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Guide to Empires and Allies

by: Anurag Ghosh ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

For the very first time, Zynga unleashed a turn-based social strategy game to appeal to both the casual and strategy gamer. Combining the elements of a strategy game and its famed business-model, the developer has created yet another Facebook blockbuster for social networkers.

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    Empires and Allies is just like Rise of Nations and Command and Conquer, but violence is heavily deemphasized for the social networking crowd, making it more family-friendly and easy to play. The social game integrates the Zynga model, and hence players will find many things similar to popular games like Farmville, except the gameplay mechanics, which is turn-based strategy. Those who have played war-based strategy games before will find the base-building and resource gathering elements similar to games belonging to the same genre. This guide will teach you everything about this social strategy game:

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    How to Access the App Page?

    To play this game, you will have to sign up with Facebook. Once logged in, access the app via the game’s fan page. Click Allow in the Request for Permission page.

    Request for Permission Screen  

    The next splash screen will ask you to invite your FB friends to battle. Add as many friends as you want; it will help you accomplish campaign missions and get coins and other resources much quicker. Just click on the check boxes and the Send Invitation button.

    E & A - Invite Your Freinds to Join the Battle  

    Click the Play button and wait for the game to load. Watch the opening cinematic and wait for a simple tutorial on game basics.

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    Guide to Coins, Energy, XP, Wood and Empire Points


    1. Located at the top-right corner of the screen, the yellow bar is very important to keep your empire up and running.


    2. For every building you build, whether houses, barracks, industrial buildings, you spend a certain amount of energy (for example, building farms requires 3 Energy).

    3. The yellow bar decreases by 1 point for each action performed while building a unit and replenishes in 2-3 minutes.

    4. No need to buy energy as you can gift it and get from your FB friends. The more you gift, the more chances of getting plenty of energy from your friends.

    Experience Points (XP):

    1. Earning experience points helps you to level up and unlock more buildings and units.


    2. You can collect XP (Blue star) through battles, visiting your FB friend’s island, exploring and doing various other tasks. Almost every activity you perform will give you experience points.

    3. Once the blue bar at the top-right corner of the screen (just beside the energy bar) fills up, you level up and the game notifies any buildings or units unlocked.

    On the top-left corner of the screen, you will notice three icons: Coins, Wood and Empire Points. Let’s find out what are they used for:


    1. Wood is required to construct buildings and additional objects of decoration. You can salvage wood by chopping down trees, building lumber mills or by purchasing them from the market.


    2. If you chop down trees, you salvage less wood. The best option is to build lumber mills and lumber contracts (more on that later) to produce wood quickly.

    3. Other options include visiting yor FB friend's islands (FB friends or Captain Steele’s island) and harvesting their mills or invading your friend’s island.

    Empire Points:

    1. Empire points help you expand your island.

    Empire Points  

    2. You will need them to staff incomplete government buildings in case you fail to recruit friends (your FB pals are also required to staff the government building, else you will have to buy staff, and I know you won’t do that).

    3. You will also need them to access extremely useful power-ups that will help you in combat.

    4. Empire points are not coins and hence you will have to buy them or complete certain tasks. To buy them, click on the Get Empire Points button just beside the help button.

    5. If you don’t want to spend money, go to the Earn Empire Points menu to complete various tasks, such as registering a job portal, filling in a survey, purchasing utility software etc. The points vary with the tasks offered. I recommend clicking on categories – all offers than the most popular options. Accessing all offers helps you choose the right one that might does not require any additional purchase.


    1. Games based on the Zynga model have a virtual currency system. These “Coins" serve as currency and are required to build industrial and military buildings and houses.


    2. The more coins you have, the more you can buy different items. There are plenty of ways to earn coins.

    3. You can get them during combat (coins drop during each wave of attacks) and can earn them by building farms and planting different crops.

    4. You can also earn coins by building a variety of houses and earning rents by clicking on them.

    5. Collect them by visiting your friends’ empires and clicking on their buildings.

    6. Earning coins can be possible by building markets and selling resources through them.

    Game Settings   Game Settings: Game settings (on your right-hand side) allow you to toggle sound effects, music, play in full screen, zoom in and zoom out. The settings menu has a gear icon which can be toggled on or off.

