farming even less painful. And they are great at killing swordsmen and archers - it’s time to start attacking your neighbours. You need to neutralise threats from the other cities on your island.
Start by attacking the smallest cities first with your horsemen - their owners probably quit the game already, so they are easy targets. Once you’ve cleared any defending troops in those cities, you should start farming them with your horsemen at least once a day.
For the remaining neighbours, decide what to do based on the rate at which their cities are growing:
- Cities that haven’t grown for a week are probably inactive - attack and farm them
- Cities that grow very slowly aren’t much of a threat - let them live for now
- Cities growing quickly are a threat - either make friends with their owner, or attack and farm them
Basically, there should be no threats from the other cities on your island. Keep monitoring the growth of cities on your island and re-apply the rules above regularly.
As soon as you get enough resources, research Conscription to reduce the cost of new troops.
Meet the gods
By now you should be have, or be ready to build, a temple. Hera absolutely must be your first god.
Use her “Happiness” spell to boost resource production in your city. Start putting more effort in to building up your quarry, silver mine and timber camp because Happiness boosts those buildings.
Research Architecture as soon as possible to reduce building costs, and Ceramics to get a load of extra warehouse space. If you ever run out of warehouse space, which means you lose massively precious resources, take that as a sign to upgrade your warehouse at least one level before doing anything else. You can’t afford to lose any resources.
If farming villages are starting to revolt on you, it’s a time to research Diplomacy.
Attack and farm any remaining non-friendly cities on your island. You should now be the dominant player on your island.
Build your cave to level 3, fill it with silver. Don’t bother spying on anyone just yet, it’s a waste of silver. For now you just want to find out when people are trying to spy on you.
If you’re using Premium gold, now is the time to enable the Administrator and Merchant advisors. Also, start spending gold to speed up building times.
Visiting other islands
Now it’s time to start neutralising threats on nearby islands.
Build a harbour and make a few transports. Now would be a good time to research Slingers, they are the cheapest attack unit, and also Trainer so that the barracks recruit more quickly.
Follow the same process as you did earlier - attack the smallest inactive cities first, try and make friends with the larger players, attack anything else that moves.
Research City Guard, so you can activate the militia at your farm if someone attacks you. Militia are free and help defend your city. The bigger your farm, the more militia you get. They work best when you have a high level wall.
If you can, recruit some harpies. A single harpy can easily kill 6 swordsmen in tiny cities on other islands - this gets you Battle Points (BPs) and new farms. Harpies are really fast, can travel to other islands without ships, and carry a lot of resources. This makes them the best unit in the game for farming as far as I’m concerned.
Make sure you kill off the 6 swordsmen in as many small cities around you as possible. Those BPs will contribute to your 3rd city later on, and they’ll also help you get accepted in to a better alliance.
Your city walls should be at least level 15 by now, preferably more. If you’re able to launch attacks on other islands, they are able to launch attacks on you. Increase your city defences to 300 archers and 300 swordsmen. Research Biremes (Birs) and build a few to defend your harbour. A few Birs can sink a fleet of transports, killing all the troops on them.
Farm like crazy and do everything you can to bring in more resources. Your next focus is to get Light Ships (LS), the primary naval attack ship. Build a least 5 LS and send them with all naval attacks from now on.
Build your cave to level 6, fill it with silver.
Join a decent alliance
You need to get in to a decent alliance now, because battles are going to get more frequent and you need to be with people that can help you.
On the Player Ocean rankings table, find out what alliance the biggest players are in. Make sure that alliance has some members near you. Ask to join it, stating that you’ve got LS, Birs and are preparing to capture your second city. If you have any nearby friends, see if you can get them in too.
Note: If you’re on the border of your ocean and the one next to it, check that other ocean as well - it might have a better alliance for you to join. Just make sure whatever alliance you join has members that are close to you.
Don’t assume that you’ll be in this alliance forever. In other words, like before, you’re probably going to want to attack it’s members at some point in the future so avoid making too many friends.
Capturing your second city
Whatever you do, don’t found a new city as that would be a disaster - it costs insane amounts of resources to build up a city, so it’s better to capture an existing city instead.
