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  • Ikariam


    This is a web browser based game that primarily uses a point and click type interface. It is time based and even after you log off your game continues. There are two different servers; and

    Each server has multiple worlds. As of this writing the .com has two worlds. Alpha and Beta. The .org server has at least 6 worlds. The worlds do not interact. According to the rules you are not allowed to have multiple accounts per world. But you can have an account in each world.

    You start off your game on an island with up to 9 other players. Each island has two resources and a deity statue. There are many islands in a particular world (looks like a hundred or more). On each island there are also empty plots open to settlement.

    The game is free BUT...... See the conclusion.


    Nice and intuitive. Point and click for the most part. Graphics are simple but don't get in the way. Most actions are accomplished with simple mouse clicks. I can play the game while feeding my baby boy, it is that simple and effective.


    Everything you do takes a certain amount of time. Researching certain skills, assigning more people to the task and upgrades will reduce the amount of time needed to accomplish most of the tasks. So time and its management is a very important part of the game. For example I usually hold off on researching higher level tech until I go to bed. I then put as much man power into scientists so that it will be done shortly after I wake up in the morning. Then I reduce the scientists in the morning and put them back to gathering resources so that I can do shorter lived tasks (like upgrading buildings) during the day. These types of things only take 30-60 minutes at the lower levels.

    As you upgrade your skills and building it takes more time. Hours, even days.

    And getting from one place to another is also time intensive. Just moving troops or goods to another city one island away takes 40 minutes. Two islands away 80 minutes etc. This has a significant impact on the game.

    For one it makes it very friendly for new players. You are, generally, placed on the edge of the world where it is populated by other new players. The more established players are many hours away. The new player is therefore not a very tempting target. Add to that troops cost twice the upkeep and, even if they attack you, they are not going to get much out of it there is not much harassment.

    Most actions take enough time, however, to still keep you engaged. Once you get to the point where something takes 12 or more hours to complete you will have expanded enough so that you have plenty of work to do.

    Overall I think is the best use of time in a game that I have played.

    Resources and Economy:

    Each island always has wood, which is one component needed to construct all the buildings I have come across so far. In addition each island has one other resource.

    The other resources available in the game are

    Sulfur – used primarily in the construction of military units
    Crystal Glass – Important to science and research
    Marble – A prime ingredient in buildings and their upgrades
    Wine (grapes) – Keeps people drunk and happy

    Remember, each island only gets one of the above.

    You will quickly find that some resources are coveted more than others. In my neck of the woods every marble and most crystal islands are full. Wine islands are crowded but with space and sulfur island are almost ghost towns. As the game progresses I suspect sulfur, important for the military machine, will become more desirable.

    To gather these resources you assign a number of workers. Resources are infinite and all players on the island harvest from that limitless pool.

    Wood can be gathered immediately and you can assign up to 20 workers in the beginning. For each worker you gain one wood per hour.

    The special resources can only be gathered after you have researched the technology called wealth. Once that happens you can now assign workers to this resource but instead of each worker producing one unit per hour it takes 2 workers to produce one unit per hour. There are technologies and bonuses that can increase this.

    To be able to assign more workers and thus gather resources faster you have to expand the resource gathering level of the entire island. This is important because any player on the island can contribute to this effort as much, or as little, as they want.

    For example on my island the second level of wood gathering allows you to assign up to 30 workers (producing 30 wood per hour) to the wood resource. To get to the second level 550 wood has to "donated" to the effort. One player donated about 300 wood, me and three others donated the remaining amounts. That meant that 6 players donated nothing to the effort. BUT they still get to use the extra capacity just like everybody else.

    The same is true for the special resource on your island. To expand the gathering capabilities requires a certain amount of wood to be donated by one or more players on the island. After that new level is reached, ALL players can take advantage of the expanded capabilities.

    You start the game with 40 people total. Each person not assigned a job brings in 4 gold per hour. People assigned to gathering resources produce no gold. People assigned to research/science cost 8 gold per hour. Creating military units each cost a certain amount of gold/hr and a number of citizens taken out of the population. Those people assigned to the military no longer generate any income tax.

