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Grow Empire: Rome Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Defend Your Empire

Hail, mighty caesar! As emperor of Rome, your first and main task is to defend our fair city (more of a settlement, really) from the hordes of blue barbarians, who show up at our doorstep every minute or so. Seriously, they never run out. They might even cause the fall of the Roman Empire one day.

grow empire rome tips

Grow Empire: Rome is a simple yet fun game where you are tasked not only with beating back the endless waves of barbarians looking to trample all over your country, but also with spreading the might and influence of the Roman Empire. Grow Empire: Rome is available on both the Google Play Store and the App Store.

While it’s definitely not going to be as hard as uniting the clans and creating a territory stretching from England to Africa, it does have its tricky bits. That’s why I’ve compiled this Grow Empire: Rome beginner’s guide – to help new players find their footing much easier and learn basic gameplay concepts and activities that will be pivotal to success.

Gameplay Basics

The core gameplay of Grow Empire: Rome simply involves summoning invaders (in waves) and beating them back. To summon a wave of enemies, simply tap on the Next Wave button on the lower right to call the barbarians.

grow empire rome barbarian
We’ll invade your empire in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.

To summon your own men to the fray, tap on their portraits on the lower left of the screen. Summoning units takes up 1 charge of the bar – visible as a green gauge on top of the units panel – and you always start with 2 charges. These charges replenish over time.

grow empire rome wave
We have reserves, don’t worry.

Information is your ally in Grow Empire: Rome. While each wave of enemies does get harder, the game will tell you what unit types you’ll be facing during the wave. This means you’ll be able to deploy the most effective counter units to beat the invaders back. Each invader you kill also gives you some gold – used for unit upgrades – and experience, for upgrading your city.

Finally, be aware that every 10th wave is a boss wave, with the barbarians conducting a more organized assault as well as sometimes introducing new enemy types. There’s no penalty for failure though – if they break through your wall, you can simply try the wave again, or sit back and upgrade your armies first.

Develop Your Armies

Your men are brave, mighty caesar, but without organization, they’re a lot less effective than they could be. By carefully organizing your ranks and investing in their growth, your armies can evolve from being a simple rabble of armed peasants to disciplined, organized, and unbreakable legions.

Unit Types

Each type of unit comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.

grow empire rome bonus attack
And everything loses to shotguns, but those aren’t available here.

Spearmen are good against cavalry, as unsurprisingly, horses don’t like to charge into spiky walls of death. Cavalry, with their swift and powerful mounts, can quickly close the distance between themselves and ranged units. Ranged units (more of skirmishers) use their versatile and deadly pila to eliminate spearmen, who can’t defend against missiles. Finally, swordsmen are the odd one out of the lot, as they’re balanced, with no particular strengths or weaknesses.

There’s a sixth classification of unit that’s more important in invasion missions – siege units. These units generally ignore all attacks and barrel towards the wall, which they can take down very quickly if left unchecked.

Upgrading Units

Your units aren’t as-is: you can always develop new, better training methods and arm your soldiers with better equipment. By going to the units menu in your city, you can choose to spend gold to upgrade a unit’s tier.

grow empire rome tier
Where’s that bugle?

Each unit has 3 upgrade tiers to go through, and once those are completed, that unit changes its appearance. Your swordsmen, for example, will go from just holding a sword in one hand to having rudimentary armor and shields. Naturally, each time you upgrade a unit type, its stats will increase – which you can also see in the units menu.

Unlocking Units

Unlocking new units is closely tied to upgrading them. To unlock a new unit type, you’ll need to keep upgrading a certain unit type.

unlocking new units in grow empire rome
I think a size L is too big for me. How about a size XL? Or maybe a XLV?

The Roman numeral (I hope you remember them) to the left of a unit type indicates its current tier – in the above image, my swordsmen are at tier 3, and my spearmen are at tier 2. To unlock ranged units, I’ll need to get my spearmen to tier 3. Cavalry requires tier 4 spearmen, and siege units require tier 3 ranged units.


Heroes are unique units that are much stronger than your standard rank-and-file soldiers.

grow empire rome arcani
At this point he (she?) has died so many times that I’m beginning to think “Arcani” is a title, not a name.

These special units are deployed outside your walls at the beginning of battle. They’ve got much higher stats and unique passive abilities, and can hold their own even against multiple enemy units, but they’re not immortal. Don’t worry about heroes falling in battle – while they’ll be unavailable for the rest of the battle if they die, they’ll be back in tip-top shape once the skirmish ends.

Heroes can also level up by being given potions. By leveling a hero up, you’ll increase their stats, making them much better fighters and allowing them to stay in the fray longer. At certain thresholds, heroes will also receive their own contingent of units, which will immediately boost your field presence and exert greater control over the flow of battle. You’ll occasionally get potions through the course of normal play, but the fastest and most reliable way to nab these elixirs is to buy them from the cash shop.

grow empire rome heroes store
Not free.

Speaking of the cash shop, that’s also where you buy more heroes. While Arcani is a free hero, you’ll have to shell out Gems for the rest of them.

Your General

grow empire rome general
He’s got a really cozy job, doesn’t he?

The guy with a cape standing in the back? He’s not just there to watch, he’s actually the general leading the defense of your city – and as more battles are won, he gains experience, which can be converted into valuable skills to help improve your defenses and chance of victory.

Whenever your general levels up, he gains some skill points that can be spent in the general menu. Here, you’ll be able to learn new skills and improve existing ones, as well as unlock new active skills that can turn the tides of battle.

grow empire rome general's skills
Somehow, he makes the wall healthier too!

