I am a sucker for games that have Medieval setting, so naturally I was really looking forward to playing this game as soon as it was announced. Since this was a "freemium" game, I braced myself for the usual frustrations that comes with these types of games. I fully expected to be hamstrung in many facets of the game-play, to force me to spend cash on premium items. To my surprise, that was not the case. Unlike many Gameloft games, I never really felt that the game becomes unfair if I didn't open up the ol' wallet.
As for the game itself. You are a lord of a kingdom. Your goal is to build up your resources through the construction of various buildings. These resources can then be used to purchase troops, which you deploy to fight battles. The games economy is pretty straight forward, most buildings earn you gold and experience at regular intervals. Production buildings provide you with one of three kinds of raw materials as well, these are: wood, metal, and cloth.
Battles can be fought against both CPU opponents and your fellow gamers. CPU opponents are encountered in the single player campaign. Human players can be fought through random encounters or by invading the kingdoms of gamers on your friend list.
When in battle the player chooses up to 5 units from a variety that includes swordsmen, spearmen, axemen, archers, catapults, cannons, and cavalry. The opponents army is shown before the battle actually starts, so the player needs to choose the combination of troops that gives him the best chance at winning. The turn-based battle then starts. The familiar rock/paper/scissors system is employed here. For example, axemen are strong against archers, but weak against cavalry. Archers on the other hand can decimate cavalry units. So choosing the right units is crucial to winning, and your best unit in some cases is not the unit you want to have on the field. In addition to melee combat, you can also cast a magic spell once a turn if you choose to. However, I felt that spells are overpowered and can vastly unbalance the battle since your opponent is unable to cast them. I managed to win the final battle in the single player campaign with ridiculous ease by simply casting the spell "Earthquake" 4 times.
Overall, I've had a ton of fun with this game. It seems deceptively simple at the beginning , but before you know it, new layers of complexity start presenting themselves. So give it a try. I can guarantee you'll like it or you'll get your money back. :)