    You cannot gather resources that are not on your island. So if you need marble and there is none you have to buy some from another player on another island or you can trade. I have seen marble go for high as 50 gold/unit and I once traded Glass crystal 2:1 for wine.

    To buy resources you must first construct a Trading POST (different from the trading PORT). The first level of Trading Post allows you to trade with players up to one unit away from your own island. As you expand your trading post you can trade with islands further away.

    Even though you may be able to trade you cannot ship until you build a trading port and buy one or more cargo ships. Cargo ships are kinda magical in that, as long as they are not currently transporting something, they are immediately available to any of your ports no matter how far apart they are. It does take a significant amount of time to load the goods and then ship them. The farther you are the longer it takes. Upgrading your trading port loads the goods faster. Each cargo ship can carry 300 units of goods.

    To buy goods you put out bids for both what you want and what you need. Example: My island has crystal and none of the islands around me have it. So I offered 30 crystal at 30 gold each. Other players with a Trading Post can then accept my offer and the goods will be delivered by ship.

    I also needed marble to expand my Trading Post because I was on a Crystal island. I put out an offer to buy 40 marble at 15 each.

    Overnight other players accepted both my bids so when I woke up my coffers where fuller and I had the marble I needed to complete one of my expansions.

    You have to be quick and aware of how far away the trade is taking place. Even though you send out you cargo ships to buy the goods if someone gets there before you lose out, but keep your gold. This can be negated by having a Trade Treaty with that player. Also if, once you arrive, the person you are trading with is being blockaded your ship has no choice but to turn around and come home empty handed. During this time your cargo ship is unavailable to do other trades.

    The maximum number of cargo ships you can have is 120. Each one you buy costs more than the last with the first one being 144 gold.

    After you send out a cargo ship you can recall it at any point before it gets to its destination. It will return taking the amount of time it has already spent out to sea.

    It must also be said that many use the message boards to ask for resource trades. These trades are not limited by Trading Post limits. I personally don’t like doing this. Kills the emersion factor for me.


    Many actions require you to have the proper building constructed. All building requires wood. Some buildings and their upgrades require a combination of wood and one or more of the above resources. For example the trading post building requires both wood and marble. Expanding your town center (which allows for a larger population) requires wood and marble for the 3 and higher levels. Expanding your Academy (which allows you to employ more scientists and thus increased your research rate) requires wood and crystal.

    You start the game with 160 wood. But after that you have to either buy, as described above, the resources you need or trade for them until you expand.

    There are a couple of buildings you can build right away that only need wood. Trading Ports and Academy are two of them (you start with a Town Center). And some building expansions only require wood at the lower levels. But some buildings require not only special resources but also certain technology to be researched.

    The expansion of building allows benefits. Academy will allow you to assign more scientists to research. Barracks expansion allows for the training of troops faster. Town hall allows a larger population.

    Researching wine pressing allows you to build a tavern which keeps your population happier. Each level of the building allows you to serve more wine thus you keep a larger portion of you populace happy.

    One building that is important is the Warehouse. In the beginning you can only collect so many of any resource. Plus every single unit of the resources you have gathered is open to pillaging. A Warehouse increases the total amount of resources you can store. It also does something else pretty nifty, it safeguards a certain amount of each resource from pillaging. So if somebody does invade your city and win if the amount of the material you have is safeguarded you they get nothing!


    There is the technology tree that anybody familiar with Civilization will understand. Each tech allows new actions/buildings or increases the effectiveness of current actions.

    There are four branches in the tree. Seafaring, Economy, Military and Science.

    And example is that Researching paper gives a bonus to science research and Economy allows the gathering of special resources and building of a trading post.

    Researching a technology can be very expensive but not directly. You assign a citizen to be a scientist. Each scientist produces one research point per hour. Each a scientist costs 8 gold per hour so in effect each research point cost 12 gold. Some technologies takes hundreds even hundreds of thousands of points. There are technologies that increase the output of your scientists. And after researching “glass” technology you can donate crystal to the research effort. Each unit of crystal you donate adds one research point.

    Of course some technologies require you research technologies from other branches so that you cannot research all the levels of military without doing any of the other branches items.


