Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be a king/queen of a bustling kingdom? Have you thought about keeping your townsfolk happy, or imagined the admin of dealing with daily riots? Perhaps you’ve pondered conquering your neighbours and beyond, plundering the land and cementing your name as one that should be directly associated with fear. All of the above is possible in Goodgame Empire – provided you have lots of time to spare… or a particularly fat credit card.


Goodgame Empire is a free-to-play (and pay-to-win), browser-based title all about establishing a perfect kingdom. You can construct buildings, produce resources, research improvements, and even set out to destroy, or ally with those around you. On paper it sounds alright, but the free-to-play nature really ruins the game in the end.


I’ve had my fair share of experience with titles in this genre. Simpsons Tapped Out for example, kept me distracted me through countless study sessions and exam periods back when I was in varsity. I’ve since moved on with my life, deciding that such titles were not worth my time because in the end, building something for example, takes far too much grinding or time.

Unfortunately, my time with Goodgame Empire hasn’t swayed my decision one bit. The game starts out alright, opting you to get your town up and running. Actions take a few short seconds and everything costs only a fistful of gold, food, or stone. After you’ve levelled up a little though, things get a little ridiculous. I took to my diary to document my experience…


Day 1

Dear Diary,

Holy smoke I’m running a town now!!! It’s a lot of pressure and responsibility, but I think I can handle it. I started out simple – building a few farms, woodcutters, and stone quarries to get my finances flowing. People turned up and needed a place to stay, so I built some dwellings too.


Day 2

Dear Diary,

Upon arriving at work today, I saw a treasure chest that had some neat loot inside. It disappeared after emptied, but reappeared a few hours later with even more cool things! I wonder if this is some sort of daily bonus for my hard work?

I also got asked to register my account officially and you know what? I got a whopping 300 rubies just for doing that! I was feeling particularly happy, so I built the townsfolk some brand new houses with my newfound riches.

A tax collector also showed up. He promises to rattle my citizens of their gold. Hey, taxes are taxes, and the royal coffers need filling… permanently.


Day 3

Dear Diary,

My advisor tells me my town has grown to the point where it is in need of defence, so I built a barracks. I trained some spearman to protect my people. You know what enemies hate? A spear to the face… I’d like to see them try anything now!

I’ve also ventured out into the big, bad world. Maybe I’ll find some friends out there? In the meantime, I thought I’d raid a nearby castle for the fun of it. My enemy never saw it coming! My soldiers returned with some decent loot which I used to build a brand new tavern for the townsfolk to meet up after a hard day of work.


Day 4

Dear Diary,

Some strange characters have turned up at my tavern. They tell me they can spy on neighbouring castles. This will allow me to plan future attacks more effectively. This is a good thing, because a castle can be attacked from the front and two sides. Knowing what the enemy has will allow me disperse my soldiers in a more strategic manner. Thinking about it now, I should probably check my own defences to make sure they’re sturdy. I’ve also joined an alliance. I hope my new, big, strong friends will protect me, especially as I am new and my town is but a child.

I was told of a quest to rescue a princess by my trusty advisor. Finally, a fine lady to help me rule over my simpletons. I think I will assemble my army at once and set out to win her heart. I wonder if she likes cabbage?


Day 5

Dear Diary,

The princess is anything but happy that I rescued her. She keeps asking me to make upgrades to my castle and town, as it does not fit her “standards”. she also keeps asking me to give her money… it’s quite a pain in the ass. Still, I would do anything for love!

The stone masons and wood cutters turn up today over some silly dispute. I sided with the wood cutters because I needed wood to build a military hospital in case my soldiers receive fatal injuries.

Speaking of building, I’ve realised just how incompetent my construction crew are. You know that they can’t work on more than one building at a time? No seriously, they won’t even split the work! The only way to get them to build faster is to pay up rubies up front. Alternately, I can spend rubies to buy another construction crane – allowing me to upgrade/build two things at a time. Remember when I received those 300 rubies a few days ago? I thought I was rich and it was a generous gift. The construction crane costs 7100… guess I have some saving to do.