Get your market up to at least level 10. You’re going to need to trade with other players as you’ll be suffering from huge resource imbalances. A trade ratio of 1.5 works well, eg. you sell 1000 wood for 1500 stone. You need to make a profit on every market trade.
Research Plow and upgrade your farm to give you more population slots. Focus on building up your army. If you haven’t already done so, you should try and get your base resource production (quarry, timber camp, silver mine) to at least level 30, preferably higher.
As soon as you can, research Phalanx so your land units fight stronger. You’re also going to need to research Colony Ship and Conquest. This costs lots of resources, so you need to be farming and trading like crazy. Now that your base resource production is getting better, cast Hera’s Happiness as often as you can.
Don’t build a Colony Ship (CS) until you’re ready to capture a city. Remember that it needs 170 population slots free to build one.
Your next city should be one that’s on another island - because that will double the number of farming villages you have access to. It needs to be fairly close to you as well, so you can easily support it and trade with it.
You obviously want as big a city as possible, so that you spend less resources on upgrading buildings. The easiest cities to capture are ghost towns. Next are members of your alliance that have become inactive (ask your alliance leader if any players are “red on the member list”).
If there aren’t any ghost towns or inactive allies, look for loners - every ocean has a few of them early in the game. These are players that for some reason never join an alliance. They just sit there quietly building up their cities and “flying under the radar” hoping that nobody will notice them. You can usually spot them in the first few pages of the Player Ocean rankings table, because their lack of alliance tag makes them stand out.
It’s time to capture the city. You should have at least 20 LS and 30 transports full of horsemen and slingers. Research Bunks so you can get more troops on your transports.
If you’re using Premium Gold, now is the time to enable the Captain and Commander advisors. Keep all the advisors enabled for the rest of the game, even if that means not having enough gold to do Olympic Games.
Start building a CS and then launch your revolt attack on the target city.
You need to kill all enemy land troops in the city to put it in to revolt, so the more attack troops (slingers, horsemen, LS) you can send the better. You might have to attack a few times to clear all the defending troops and put the city in to revolt.
There are plenty of guides about how the revolt system works (or conquest system depend on your server - someone in your alliance will tell you which to use), so I’m not going to describe that in this article.
If you’re struggling to capture the city, ask your alliance for help. If the owner of your target city is active and rebuilding their defence, it might be better to choose another target. Your focus is to get a decent sized second city as soon as possible.
Your first nuke
Make your second city worship Athena. Her Heroic Power will make your future attacks stronger. If you use Premium Gold, now is the time to enable the Priestess advisor, she’ll boost favor production and make your mythical units stronger.
If you want to become dominant in your area of the world, you’re going to need nukes. A nuke is a large army, usually filling all free population slots within a city.
Your first city will still be used as a conquest city, where you’ll build your CS and the army that accompanies it. Send some of the biremes, archers and swordsmen from your first city to support your second city.
Your second city is where your nuke will live. Its used for attacking your victims, killing their troops and putting their cities in to revolt.
The nuke should consist of about 40-50 LS, 50-60 transports, 20 catapults and lots of slingers, maybe some horsemen too. The bigger it is, the more success you’ll have in battles. Always cast Heroic Power when you send it out to attack. Make sure you have both Battering Ram and Phalanx researched.
You now have to start terrorising your ocean. Start with smaller players first, and basically attack everything you can. For the next few months, this is all you’ll do. Attack, attack, attack. You’re going to need as many BPs as possible, and then convert them at the Agora in to Culture Points (CPs) so you can increase your Culture Level and get more city slots.
All your cities from this point on need level 25 city walls and level 40 base resource production (silver mine, quarry, timber camp). You need to farm like a nutter. As soon as you clear a city with your nuke, send in horsemen from your first city to farm it’s resources. Farm all the farming villages on your islands too. And farm any nearby ghost towns and inactive players.
Before too long you’ll be ready for your next city.