    You build units in the barracks. Each unit requires a certain number of citizens, various amounts of resources and gold upkeep per hour. The most basic unit you can build is the Slinger, basically a citizen with a sling. It costs 1 citizen, 40 wood and cost 4 gold/hr upkeep.

    A more advanced unit, the phalanx, costs 4 citizens, 140 wood, 64 sulfur and 24 gold/hr upkeep.

    The more advanced units are only available after you have increased the level of the Barracks and researched the proper technology. The higher level Barracks also train the troops faster. The number of troops you can have is limited only by your population, gold and resources.

    To build a fleet you need to have a Shipyard. Again the higher level of Shipyard and more technology researched the better military ship you can build.

    All units can have their offensive and defensive ability upgraded with the Workshop building. Some upgrades also require the proper technology be researched. There are special units you can obtain, the chef and the doctor that helps your troops in battle. Cooks increase the stamina of your troops and of course doctors heal. Both can also fight but are not real effective.

    Once trained you can use the troops to Pillage where you take resources away from other players.

    To attack other towns you select the town from the island map a then click the pillage icon. You then select the troops you want to send to do the deed. The farther away the town the longer it takes to get there. The upkeep for these troops while going to battle is doubled. This can be very expensive if the city your are attacking is hours away.

    Once you arrive at the town the battle takes place. Varios factors affect the outcome (see below). But if you win you get a portion of the town’s resources. In many cases it makes almost no sense to attack the town because even if you win the loot is not worth the cost of the battle.

    For example I was attacked during one day six different times. The first battle I won and the attacker lost 8 slingers and I lost 5. The next five battles I lost. In total the guy got away with about 600 wood, 10 wine, 200 marble, 0 sulfur and 800 gold. That was with no troops at all guarding. I had a Warehouse that protected the majority of my goods.

    To defend yourself you construct your own troops. They automatically defend the town where they are stationed. To increase your troop’s effectiveness you can build a town wall. Each level you increase your wall you get a 10% increase in your troops effectiveness.

    You can also blockade other player’s ports with naval fleets, which mean they cannot trade or transport troops. The blockade is dependent on the power of the navies involved.

    Once you research the General technology you can occupy an enemy city.

    From the game instructions
    Ikariam differentiates between two types of battles: Sea battles carried out by war ships and battles on land, carried out by soldiers and war machines. All troops have the following values:
    • Damage - The unit´s destructive power
    • Armour Protection - The ability to take on damage
    • Stamina - The unit´s staying power, which plays a big role in large battles spanning many rounds
    • Special Abilities - Particular characteristic of the unit
    • Speed - How fast is the unit; with mixed allies the speed of the slowest unit counts
    • Class - Human or machine. The latter profits only half as much from doctors.
    • Costs - Citizens, building material and luxury resources needed to recruit these units
    • Upkeep - The hourly costs to be paid for the unit. (Attention! Double the upkeep when the units are travelling!)
    Available Special Abilities:
    • Assault - The unit receives a 30% damage bonus if on the attacking side.
    • Resistance - The unit receives a 30% armour protection bonus if on the defending side.
    • Battering Ram - The unit can damage the town walls, if existent.
    • Healer - The unit can avoid casualties on their side per battle round.
    • Refresh - Each battle round the unit can give exhausted units their stamina back.

    Pasted from


    You can communicate in game with other players by sending messages. They are magically instant!
    To go beyond that simple form of diplomacy you must do the proper research and build the Embassy building. Having an Embassy generates diplomatic points. With enough points, and the right technology, you can set up various alliances and treaty with other players.
    Alliances sound pretty nifty. They are set up by a player and other players can join if they have enough diplomat points. The leaders within the alliance get certain benefits. The leaders are: Leader, General, Interior Minister, Diplomat. Each one gets perks. I don't know what the benefits "regular" (non leader) alliance members receive other than the protection of their alliance members.

    There are also various types of treaties. Trade, military etc. that you can enter into with the expenditure of diplomat points.

    Trade treaties. If you have this type a treaty with another player once you click the trade button others cannot snatch the items from under you.

    Cultural Good treaty. You receive odd cultural goods from the players you have the treaty with. This serves to keep your people happy.

    Military treaty. You can allow other players cities to stage military operations from your city and they return the favor.