    Next Page: Quick Guide for New Players…

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    Empires & Allies: Quick Guide for New Players

    The first turn-based strategy game from Zynga is easy to play once you learn the basics. Here’s a step by step guide for newbies who are still new to the turn-based strategy gameplay mechanic:

    To begin, think E & A as a combination of Cityville and Risk board game. You will have to expand your empire by building various houses, industrial and government buildings and farms. You will also have to build military buildings to fend off invasions from opponents and expand your military campaign to far-off islands. The objective is to rebuild your empire and expand it to gain military, economic and diplomatic superiority over your opponents.

    Now you know the objective, it is important you know the basics of the game. The in-game tutorial, assisted by the gorgeous military advisor named Scarlett, will explain how to play. However, in this guide I will explain building and combat basics as well as additional tips to earn coins and expand your empire:

    Empires and Allies Menu Screen   The game menu located at the bottom-right corner of the screen has plenty of options such as Build, Inventory, Edit and Cancel. Most of your tasks hover around the Build menu, which allows you to build various military, industrial and government buildings. The menu also has Housing, which lets you build house to increase residents and helps you to earn more coins through rent every few minutes. Let’s find out what benefits you get by building these units:

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    Building houses gives you the opportunity to collect rent. They also help you increase your empire’s population.

    There are different types of houses and each house allows you to earn a set number of coins after every few minutes or hours. For example: building a Small Island Hut earns you 10 gold coins every 3 minutes and increases your empire’s population by 10 people.

    For building houses, you need wood and coins. Building a simple Small island Hut will cost you 10 woods. You can easily chop down trees to collect wood and build this house.

    To Build a House, click on the Build menu, and in the Housing sub-menu, click the Small Island Hut portrait and click on a space in the main screen to place the foundation.

    Housing Menu  

    Mouse-over each house portrait in the Housing sub-menu to check the number of coins that will be generated after ever few minutes or hours.

    Next, click three times to complete the construction process (this is the ideal way of completing the building process of most military, industrial buildings and farms).

    When the house is ready, check the coin icon hovering over the house every after few minutes. This notifies you to collect them as rent. Just click the Small Island Hut and get 10 coins.

    Small Island Hut  

    Once you unlock other houses, you can follow these steps to collect more coins and increase the population of island residents.

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    As the name suggests, The Military menu in Empires and Allies allows you to construct military buildings. And because it is a turn-based war strategy game, you will have to build military units to defend your empire and wage epic battles against your friends and AI opponents.


    There are three main types of military buildings: Barracks, Hangar and Shipyard:

    Barracks: Build this to create land units. You can build artillery, cadet and grunt soldiers and tanks.


    Shipyard: Build this to create naval units. You can create carriers, gunboats, and huge battleships.


    Hangar: Build this structure to create air units, such as bombers, air fighters and airships.


      Each of these buildings has different versions that will help you create advanced units in later levels, but to unlock them you will have to raise the population level. For example, there’s a Barracks II, Hangar II and Shipyard II ready to be unlocked, but require 700, 1000, and 1200 population respectively. Just click Build –> Military and check out what are the population requirements of each building.

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      Industry is the backbone of any economy, and so your empire. It is heavily dependent on resources which can be used for building structures and troops. The most important industrial buildings are farms, lumber mill, oil well and ore mine.

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      Farms: Lets You Harvest Crops and Earn Coins.

      In the Industry sub-menu of the Build menu, Click on Farms and click on an empty space to build one.


      Click three times to complete building process. Now click on the farm and select the crops that you want to harvest. Remember you will earn coins only after harvesting crops.


      Each crop earns you one time coins. For example, harvesting corn produces 75 coins.

      They need time to harvest, so the completion time of harvesting corn is 5 minutes, but different crops require more time to harvest, sometimes more than 24 hours. However, harvesting crops like pineapple, strawberry and tomato yield more coins.

      Farm Harvested  

      After the harvesting time is over, click on the farm to collect coins. The ready-to-be-farm also gives away XP.

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      Lumber Mill

      In Empires & Allies, lumber mill is used to produce wood. To build one, you need 200 coins. Once unlocked, click on the lumber mill icon and then click on the empty space to build one.

      Lumber Mill  

      You will then have to start certain contracts to begin wood production. Click on the lumber mill building and click on any lumber mill contract.

      Lumber Mill Contracts  

      Different contracts yield more wood (and coins too), but the amount of time required for the production of wood varies from contract to contract. For example, it will take 5 minutes to complete the Tithe of Timber contract, whereas completing the Lots of Lumber contract will take 60 minutes. If you don’t like to wait, you can visit your ally’s empire or ask your friends to gift wood.