Your 3rd and 4th cities
Your third city should worship Zeus, his Favourable Wind makes your LS stronger. Your fourth city should worship Poseidon, his Earthquake is the most reliable way to destroy enemy walls.
One of these cities should be used as a defence city - creating lots of swordsmen and archers, plus fast transports to quickly send them to support your other cities.
By this point in the game, most people are focussing on Biremes for defence, which seems like a good idea. You should certainly have some Biremes in each city to sink enemy LS and transports. But your best defence is always land troops behind a level 25 wall and possibly even a tower. That stacks the odds in your favour. If you rely too much on Birs, you’re defence and resources will suffer - because LS are stronger than Birs.
In terms of attack, most people won’t have enough Birs to defend against the 50 LS in your nuke, but every so often you’ll find someone who has filled their harbour with Birs. That’s why I’m going to suggest building an LS nuke in your 4th city. I’m talking like 200+ LS in a single city. If you can achieve that, you’re going to be able to clear almost any harbour in your ocean.
Cities 5 - 10
Basically repeat what you’ve already been doing. Farm and attack everything so you can capture more cities.
One of these cities should be a Bir nuke (200+ Birs) - yes, I said not to put too much effort in to Birs, but in large numbers they are really useful.
One of them should be devoted to Fire Ships (FS), because you’ll be on the receiving end of someone else’s LS nuke sooner or later.
All the rest should be land defence or attack nukes. By now you’re opponents will be starting to get organised - they’ll be putting up stronger defence and might start attacking you.
You should be looking for a stronger alliance, if you’re not already in one. Specifically, a nearby alliance that has high Attack BP ranking. If you’re in an alliance that focusses on defence, where the conquests tab shows more cities lost than captured, you’re doomed. You need to be in an alliance where most members are attacking everything in sight, where the conquests tab rarely, if ever, shows a city being lost.
As you get more cities, you’ll find farming starts to become really tedious and time consuming (like it didn’t already?!) - this is where having maximum level base production buildings saves the day. Trading with farming villages, your own cities and other players becomes the main way to balance your resources.
As for gods, I generally have more cities worshipping Hera and Athena at this point in the game.
Cities 11 - 20
It’s getting harder to find BPs now, and attacks are probably less frequent. But danger is on the horizon, wars with other strong alliances are a constant threat.
If you’re cities are near another alliance, you have to assume they will end up attacking you - and it won’t be attacks like those you’ve seen so far, it’ll be a team of people like you. When they attack, you’re in for a shock. Multiple LS nukes will clear your harbour quickly, followed by land nukes that put your city in to revolt. Nothing I can say will prepare you for the moment when you realise your alliance doesn’t know how to defend itself.
It’s now time to put more effort in to defence, especially land defence and a few more Bir nukes. Poseidon and Zeus favor is in short supply, so more cities start to worship them. You’ll certainly need more FS to protect your harbours against enemy LS nukes.
You’ll also start to see some big players quitting the game - make sure you’re the first to clear their cities. Recruiting 50+ harpies in one city is advisable, as they can extract vast amounts of resources from inactive player cities.
Lots of the smaller alliances around you will start merging together in a last ditch attempt for survival. It’s time to work with your team mates to remove the last remaining threats from your ocean.
Cities 21 - 30
If you’re near the rim, the only BPs are an ocean away now, with LS nukes being the best way to harvest them. Your cities are full of fully built nukes and city festivals and theatre plays are the only way to spend your resources and gain more CPs.
If you’re near another big alliance, you’re probably at war with them, your time consumed with creating defence and launching counter attacks. Defence BPs are delivered to your city walls for days on end, and you’ve got so many CPs you don’t know what to do with them.
There’s fewer decent sized cities to capture, often only those from alliance members that have become inactive and the occasional ghost town from other alliances who’s members are starting to quit.
Your alliance has probably had to merge with another alliance to strengthen its position and ensure it has enough active members. Many members start new accounts on different servers and gradually drift away.
Cities 31 - 40
Wars shift from one alliance to the next. Only the most stubborn members remain active. New threats will soon be emerging on the rim and some alliances you used to think of as weak suddenly start to look strong just because they have more active members.