There are three tabs in the general’s skill tree. The helmet covers his active abilities, the wall covershis economic and defensive passives (such as more wall health or more exp/gold per kill), and the sword covers offensive passives (such as troop upgrades).

Do note that your general will still apply his bonuses even on offensive missions – I’ll cover that in the next section – so try to focus more on troop upgrades, with a few points in kill bonuses. Do note that you can also reset your general’s skills while retaining his level, but this will cost Gems, so try to avoid having to reset at all.

grow empire rome reset
No, I didn’t press the button.

City Upgrades

Finally, you can also upgrade your city with structures and defense towers.

grow empire rome city upgrades
Make an offering to the invisible work fairies, and they’ll make your city stronger.

You can use gold directly to upgrade wall health, archer damage, and ballista reload time by tapping on the panels to the right of the screen. If you go further back into your town, you’ll also be able to change and upgrade the ammunition of your ballista, which allows you to deal with different enemy types easier.

Annex New Territories

You can’t be content to sit on your laurels and leave the richest parts of your land for your enemies to claim. Surely, you’re not afraid of expansion?

grow empire rome reinforcements
The third man is just there for moral support. If the two guys need to talk, he’s there for them.

By annexing new territories in Grow Empire: Rome, you’ll be able to increase your passive gold income, which is very, very important.

Attacking Provinces

To take new territory, you’ll first need to select which province to invade via the map screen.

grow empire rome invasion
I’ll admit – it feels good to be on the offensive for once.

The number beneath each blue flag is a general indicator of defender strength in that region – the higher it is, the more doggedly the defenders will fight you off. In addition, the stronger the defenders, the higher the gold cost to start an invasion becomes.

Once you’ve selected a province to attack, you’ll be prompted to form legions of units that will appear in successive order to attack the enemy’s insurmountable waist-high fence. When you’re ready, give the signal to attack.

grow empire rome attack
Some of you may die, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

The game plays out very similarly to defense segments, with some exceptions – as the attacker, you no longer have the benefit of archers or towers. You will, however, still have your general available, as well as their abilities. Just like the defense sequences, the attacker (in this case, you) loses if they run out of units – which depend on the legions you brought. To achieve victory, your men will need to destroy the enemy’s wall. As soon as the wall falls, you automatically win, no matter how many of your enemy’s units are standing.

This is a lot easier said than done. Not only do you not have your archers to pick off stray units, but your opponent will have access to them and ballistas.

grow empire rome card
Doesn’t seem to be worth it just yet.

You can use offensive cards to turn the tides in your favor during sieges – but take note that cards are one time use only. Once you burn them, they’re gone. However, you can combine 3 cards of the same type to create 1 card of significantly higher quality.

Upgrading Colonies

If your invasion is a success, that province will be turned into a Roman colony. As a colony, that province will now deposit gold directly into your treasury every minute.

grow empire rome colony
And now you work for me.

Each colony can also be upgraded to increase the amount of income it yields per minute. Upgrading does cost gold, but don’t worry – you’ll get back your money’s worth in about an hour of play, and you can just leave the game on in the background if you need gold.

Once you’ve annexed enough territories, you’ll also be given the option to build a bank in your capital. This structure collects tribute from your colonies while you’re offline, but only up to a certain limit.

Quelling Rebellions

I hope you didn’t assume the subjugated provinces would instantly accept your rule! Once you’ve completed around 8 invasion stages, the rebellion map becomes open to you. You can open this menu by tapping the home icon with a shield (lower left of the screen) while on the invasion map.

grow empire rome rebel
“Webellion” isn’t very “wisible”, if you were asking.

Rebellion maps are almost similar to the base defense gameplay – except they’re much harder. Enemies will attack your walls as a single unit, forcing you to majorly step up your defense game. You may also lose access to your archers and ballista towers, depending on the rebellion map you choose. Unlike in invasion maps, you don’t have legions of units – instead, you deploy units just like in a normal match. On the plus side, you’ll also gain the ability to use defensive cards, which function

grow empire rome glory
For the glory of the empire!

Each rebellion stage also has 3 difficulty settings – easy, medium, and hard – which give separate rewards. While rebellion maps are definitely a step up from your relaxed Rome defense experience, they’re well worth doing as clearing a rebellion map on a certain difficulty for the first time gives you Gems.

Gather Extra Income

Battle and tribute aren’t the only ways to earn gold and other currencies. Here’s some of the other stuff you can do to get more resources to boost your legions.


grow empire rome milestone
Free loot!

You may have noticed a sphere floating up to the top of your screen after completing a normal defense wave or an invasion mission. That orb represents progress towards the game’s milestones – rewards that are handed out after clearing a certain number of levels. By completing milestones, you’ll be able to get free Gems and cards for your invasion and rebellion missions.

Watch Ads To Get Free Gold

grow empire rome free gold
All ads lead to Rome.

Occasionally, you’ll be given the opportunity to watch an ad after clearing a wave. I highly suggest you do so, as these ads give a good amount of gold – and you always need gold.

Optimus Armchair General

Grow Empire: Rome is a very simple game to pick up and play, but is sure to provide you many hours of fun as you see your once-timid republic rise up to become a superpower of the ancient world.

grow empire rome end
Glory is eternal!

That concludes my Grow Empire: Rome beginner’s guide, and I hope you picked up something from it that will help you in the battles to come! If I missed anything, or if there’s anything you’d like to share, you’re welcome to make yourself heard in the comment section below!

Alexis Fyre

Thursday 7th of September 2023

There are two swirling symbols just behind my walls that say ''requires internet access'' or close to that. What are they for? And how do I make them work?