Essential Tips for Field of Glory: Empires

By Jack Trumbull 17 Sep 2019 0

Field of Glory: Empires (or FOGE if you like being cool) released just over a month ago, and while the game is wonderful for fans of Field of Glory 2 who were looking for context for their battles, the grand campaign offered in FOGE can be a tad confusing. There are several mechanics such as the concept of proper army building and the aging structure of nations that are not explained thoroughly. Fortunately, that’s where we come in. Here’s a few things that you should know if you’re looking to make your mark in a FOGE campaign.

DECADENCE V. CULTURAL VALUE

One of the most important elements of FOGE is the scale of Decadence measured against the Cultural Value of your nation. This scale affects the "Age" and level of your government. This is an important concept, as "newer" and higher level governments not only have access to more varied decisions, but they also generate more Legacy Points, which are essentially your score as a ruler. So, how are Decadence and Cultural Value calculated?

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Both Cultural Value and Decadence are complicated in their calculations, but Cultural Value is relatively easier to understand. Each region under your control generates a certain amount of culture per turn, from workers assigned to cultural projects and buildings. This output is multiplied by the loyalty value of the region, meaning that less loyal regions will count for less Cultural Value. This number is then added to the average output of the region for the last 25 turns, and the combined number is divided by 2 to give the Cultural Value for that region for that turn. For clarity’s sake, I created a helpful equation for calculating this value below.

((REGION CULTURE × LOYALTY VALUE) + 25 TURN AVERAGE) / 2 = CULTURAL VALUE

Decadence is delightfully more complex, for you math lovers out there. Each region you own generates 1 Decadence point, but this is reduced to .5 if the region is part of a larger province. Then the various modifiers from buildings come into play, as some buildings, such as Slave Markets, add Decadence, while others, such as Schools, reduce Decadence. The "Age" of your government can increase Decadence as well; Glorious, Old, and Decadent governments generate additional Decadence. Recently captured regions also add varying amounts of Decadence, but certain governments can offset the grand total by meeting certain criteria. Some of these values are left vague, but you can get a feel for the calculation by the formula below.

TOTAL AMOUNT OF REGIONS NOT IN PROVINCES + (REGIONS IN PROVINCES × 0.5) + TOTAL DECADENCE FROM BUILDINGS + GOVERNMENT AGE + GOVERNMENT MODIFIER = DECADENCE

Essentially, you want your Cultural Value to be greater than your Decadence, when possible. Each turn, your nation is compared to all the other nations in terms of their Cultural Value v. Decadence Scale. The top third of nations can receive a "Progress Token" towards leveling up their government, while the bottom third can receive an "Aging Token" that can lower the level of their government. Generally, you will want to be progressing, as older governments have problems with loyalty and production.

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EXPANSION: RISK V. REWARD

FOGE is a 4x game, and as such, a key part of the game is the eXpansion of your nation outside your starting borders. This of course comes with all of the benefits you would normally think of in a 4x game: more manpower, more resources, etc. FOGE also will have your leader occasionally single out a nearby region for capture; following his request will net you a progress token, which as mentioned above, is Very Important. Similarly, losing a "targeted region" will lose you a progress token, so be careful with them.

However, capturing new regions isn’t all just veni vidi vici - there are some drawbacks to expansion that can quickly cripple your nation if you’re not paying attention. Newly captured regions will come with negative modifiers to production of all the different resources the region produces, as well as a loyalty penalty. This loyalty penalty is key, because as you no doubt remember from the above section, loyalty affects the total output of culture. For example, consider your nation capturing a nearby populous region. This region will already add Decadence in accordance with the buildings they have, in addition to the Decadence bonus from their recent capture. Generally, Decadence can easily be offset by a high Culture output, but in this case, the low loyalty from the region causes a heavily penalized output of Culture. This means that if your nation decides to expand quickly without accounting for the Cultural Value v. Decadence scale, you can quickly find yourself sliding backwards in government age.

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ARMY COMPOSITION

As you build up your forces, you may be inclined to just build the heaviest infantry you can find. After all, the "combat power" level shows that they are the strongest. This may be true in some cases, but most types of units have various modifiers, meaning that combat power alone isn’t the best way to judge how strong a unit is. Take a unit such as the Scots-Irish Skirmishers. They are slightly more powerful javelin skirmishers with the key trait, "Mountainmen." This trait gives them +1 to attack, defense, and movement in rough or mountainous terrain, as well as reducing their supply usage in these areas. While on paper, they aren’t much to look at, in practice, they can be the key units that can win you a battle.

Similarly, pay attention to the specific "class" of unit, such as skirmishers, medium infantry, cavalry, etc. They will perform differing roles in battle. Cavalry, for instance, is particularly effective at crushing enemy units on the flanks of the battlefield, who will already see a negative combat modifier from facing an opponent. Skirmishers will provide "fatigue" damage before a round of combat starts, reducing the effectiveness of the enemy’s line before they line up with your infantry line. Keeping the classes of your units in mind while building an army is key. Combat power is not definitive; watch battles (or export them) so you can see how your units function. For more information on how to build an effective fighting force, check out Bill’s guide over on Wargamer!

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YOU DON’T NEED TO SURVIVE TO WIN

FOGE works a bit differently than other 4x games in that you don’t have an array of win conditions to shoot for. You will not be prompted to become a diplomat that gets everyone to vote you president of the world, asked to take all of your rivals capitals (though you could if you chose to), nor certainly not pushed to launch your people’s rockets to the moon. The only metric of success (outside of player accomplishment) is Legacy. Legacy is, as you could have guessed, complicated to specifically calculate, but here’s the general overview. 

The first and most obvious way to gain points is by capturing and holding objectives, those regions that your leader will target for you to capture. The second method of gaining Legacy is through our old friend, Culture. Overtime as your regions produce more Culture, they can eventually become "Cultured regions," after having produced 1000 culture overtime. You will gain points for having and holding Cultured Regions. The third way to gain Legacy is through government; your government can gain Legacy once it is a sufficiently high rank and age. The last way to gain Legacy is through holding wonders, such as the Pyramids of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. These are all offset by decisions you can take through your government, such as spending legacy points to quickly levy a new army, or sending diplomatic decisions with no chance of being accepted, such as asking your much bigger neighbor if they want to be your client state.

The way that FOGE calculates these points means that you can win by playing how you want. If you wish to be a great conquering people, go for it! A cultural powerhouse? Sure! But the last key thing to keep in mind is that many nations will come and go over the course of a full game, but their scores will remain. Your nation too can be gradually overtaken by time, but if you left enough of a lasting impact on the world, you could still find yourself on the top of that leaderboard at the end of the game.

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