Day 6

I was booted from my alliance. I have no idea why this has happened, but it is an outrage! On joining, I generously shared some of resources as a sign of good faith. I now feel like I have been robbed.

On top of this bad news, my advisor informs me that my castle had been sacked. I lost all 43 of my soldiers in the massacre. How many soldiers did my enemy bring to my castle gate? 53… how the hell was I supposed to protect myself against that? Thankfully, my military hospital will help sort some of the injuries out. The nurse only allows 5 soldiers in at a time though. I have to keep sending them in manually… how annoying!

I must admit that my quest log is getting out of hand. At time of writing, I have 10 tasks to complete. All of them have multiple objectives – requiring a fair amount of building and upgrading. Quite frankly, I think this is a huge waste of my time. My advisor keeps popping up, waving parchment in my face which promises masses of rubies at a discounted rate. I said no yesterday and the day before… does he not realise that I am uninterested?


Day 7

I have a research tower now. It’s equipped with the smartest brains in the land! They will improve certain aspects of my kingdom, provided I give them the time and resources… or rubies if I want it done instantly. This makes no sense, as under normal circumstances, it takes them nearly two days to complete even a scrap of research. Man, people in this kingdom really are greedy.

My advisor rocked up again, promising me a doubling of whatever rubies I purchase today, and only today, for the next few hours. I was sorely tempted, but then I realised that I am over my city. I couldn’t care less for the money hungry townsfolk, or the backstabbing ways of my former alliance, or the horribly overpowered enemies that surround me. I fired my advisor too. Those offers he kept rubbing in my nose were getting way out of hand!

As a last act of defiance, I drowned my princess – people suspected her of being a witch. That’s the smartest thing they’ve thought all week. SCREW THIS TOWN!



I never expect a game to be completely free. Developers put their time into a title, and they deserve to be reimbursed in some way. This system however, of paying to speed up construction for example, irritates me to no end. Pay-to-win is an annoyance, and one that people give in to too easily.

Goodgame Empire could easily have been a good time sink for players if it balanced out the construction time, dropped the ruby system, and opted to make money on cosmetics alone. The way it is now though, a painful system of progression that only really works if you cough some dough, I really wouldn’t recommend it… not unless you have incredibly deep pockets.



Last Updated: April 8, 2015

Goodgame Empire
Some interesting ideas lie within Goodgame Empires. Running a kingdom, forming alliances, and conquering your enemies sounds like a recipe for success on paper. This however, is a recipe to bleed the pockets of anybody who plays – unless they have ridiculous patience.
Goodgame Empire was reviewed on PC
/ 100


  1. Wait a second….
    This isn’t an article about Mortal Kombat.
    Something’s amiss. o_O


    • SargonTheBatpandaOfAkkad

      April 8, 2015 at 15:39

      Wait. What is Mortal Kombat? Is that the proletariats Tekken?


      • Captain JJ the flash noob

        April 8, 2015 at 15:43

        What’s Tekken? Is that like an Asian token? ;P


  2. SargonTheBatpandaOfAkkad

    April 8, 2015 at 15:38

    I got as far as “and pay-to-win” and released I had better things to be doing with my life. Like buying a Humble Bundle and getting so much more value for money.


    • Greylingad

      April 8, 2015 at 15:43

      I got to “admin”….


      • Dutch Matrix

        April 8, 2015 at 15:51

        I saw the header art and knew this was a pay to win crapfest…


  3. Hammersteyn

    April 8, 2015 at 15:40

    Looks like a mobile game…


    • Captain JJ the flash noob

      April 8, 2015 at 15:44

      It does quite. But if I’m not limited to enjoying it on a mobile device then I’m happy. 🙂


    • hairyknees

      April 8, 2015 at 16:07

      There actually is a mobile variant if I’m not mistaken 😛


  4. Dawid Eduard Roestorf

    April 8, 2015 at 15:43

    There is a much better game out there. Called travian. Go look at it.


    • hubble19

      April 8, 2015 at 16:03

      I’ve been playing Travian for years now, no other browser based game can compete. Plus, it doesn’t get blocked on the work pc….bwhahahaha!!!


