Empires Player Guide

Table of contents:

Commanding Tips

These hints will help you on your way towards having a fun first game of Empires. Have fun, and see you on the battlefield!

In Empires, TEAMWORK IS KEY. Go in alone and you'll take out two or three guys, go in with your teammates and you'll take out an entire forward base.

Some General Pointers Infantry Tips Vehicle Tips Commanding Tips

Before thinking of becoming the Commander

The Commander is the most important position of the battlefield: he guides the team's movements, places supporting structures and tactically researches upgrades in order to secure victory, all the while keeping an eye on the resource counter.

Unfortunately, this means it is also the hardest of positions: a Commander must be able to think about his strategy, his troop movements, his strong and weak points in his territory and how to exploit them, as well as understanding how to maximimze his income with the the least cost and effort. At the same time, he needs to have an indepth knowledge of the game, evaluate his team's skills and their playing style and adjust his research and (bulding) strategy accordingly.

As such, not all players will be a good Commander, but you can learn a lot through experience and careful observation of other successful Commanders. Make sure you have played at least a few rounds paying attention to the decisions of other (good) Commanders. If you have any extra questions, you can always ask the player via Steam Friends or PM.

One property all good Commanders share is the use of a microphone. Empires rounds tend to get very busy, and typing out tactics becomes very unwieldy as the round progresses. If you wish to take commanding seriously (and want your teammates to take you seriously), you will have to get a decent-quality microphone.

Finally, make sure you have a feeling for what research is effective in which situations. There are many viable combinations (and many that are not), so make sure you have at least an idea of what works and what doesn't.

When you're ready to take the plunge, make sure you've read the tips and hints below.

NOTE: Some elements have been left out of this tutorial on purpose, such as what kind of research to get during midgame. This is to prevent new players from immediately jumping into the Command Vehicle with no knowledge of what to do. If you're that eager, ask an experienced Commander for a quick walkthrough before jumping in.

The responsibilities of the Commander

As mentioned previously, a Commander needs to keep his eye on many things:

We will cover all of these aspects in detail, in order of first occurrence.

Before the round has started

So, your name has the most commander votes behind them, and there's still some time left on the counter. Use this time to size up your team: do you see any names you are familiar with? Knowing the individual strengths and weaknesses of your teammates is a great boon: when a specific situation requires a skilled response, you will know who to address and with whom to group them. The only possible giveaway of a skilled player is a clan tag. Familiarize yourself with long-running clans and their members when possible.

If commanding a map for the first few times, ask more experienced players for common strategies; there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Even if you're familiar with the most common tactics, make sure you regularly communicate with your team on what to do next if you have a hard time deciding.

At the start of a round

Send out everyone to the nearest resource nodes. You will have little resources to build any structures yet and enemies are as far away from your base as possible, so base security is not an issue. Make sure to issue movement commands to any stragglers: you need to build Refineries on resource nodes as fast as possible!

Again, ask your team for common unit distributions if you are unfamiliar with the map. For example, on emp_canyon the team tends to split in half to go to the southern and the eastern chokepoints, with one or two lone engineers securing resource nodes that are on the way there:

map of emp_canyon showing initial infantry movement
Initial movement of the Northern Faction team on emp_canyon.

When your team makes contact with the enemy team, make sure to give them pointers and drop the first Barracks' and Armories. The image above has some blue (BE) and red (NF) areas that are common Barracks locations.

Now that your resource flow is secured with a nearby Barracks providing infantry, you can start to assess the situation: where are you seeing the most resistance? Can you push through to take out one of the refineries? Remember, denying the enemy a resource node is the next best thing if you can't put a Refinery on it yourself.

While you are waiting for enough resources to build a Radar, make a suggestion for an initial research path to your team and listen to the feedback. Your team's skills will also influence this choice: if you have many new players and little experienced players, perhaps it is best to research relatively cheap, all-round engines and armor so you can field more tanks that will have less of a cost impact if they get destroyed. If you have an experienced team, you could research more expensive engines and armor. If you're not certain, it is best to go for cheap, all-round equipment and research more advanced equipment later on.