      Once the contract completes, click on the lumber mill to collect wood and XP.

      Next Page: How to Build Ore Mine, Oil Well, Market and Government Buildings

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      Ore Mine: Build Them to Construct Advanced Buildings and Units:

      Ore Mine   To build one, you need to unlock it first. This industrial building can be unlocked and requires 200 population (can be increased by building government buildings and houses).

      After building an ore mine, click on the building and buy contracts to produce ore. You can also buy ore from the market.

      Ore Mine Contracts  

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      Oil Well: Is Required to Build Military, Naval and Airborne Troops:

      Build an oil well by clicking on the icon in the Build Menu and place it on an empty space (Make sure you chop down trees to free up some space as trees act as obstacles. You can also move trees and other objects using the move option if you think they are clocking your way)

      Oil Well  

      To produce oil, you need to buy contracts with Coins. Click on the oil well and click on the contract that you feel will produce more oil.

      Oil Well Contracts  

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      Like Rise of Nations, Empires and Allies have markets to buy and sell resources, which will ultimately profit you and your friends. Basically, a Market allows you to sell any of your “extra" (surplus) resources.


      To build one, click on the Build menu ->Industry and click on the Market icon. You first need to unlock the market (your empire population must be 200). You will have to spend 1000 Coins and should have 100 wood and 5 aluminum ore.

      To put up resources for sale, click the completed Market building. This will bring the Marketplace screen that will allow you to sell your resources. Select the item that you would like to sell, enter the quantity using the numeric keypad at the right side of the screen and click Confirm.


      Before selecting a resource, ensure you have enough quantity. Once confirmed, you can display them live and have your friends buy them.

      If you want to purchase resources from your friend, click on your friends profile in the neighbors list located at the bottom of the screen. You will notice several options like Send Gift, Ask for Ore, Invade, Visit and Market.

      Purchasing Resources from Your FB Neighbor  

      Click the Market icon and purchase resources that are put up on sale by your FB friend. Similarly, your friends can also purchase resources from your market.

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      Government Buildings: Allow You to Build More Houses, Thereby Increasing Your Population

      The maximum population limit increases once you build a government building. You will find this building option in the Build menu - > Government. After constructing a new building, you will have to staff it to finish construction. You can invite your friends to staff the government building or spend three Empire Points for each new staff.

      Government Building  

      Government buildings also help you earn Coins for your empire every day. For example, building an Executive Mansion not only increases your maximum population capacity to 150, but also earns 400 Coins every day.

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      Found in the Build menu, Power-ups give you additional firepower and healing/repair benefits. You need Empire points to purchase a variety of power-ups. The best way to earn them is to collect Honor and Infamy after every battle.


      You can unlock more power-ups by increasing your Infamy and Honor scores. To increase “Honor" help your friends by visiting their islands and collect red hearts. To increase Infamy, invade your friends and collect black hearts. Collecting red hearts provides defensive power-ups for free, while Black hearts allows you to get free offensive power-ups like Air Strike etc.

      Power-ups can be used in combat. When fighting against your opponent, all you have to do is to click the big Green power-up button.

      Select Power-Up  

      Select the offensive power-up that you want to unleash and click on target. You can also buy power-ups mid-battle with the available Empire points.

      Click on the Enemy to Unleash The Offensive Power-UP  

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      In Empires and Allies, resources are very important to build buildings and keep your empire up and running. Wood, ore, oil, and coins help you to construct buildings, troops, and also help you to win battles:

      • Wood can be obtained by cutting down trees or by taking contracts from a lumber mill.
      • Coins are virtual currency and are needed to build buildings, buy items and create troops.
      • Oil is needed to build basic and advanced military units. You will have to build an oil well and start an oil contract to extract oil.
      • Ore is produced from ore mine and is generally used to build advanced military units.You can get ore from your friend if you request them to send through the ladder. You can purchase ore from the market or collect them during battle (after every Critical Hit, ore is dropped on the ground). Ore is also received after emerging victorious in a combat.
      • Markets are used to sell surplus resources. They are sold for Coins.

      Next: Combat Strategy Guide

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      Combat forms an integral part of every turn-based military strategy game. In Empires and Allies, combat is fun and is based on the rock-paper-scissors logic. Before you engage in combat with your opponents, you need to build barracks, hangar, and shipyard. Once these are built, click on these buildings and create land, air and sea troops. When ready for battle, you will have to choose the theater and then place your available units to fight.

