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Small Giant has really raised the bar for Match-3 Puzzle games with Empires & Puzzles. With base-building, levelling Heroes, crafting, PvP, a Guild (Alliance) system, and a variety of game modes, to name a few; other Match-3 games are scrambling to keep up! But with all that content it can be difficult to know where to begin. In this article, we’ll take you through the basics you need to know to start building your own Empire for beginners and guide you into the world of Empires and Puzzles.
As a match 3 style game, you’d think there wouldn’t be much to discuss under Gameplay, but there are a few tricks which can guide you in Empires & Puzzles.
Dragon Shields and Power Shards
You’ve probably already seen the Dragon Shields and Power Shards, but to summarise:
- Dragon Shields and Power Shards are activated by tapping on them directly, or as normal in a color match.
- Dragon Shields are created by matching 4 tiles. When activated will burst in a plus formation, sending itself and adjacent tiles at the enemy.
- Power Shards are created by matching 5 or more tiles. When activated will send ALL tiles of that color towards the enemy.
These can grant a quick burst of damage, but be careful to not grant enemy Heroes too much mana without killing them, and charge their Special Skill.
Another way to gain an advantage in fights is through Combos. Combos are granted when you activate more than one color match in the same turn and give you a Damage bonus based on your Combo number. Combos go away at the end of the turn, so you’ll need some luck to get to higher Combos. Let’s look at some of the combos to guide you into first wins against your enemies in Empires & Puzzles.
The Colour Wheel is both one of the most basic and most powerful things in Empires & Puzzles. Use Colours to your advantage by targeting enemies with Colours they are Weak to and increase your damage.
- Hitting an enemy with the Colour they are Weak to (e.g. hitting a Red Hero with Blue tiles) will do double damage.
- Hitting an enemy with the Colour they are Strong against (e.g. hitting a Red Hero with Green tiles) will do half damage. That’s a 4x difference in hitting them with a Weak Colour vs a Strong Colour!
The Colour Wheel is available in the top-left corner of every battle if you ever forget!
A popular technique to take advantage of the Colour Wheel is called Colour Stacking. Colour Stacking means you take more Heroes into a fight of the Colour your enemies are Weak to.
- E.g. if you notice your enemy is using a lot of Blue Heroes, you should take extra Green Heroes.
The drawback of this technique is you aren’t using all 5 Colours – tile Colours of missing Heroes do no damage. However, 2 Heroes of one colour will do slightly more than 2x damage, so you’re increasing your damage overall.
This is particularly useful in PvP battles to help kill enemy Tanks (center Heroes) quickly and gain a number advantage.
Lastly, Ghosting is another common technique. Ghosting means deliberately missing all the enemies with your tiles. There are two reasons for doing this.
- Ghosted tiles give double the mana to your Heroes than if they had hit an enemy.
- Ghosted tiles give no mana to enemy heroes, so they only get their end of turn mana bonus.
Combined, this means you’ll charge your Special Skills much faster than your opponent.
Base Building in Empires & Puzzles
Managing your Base and using your resources efficiently is a huge part of Empires & Puzzles. For now, let’s focus on the main types of buildings and how they are useful as you’re starting and guide you into Empires & Puzzles
Despite being your base of operations, the Stronghold doesn’t do anything by itself. The Stronghold only really defines the maximum level your other buildings can be.
I.e. If your Stronghold is Level 5, the maximum level of your other buildings is Level 5.
As such, you’ll only want to upgrade your Stronghold when you want to upgrade another building past it, or if it grants you access to additional buildings (Levels 3, 5, 8, 11, 15 and 20).
The Resource Buildings are:
- Food Storages
- Iron Storages
You will naturally need to upgrade these as your Empire grows and demand for resources increases, but if you’re not running out of resources nor running out of space to store them, you don’t need to prioritise upgrading these.
The one exception is Storage buildings, if you’re not working on anything else it’s a good idea to upgrade Storage buildings as a couple of rewards are tied to your maximum Food/Iron capacity.
Training Camps are the heart of your Empire, you always need Heroes to either improve your roster or level up your current roster. However only a few of the Training Camp levels are worthwhile.
Training Camp Levels 1, 2, and 4 (referred to as TC1/2/4) are the best early Levels for growing your roster. TC1 and TC2 quickly grant you level fodder and use different resources to do so, whilst TC4 is resource-efficient and lets your Training Camps be in constant use (even while sleeping).
Whilst TC5 – TC9 look useful, they are less efficient than TC1 and TC2. They start becoming worthwhile again after TC10, but we’ll discuss later levels in another guide.
Forges are one of the least useful buildings early on. If you use a lot of items to pass a certain stage, you probably need better Heroes – not better items.