    There is an espionage option. You can build "hideouts" then train spies. You send those spies to other players cities and position them to gather information. These spies can be caught and there is a chance the spy will give away who sent them. Listed below are the actions your spy can perform.
    • Inspect Camp Status - You find out how many resources are in the town.
    • Spy out Garrison - How many and what types of soldiers, war machines and war ships are stationed within the town.
    • Monitor fleet and troops movements - A fleet´s origin and destination, the total number of units and transport ships as well as the arrival time.
    • Spy out Treasury - How much gold is in the treasury.
    • Spy out State of Research - You learn which discoveries were last made.
    • Monitor Message Traffic - You learn with whom the spy victim has exchanged messages with within the last few hours. You can only see the subject of the message, not the content.
    • Call back spy - Your spy returns to his Hideout.

    Pasted from =10021

    Of course this information can be very useful.

    Empire Expansion:

    As has been stated before the island you start out on only has one of the special resources. This is very limiting and while you can buy or trade for goods relying on the open market can be limiting.
    To solve this you can create colonies on other islands. Technically you could create a colony on your home island but, especially in the early stages, this is a waste.

    To be able to expand you must build a Palace. For every level of Palace you have you can create one colony. Another limitation is there has to be an open spot. Each island only allows 16 cities to be founded. Islands with certain resources fill up fast. A trade port and cargo ship is also needed to transport the citizens and any resources you want to start the colony out with.

    Once the colony is created you expand it just as you do with your capital. Gather resources, build buildings and create a military to defend yourself. One interesting thing is that you do NOT need a Trading Post or Trading Port to move goods between your colonies. This is good because you colonized so that you can get that wine for a party and waiting until the Trade Port is created would be a bummer.
    You can send troops from city to city as well. I am pretty sure that the city that created the troop is responsible for its upkeep.

    The income and research points you earn in any colony are placed in your empires total pool. This is pretty important because increasing your population in your main city get more and more expensive. Colonies can help out immensely by quickly getting to a medium size and helping much in the overall expansion.
    A problem with expansion is that you need to expand you capitals Palace for each colony. Getting three colonies is not to bad. The fourth requires 19,627 wood, 6,877 Marble and 4,585 Crystal Glass. You must have warehouse large enough to get these levels of resources. Every expansion above that get even more crazy.
    Another problem is simple space. As I mentioned in the resource section, islands with certain resources fill up quickly. You can create a colony as far away as you need but get more than 3 or 4 islands away and supporting your newly found colony, and getting it’s resource back to your capital where it is needed, becomes very expensive with regard to time.


    Well, some of the controls, mainly the sliders for assigning number of workers to a task, don't always work. This is never a real problem because you can always type the number you want. And there are times where I have to refresh the page to be able to do anything, especially on the shipment screen.

    This game was written in another language (German I think) and not everything has been translated yet. Also not a problem because those things are either not real important or you know what it is. For example there a few buttons that have "ya!" instead of "yes!".
    A large problem is accidently building a large number of troops by accident. Once started you cannot stop the process. This is to prevent people from “hiding” their resources if they get attacked. Once a resource is committed to building a upgrade or unit it is not available so they cannot be looted. I accidently built 12 phalanxes and it wasn’t done until 10 hours later and it took up much of my gold and wood.
    There are several annoying things like returning cargo ships sometimes show up in the military report as if you are being attacked by it.

    A scary development. They are introducing "Premium" features. These are things you can buy with real money that will give you extra stuff in game. Blahhhh!


    I do fear the "Premium" features. I don't blame them for doing this because they deserved to be paid for their efforts. But I don't like this approach and I hope they don't unbalance the game to much. I would gladly accept commercials to play and even ingame advertisement. Because there are just times when you can't do anything, and the screen is static, having commercials play over the game area would not be that detracting. And I might even pay to play if it was reasonable. It is that good a game.

    Even with that this is the most addictive game I have played since the first Civilization game! I have tried dozens of other web based game and none of them, even the established ones, have been as polished and balanced as this one is. Last night I was awoken at 3 am by my baby crying. I love my sleep but what did I do? Crawled over to the computer to check on my Ikariam cities!
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