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      Combat Strategy Guide: How to Invade?

      You can invade your friend’s island, but that doesn’t mean your buddies will turn enemies. In fact, Invading your FB neighbors benefits both players. As the invader, you will earn XP and receive additional resources during battle and after a successful invasion. If your ally wins, he/she will earn XP, Honor (red star) and resources during battle and after repelling the invasion.

      If your invasion is successful, you earn Infamy (black star), which lets you unlock destructive power-ups. You can get these power-ups free once the black-colored infamy bar fills ups. This is a free option to get them without spending those precious Empire Points.

      To invade your ally, click on the ally portrait located at the bottom of the screen. Click on the Invade button.

      Click the Invade Button on Your Friends Portrait 

      Choose the location of your invasion.

      Choose The Location 

      Choose areas that are well-occupied by farms and other industrial buildings. This will help you rake in more resources once you win the battle (of course, this will mean your friend will lose those resources).

      Choose the Area 

      Wait for the battle screen to load.

      Choose a theater from three theaters – land, sea or air. The top portion theater is your allies and the bottom portion is yours. First check which theater and units your ally has chosen and only then choose the theater that will give a formidable attack.

      Battle Screen - Select Theater 

      After selecting the theater, choose your troops and click Fight.

      Click to Add Units - Battle Screen 

      While engaging in battle against your FB friend, click on your troop and then click on your ally’s troops to attack. Your ally’s army will automatically return fire. The battle will end once either of the troops gets completely destroyed.

      Mid-Battle, Click on the Enemy 

      Before engaging in battle, remember that the battle follows the rock-paper-scissor mechanic, which means some troops will be superior to others and hence inflict more damage.

      You will have to find out what are the strengths and weakness of each troop to easily defeat your opponent. Every troop has its strength and weakness and this will determine which unit inflicts more damage against your opponent. Here’s a cheat sheet that will give you a clear idea:

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      Land Troops (Barracks)

      Soldiers (example: cadet soldiers and grunt soldiers):

      Cadet Soldiers 

      • Strong against artillery, air ships (helicopters etc.) and carriers
      • Weak against tanks, air bombers and gunboats

      Artillery (example – cannon artillery):

      Cannon Artillery 

      • Strong against air bombers, artillery and battleships
      • Weak against soldiers and grunts, air fighters and carriers

      Tanks (example –vintage tank):

      Vintage Tank 

      • Strong against gunboats, soldiers, air fighters
      • Weak against battleships, airships and artillery
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      Sea Troops (Shipyard)


      Ironclad Gunboat 

      • Strong against soldiers, bombers, carriers
      • Weak against battleships, tanks, and airships


      Vintage Carrier 

      • Strong against artillery, air ships, battleships
      • Weak against soldiers, air fighters, gunboats


      Vintage Battleship 

      • Strong against tanks, air fighters and gunboats (submarines etc.)
      • Weak against carriers, bombers and artillery
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      Air Troops (Hangar)

      Air Fighters:

      Vintage Air Fighter 

      • Strong against artillery, air ships, carriers
      • Weak against tanks, bombers, battleships


      Air ship - Air Chinook 

      • Strong against tanks, bombers, gunboats
      • Weak against carriers, soldiers, and air fighters


      Vintage Air Bomber 

      • Strong against battleships, soldiers, air fighters
      • Weak against artillery, air ships and gunboats
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      Additional Combat Tips

      Now that you’ve identified which troop is strong or weak, you will have to place the right air, sea and land units that have an advantage against your opponent’s troops on the battleground.

      1. Click on your troops that are effective against your enemy troops and then click on your enemy units to destroy them first. Make sure you attack those units first that have an advantage over your weak units. This will increase the chances of your troop’s survival. If you attack an enemy target you’re not strong against, there are chances of missing the target.

      2. During battle, there are three types of hits that inflict different damage. Each hit also provides a unique resource drop. Glancing hit inflicts minimum damage and earns you XP.

      3. Direct hit does more damage than Glancing hit and Critical Hit gives final blow to your opponent’s units.

      4. Every successful hit gives you additional benefits in the form of combat drops (coins, wood, oil etc.). Make sure you collect them all, and collect any honor points to unlock defensive power-ups.