As soon as you have the resources, put down a Radar and have it built as fast as possible. When built, start the discussed research path immediately. There is a research counter in the top left corner of the screen that shows the current research as a reminder. Ensure there is always research being conducted!

Now that you have secured resources and research is underway, you can start to think of the next step in your strategy: looking for possible expansion points on the map. Perhaps your team has already secured a new location and is asking for some base structures. As always, ask your team for optimal base expansion points if you are unfamiliar with the map or uncertain.

Before you venture into mid-game territory, make sure you build a Vehicle Factory at your main base, so players can start churning out APCs and tanks. If you've noticed any new players, tell them to please not get jeeps, but APCs, because APCs have spawnpoints attached to them. If they die, they won't lose their ride!

NOTE: One event that happens from time to time is a base switch: Both teams assault the enemy main base early (with APCs, tanks or even jeeps), forcing the Command Vehicles to flee to the location of their troops: the former enemy main base. Be wary of early APC rushes, and make sure some Grenadiers and Riflemen are present to welcome the enemy "party bus"!


So, you've built an expansion base or you're getting hammered into a corner or both. It is time to start directing your unit flow as efficiently as possible: if you see riflemen getting attacked by tanks, tell some of the players to switch to Grenadier. Of course, experienced players will do this by themselves, but newer players will often still be a bit confused as to what class is effective against which enemy units.

Similarly, start churning out tanks and give them clear and precise orders: "Hold this line", "Take out this Refinery", "Attack this Barracks", and so on. Your tanks are your cavalry: they are fast and deadly, but losing them may cost you the battle. If you see that a driver is getting himself into trouble, tell him to back off and get repairs. Lost tanks = lost resources.

The round has now become an arms race: you need to one-up the enemy team with new research that fits well into your future strategy and your team's playing style. If you're uncertain what to get next, ask your teammates.

Make sure to keep an eye on your resource flow: newer, better tank designs will start to cost you dearly, so make sure to keep securing and protecting your Refineries.

If you haven't done so and have some resources to spare, put down some turrets around your base (and especially some MG turrets around the Command Vehicle!) to prevent being ambushed by sneaky infantry (often called "ninjas").

If you are losing ground to an enemy front, see if you can find a weak spot in the other fronts. Often, a Commander will focus his efforts on a single front in order to push through. If you've reinforced a front well enough, you can afford to protect it with less troops than are attacking while you do a quick, hard push (preferably with vehicles) on the other fronts.

If you succeed, make sure to destroy Barracks' and Refineries first. If your besieged front is close to collapsing, see if you can send back some units back to the besieged front. The damage to the enemy infrastructure has been done, and it will have to rebuild. Leave behind a small outpost (Barracks + Armory or an APC, as well as some walls and turrets) so your troops can keep protecting the conquered resource nodes.

If you fail, you might think of sending small infantry squads in APCs simultaneously to the weak front to spread out forces. Depending on the type of resistance, ensure the infantry squads consist of Grenadiers or Riflemen along with Engineers.

During this fierce back-and-forth fighting, both teams are often so focused on the front lines that it is possible to execute a sneak attack on the main base: See if you can sneak in a Scout or some Engineers with an APC driven by a Scout with the "Radar Stealth" skill, and construct a Barracks near the enemy base (or outpost). Once constructed, have your units pour out of the building and quickly destroy the enemy base.

Now that a lot of research has been conducted and tickets are starting to run out, the End Game is looming. Some very interesting strategies will pop up that are not often seen.

End-Game will be divided in two parts: End-Game (Losing) and End-Game (Winning).

End-Game (Losing)

So, the enemy team has you in a pinch, and you're possibly behind on research. One common tactic is to turtle: throw up as many defences as possible, get Engineers with Revive on the field, mine chokepoints and take out as many enemy vehicles as possible.