  5. Hammersteyn

    April 8, 2015 at 15:49

    XD Nice one Matt


    • Splooshypooh

      April 8, 2015 at 15:50

      One too many ruby-ies in there though.


      • hairyknees

        April 8, 2015 at 16:06

        Oops 😛 I had 4 initially but added another BECAUSE WTF IS WRONG WITH ME?


  6. Brady miaau

    April 8, 2015 at 16:03

    I would do anything for love!, but I wont do that, heh Matty?


    • hairyknees

      April 8, 2015 at 16:07



  7. Vulcha

    April 8, 2015 at 17:40

    This… This came out like 3 years ago on the interwebs.


    • hairyknees

      April 8, 2015 at 19:55

      I know… and I was asked to review it xD


  8. jim

    April 8, 2015 at 21:42

    i started playing this game 3 weeks ago and find it quite enjoyable, have bought no rubies, joined a good alliance, not all high ranking players but casual players a good bunch, am level 29 and am busting other people’s castle’s around me quite fun, maybe if you gave the game a chance and didn’t start sulking cos someone managed to kill your army which is the whole point since its a war game you might of liked, your a dope why are you writing a review about a game you havn’t even experienced


    • hairyknees

      April 10, 2015 at 09:43

      I’m not sulking because somebody killed me, I was pointing out that healing soldiers is an annoyance. I can’t imagine having to heal a force of hundreds of wounded.

      I played for a week. This sort of game takes months to experience fully – without a credit card


      • jim

        April 10, 2015 at 15:44

        no you quit after a week because you were sulking i have been just a little over 3 week and have spent absolutely nothing won my third nobilty contest last night and am first in war of the realms not as if you’d even know what they are, it didn’t take me months or a credit card to experience how good this game was, so before you go write a review about a game how bout you actually play the game, the only thing that annoys me is how a fool like you is even given a job as a game reviewer when you clearly dont have a clue


        • Emineaygun

          April 11, 2015 at 14:41

          What is your experience, level 29 is not enough to talk about how money robbing game GGS is. I congratulate Mark that he made a wise decision to quit it in early stage. They have introduced special commander and castellan stuff which costs £800, and not only this they also have introduced legendary levels, for level 70’s and you know what, when players reach legendary level 120 they unlock 5 waves attack. Yes 5 wave attacks with over 2300 troops, and not only this after level 300 or 250(not sure what level is it) 6 waves attacks will be unlocked, super commander with 6 wave attacks….Wondering how it’d be possible to defend such attacks with 4 wave defence tools?

          Without spending money and not a modest amount a huge amount of money you can’t be a strong player or you won’t enjoy game at all, you’ll be a farm for others when you reach level 51. You will be playing different version of farmville, building castles, and hitting towers only ( you may not get resource villages as capturing them also requires ruby, you will need stables at least).
          Also in events you will have to use armour or ruby tools to complete them and believe me all events are ridiculously expensive…

          So from 3 years experience I would not recommend this game to anyone else, save your time and save your money.


          • Robert Smith

            November 20, 2016 at 15:09

            I’m a level 70 never bought a single ruby in my life and I love playing this game I am not used as a farm

    • bundly

      April 11, 2015 at 12:41

      now a days…..either a part of the neph…or your castle, kingdom and aliance is on fire……alll ruby buyers vs non ruby buyers…..ultimately this was ought to happen


  9. FarmerLava

    April 9, 2015 at 23:22

    Your review is shit, man. I love this game and got to level 30, Only bought rubies from the shop twice. It just takes time…


    • Hammersteyn

      April 10, 2015 at 00:46

      Games with microtransactions are usually shit, so the shit score seems correct, also check the user score on Metacritic for some good reading


    • hairyknees

      April 10, 2015 at 09:44

      Well, I did say that in order to enjoy the game, you would either need to have time or money 🙂 I don’t feel that my criticism is misplaced however. The game could be a lot better with a few changes, and it would still be profitable to the company.