      5. The battle is turn-based, which means both teams take turns to attack each other. You really don’t have to act impatiently. Have a good number of military units. Select your units that you find are stronger than your enemy units.

      6. You can earn free power-ups once you have leveled up your infamy or honor points.

      7. During battle, your unit’s health bar will decrease after each successful “hit" from the enemy. Just beside the health bar is a small green cross. Click the cross and heal your units, but you will have to spend 2 empire points in order to do that.

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      Campaign Globe You can play Empires and Allies without following the tutorial prompts. You will have ample time to create buildings and farms, and you can start your campaign missions any time you want.

      To begin your campaign, click on the globe located at the bottom-right hand corner of the game screen. You will see a series of tiny islands once the battle map opens up.

      Each island is controlled by AI bosses. To fight against any AI boss, you need to first unlock a location on the map. Unlocking campaigns require you to complete tasks. Once you complete them, make sure you have enough troops ready as fighting against AI bosses is challenging.

      Empires and Allies Campaign - Islands 

      The combat mechanic is the same as explained in the combat strategy guide section. However, the most important aspect of a campaign battle is that you can take the help of your FB neighbors. You will be asked to select your allies, who will provide random power-up and inflict maximum damage on your opponent’s units. Click on the ally portrait to get a free random power-up.

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      As you begin your campaign, you will notice that your island is too small to house all buildings. Therefore you will have to expand your empire to build more military tents, farms, oil wells, ore mines, houses and government buildings.

      To expand your empire, click on the Build menu and then click on the Expansion sub-menu.

      Expansion Sub-Menu 

      In initial stages, you should have at least 10 Liberty Bonds to expand your empire. After you expand your empire, you will have to buy more liberty bonds, but they will also cost you more coins, besides empire points.

      Liberty Bonds 

      You can earn Liberty Bonds by completing tasks/missions, leveling up (XP) helping your FB neighbors or buying them with empire points.

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      How to Build a Research Lab to Upgrade Units?

      The Army Research Lab in Empires and Allies allows you to upgrade your military troops. Upgrading your military units will make them more formidable against enemy units. Unit upgrades also allows you to build your troops at a less cost and at a much faster pace.

      To build Army Research Lab, you need 400 residents. The building costs 500 wood, 20 aluminum and 5,000 gold coins. Once you have built the research lab, you can create advance military units at a much cheaper rate.

      Research Lab 

      Click the Build menu and under Military, click the Army Research lab. Find an empty space to build.

      After you finish constructing the research lab, click on the building. You will see various research options, which will allow you to upgrade your land, air and sea troops. Under each individual military unit is the Research button. Click on this button to research and upgrade them.

      Research Lab Contents 

      However, you will require parts to research the individual unit upgrades. You can either buy those parts with the available Empire Points or send requests to your Facebook neighbors.

      Research Parts 

      Once the research for an individual unit is completed, you can upgrade your unit. There are different bonuses for each upgrade and upgrading your units will increase their firepower, which will help you inflict more damage to your opponents in the battlefield.

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      Five Additional Tips for a Successful Empire

      How Can I Defend My Empire?

      Defending Buildings You can defend your buildings and farms. Build units, click on them and place them near industrial and government buildings to protect them. You will have to click the Edit button located at the bottom right corner of the screen and click the Move icon. Click on your units and place them besides any building, you will notice the area turning blue, indicating the portion of area that will be defended by your troops.

      Why Build Government Buildings?

      You will have to build them in order to increase the maximum population limit. Make sure you build the first three government buildings and staff them to increase the population limit.

      How Many Residents Should be Added in my Island?

      Your island should support at least 250-300 villagers. This is the ideal number to unlock units. Build government buildings to raise population limit and houses to build residents.

      What is the Best Way to Ensure a Steady Flow of Resources?

      You should build 4 farms, 4 lumber mills and a minimum 2 oil wells to ensure steady flow of coins, wood and oil. You can later build more after empire expansion.

      What about Military Buildings? How many buildings do I have to build?

      You must build at least two barracks, two hangars and two shipyards. This will ensure steady recruitment and training of all your land, sea and air units. Remember that each military building can produce one unit at a time, so build at least two buildings each.

      Using this guide, you can now build key industrial and government buildings, battle againtst enemies and find various ways to rake in coins and collect other resources. Any suggestions and comments is appreciated. I will try to answer your questions and will also update this guide when I find more easy ways to expand my empire.


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    • Empires and Allies Facebook Help Section

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