Whilst it’s still worth upgrading/researching your Forge when you can, don’t be afraid to leave it behind for now.
Heroes in Empires & Puzzles
Heroes are the main drive behind what makes Empires & Puzzles interesting. There’s a lot of complexity in choosing the right Heroes for a battle, and whilst you will always have a “go-to” team, having options is extremely valuable (e.g. for Colour Stacking).
The decisions behind choosing Heroes and which Hero is “best” for a battle is an essay by itself, so for now let’s stick to the basics.
Heroes are divided by Rarity:
- 1* Common
- 2* Uncommon
- 3* Rare
- 4* Epic
- 5* Legendary
In general, more Stars = stronger Hero, so you’ll usually want to prioritize Levelling-Up your highest Rarity Heroes. To start, you’re given a team of 2* Heroes and one 3* Hero. There’s no reason to Level-Up 1* Heroes, and you should only Level 2* Heroes before you have a 3* Hero to replace them.
There are some Events which require 3* Heroes, but there are no events which require 2* or 1* Heroes. Therefore, it’s worth moving on from 2* Heroes as soon as possible. The only reason you might want to hold onto some 2* Heroes is Alliance Wars, but you should still move onto 3* Heroes as soon as possible.
Join an Alliance as soon as you can. You’ll gain access to a couple of new game modes (Titans and Wars), and a group of players who will be happy to help and answer questions. More game modes = more rewards, so take part in as much stuff as you can and it will guide you into more rewards in Empires & Puzzles.
Again, there’s a lot of complexity and strategy in Titans and Wars, but we’ll stick to the basics.
Titans are like Raid Bosses, where any damage you do sticks and it will take several attacks from your entire Alliance to kill. Doing any damage gives you a chance at all the rewards, so make sure you attack every titan at least once.
Wars are competitive Alliance vs Alliance events where you can only use each Hero once. This will make sense after you’ve tried one, but it’s why you should hold on to 30 Heroes at all times – so you can use all your War energy.
You get 6 attacks per War, 6 Attacks x 5 Heroes = 30 Heroes.
Some Alliances take War more seriously than others, some even have full War Strategies. If this proves too much for you, there is an opt-out option in the War tab, you’ll miss out on some rewards but games are foremost for fun.
There are plenty out there so you will always find one which fits your style of play. If you change Alliance, your War Chest progress will reset, you will receive reduced loot on your first Titan, and your Titan Wanted Chest will become unavailable for 12 hours. This prevents Alliance hopping for increased loot, but is a small price for finding the right Alliance for you.
Resources in Empires & Puzzles
As stated earlier, the best way to obtain resources is to take part in everything. Empires & Puzzles operates on a Gacha or Loot-Box style system, where you have a percentage chance of receiving each reward. This does make the game a bit grindy sometimes, but with enough patience, you will get everything you need. Being an RNG-heavy game, you will have “bad days”, but remember that for every “bad day” there’s a “good day” nearby!
Due to recent legislation in several countries, the developers have made the percentage chance for each reward viewable in-game, you can use these to help decide what’s worth spending your time/money on.
Besides playing, the two main ways of boosting your resource income are Wanted Chests and Gems.
Wanted Chests require killing enemies to open, and refresh 12 hours after being opened. This means you can potentially open 2 in a day, and it’s worth saving your energy a few hours before they refresh to open them as quickly as possible. Titan chests refresh immediately after being opened as they are limited by the respawn rate of Titans.
Occasionally you will find a rare Elemental Chest, which requires you to kill enemies of a certain colour. While harder to complete, their rewards are much greater, so they are worth keeping an eye out for.
Wanted Chests will give you a burst of Food and Iron, as well as several pulls from a large pool of items, the most common of which being Gems…
Gems are the in-game currency in Empires & Puzzles and can be used to do almost anything. Early on, the best way to spend your Gems is not to spend them. Before you have a full team of Legendary Heroes, the best use of Gems is a 10x Summon at one of the Special Summons. Which summon is up to you and depends on what Heroes you have/want, but make sure it’s a Summon which has a chance of the Hero of the Month Bonus Draw, as these are usually amongst the strongest Heroes in the game.
Mystic Visions will also give you a small amount of Gems and Items in exchange for watching an ad. If you don’t mind adverts, these are another good way of obtaining free items.
If you want to spend money on the game, we would suggest the VIP pass as it gives you a good boost in Gems and a second Builder which greatly speeds up upgrading your Base.
There’s much more to explore in Empires & Puzzles, we’ve barely scratched the surface on a number of these topics, but hopefully, this will get you started and well on your way to becoming a Legend!
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