  10. Juha Tuominen

    September 15, 2015 at 18:04

  11. Alex

    October 25, 2015 at 18:41

  12. GGE former player

    March 24, 2016 at 11:25

    I played this game for over a year… and my suggestion is:
    Dont play this game, it is an black hole on money. It started pretty good, but after reaching around 60+ level, the game will become more greedy, YOu are constantly bombarded by advantageously offer (for real money ofc) where you can instantly buy entire army with OP soldiers taht cannot be get other way, buy OP unbeatable equipment for generals that cannot be obtained by other way, get advantage by better siege/defensive siege appliances, get powerfull gems that without real cash you certainly wont touch them 😀 – everything filthy expensive for such a simple junk game. But the real cash slot-machine will begin when you will reach 70 lvl -> legendary levels. To become full level you will either pay your entire earnings, or you will grind for over 10 years to reach the top (Realy, Im not aggrandisating), not to say that player with let say 100 legendary level has apparent win, even without the other premium perks. I invested a pretty load of money on this “gaming automat” and “black hole”, but it was never enough and with every new actualisation, the gap between occasional and hard-paying players is bigger.


  13. CASN

    May 2, 2016 at 02:57

    I play this game and I have gotten to level 55. I haven’t spent a single penny on this game too. If you’re only playing this game to become the number one player, or to be a high ranked player, then you’ll need to spend money. However, if you’re only playing to have fun and you go at your own pace, then it’s not really necessary to pay


  14. Erik Cederstav

    May 24, 2016 at 08:12

    Look any free city builder is one where you have to wait a long time for high level upgrades(though there aren’t many over 12-24 hours), as far paying real money there are games that are much worse than this… Even 20 dollars on bakeries and watchtowers is already a massive improvement from nothing especially during prime times. Buying troops, equipment, gems, and tools with rubies is a waste unless your truly rich and want to get 1st in all the competitions. and I never pay for shortening upgrade times just because it doesn’t take years to get resources and to upgrade. The wait time is survivable especially when you have plenty of other things to do. This is one of the most intricate free building/battle games I’ve played and it is fun to get into an active alliance and chat with line. I would rate it 8/10(where 10/10 is free, fast, and quality everything… But how common are those)


  15. Robert Smith

    November 20, 2016 at 15:05

    I have played Goodgame Empire for a year now I am a level 70 never bought a single ruby in my life play it a bit longer then see what you think


  16. Jesse Tierney

    July 16, 2019 at 18:09

    As someone who sunk 6-7 years in this. It was a great game, until they found out they could make a lot of money on it. It costs $200+ to win an event on larger servers. The PvP system is broken, and as of now, all hard work, time and money spent gathering unique equipment, was erased in a matter of days with the new relic equipment which has different maximum values.

    This game has also ruined many lives, from teenagers failing school to divorces and suicides. Due to it’s extremely addictive layout. So if you plan on playing, just take it easy.


  17. Concerned gamer

    May 8, 2020 at 20:33

    Goodgame Studios tread a thin line at the edge of legality in terms of encouraging gambling and misleading advertising in, as far as I can see, all their online games. Be VERY wary of allowing children to participate in any of their games!
    Empire is the game I am most familiar with and their “pay to win” approach continues to escalate – to the point where it is financially impossible for the majority of players to achieve rewarding rankings on any of the larger servers and prices for good upgrade “offers” run into hundreds of pounds/dollars/euros etc.
    Nevertheless it remains an engaging game so, if not in a position to spend a lot on pixels, players need to adopt strict spending limits and simply accept that they will never get into the top positions – or alternatively, play an account up to level 50 without spending anything, then leave it to fall into disuse and restart with a new player name.
    Leave the big spending to those who are daft enough :-D.


    • Concerned gamer

      August 31, 2020 at 02:04

      Extreme personalities can be encountered in this game and on associated chat forums. Vile and hateful abuse is not dealt with effectively by the game owners and complaints are frequently fobbed off with excuses about privacy protection, not our platform, beyond our sphere of control etc. etc.
      For example – https://prnt.sc/u9x75h


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