Around this time, personal player Wages come into play. Ask around who has some Wages left and see how many good tanks you can afford. In the meanwhile, try and open up a tunnel through the enemy front for a rapid tank rush into enemy territory. Use the rush to surprise enemy units: drive deep into enemy territory and take out their Barracks, Vehicle Factory and Refineries. Then, fall back and destroy the tanks that were attacking your main base. Once the pressure is off of your main base, expand again and retake your Refineries. Prepare for a counter-attack!

If your rush has failed and the enemy is starting to roll out heavy tanks, you will need to entrench yourself as much as possible and make life for the heavies as hard as possible while hoarding your resources for another rush. Don't forget to keep conducting new research!

If you manage to survive this long (for example, you've also managed to get heavy tanks and a decent resource flow), the enemy may choose to research Artillery Tanks. On some maps, these can be a real deal maker, firing over the length of half of the map and dealing massive damage. However, Artillery Tanks are vulnerable, expensive and have trouble seeing their surroundings. Exploit this opportunity by taking out any guarding units and destroying the Artillery Tanks. This should buy you some time to build more tanks or get Artillery Tanks of your own.

Sneak attacks are even more viable in the End Game, as the teams are now so packed that other sectors of the map are completely abandoned. Exploit this weakness by sneaking past some infantry (vehicles will usually be spotted nearly immediately), building a Barracks and wreaking havoc.

Anecdote: The little Heavy that could (click to open/close)

Reinforce the position of your Command Vehicle: put at least walls towards the front line. Don't lock yourself up, though! You may need to move if the enemy manages to break through.

If you manage to turn your luck around, make sure to keep an eye on your tickets: attacking the enemy often costs a lot of tickets. Tell your team to be mindful of this and have Engineers with Revive everywhere.

End-Game (Winning)

Congratulations, you're doing well and victory is within your grasp! Still, you need to be very careful, as every slip-up will be ruthlessly exploited by the opposing team.

Try to keep the pressure on the enemy team: if you control more Refineries than them, it is only a matter of time until their defences break down. However, pay close attention to your tickets! They will often quickly dwindle down if your teammates are too reckless.

If your resource flow is high, invest in heavy-hitting research: Heavy Tanks, Advanced Coolant or 3 Phase Engine, High-Explosive and Fission weaponry, and so on.

If your resource flow is rather low, make sure the majority of your team is in a tank and pummel the enemy position, specifically targetting their Barracks', Radars and Vehicle Factories. Remember that your units have personal Wages they can also use to build vehicles.

If tickets are running low and the enemy just isn't relenting, it may be interesting to research Artillery Tanks: they will be able to hit behind the enemy walls and reinforcements to directly take out the infrastructure and Command Vehicle behind. Ensure the Artillery Tanks are protected by fully upgraded Heavy Tanks.

If possible, open up a hole in the enemy defences and drive through a previously-prepared convoy of Heavy Tanks to annihilate the enemy.

Be wary of possible sneak attacks and enemy rushes: place turrets and walls to protect outposts and prevent nasty surprises.

Sudden Death

"This game just isn't ending!", you think. But suddenly, the round switches over to Sudden Death. Because the tickets of both teams have been depleted, a 5-minute timer has been started. When the time runs out, both Command Vehicles will die from a single hit from any explosive.

It is possible to prepare for Sudden Death: sneak in a Grenadier and have him lie in wait of The Final Countdown. (Ed.: Oh no you didn't.) Taking into account the flight time of the rocket, the fatal explosion could strike a few milliseconds after the timer has ended! To prevent this from happening, have some teammates sweep the areas that allow a view at the Command Vehicle for any enemy units.


So, the round is over and everyone (hopefully) had a good time. Use this short pause to thank your team for their efforts, regardless if you won or lost.

If you lost, try and point out what exactly went wrong. Some team members may have ignored orders: explain to them why it was important. They may bring up counter-arguments: listen to them and reason if they have a point. If so, pay more attention to the issue next time.

If you won, congratulations! If the win was hard-earned, it's always more fun, so if you notice that this particular match was relatively easy: in the next round, see if you can join the team with the most amount of players that were in the opposing team in the previous round and take another shot. Perhaps this round will prove more challenging...