I’ve been playing this web game Ikariam for a few weeks now, and man, it’s pretty fun (and free!). There’s just enough to do that it keeps my interest, but it’s passive enough that I don’t feel bad walking away from it for a few days at a time. It’s well-balanced so that you can have a good time no matter how social you want to get.
Essentially, the game is empire-building. You register an account, choose a world (server) to play on, and then you’re plopped down on a random island. A big part of the game involves building up your town, doing research, and managing resources. Which, of course, ends up being pretty fun. Harvesting of materials and research is automatic, and the only decision to be made is how many citizens to devote to each (citizens without specific tasks will generate gold).
Every island in Ikariam holds 16 towns maximum, and each island has one sawmill and one luxury resource – marble, sulfur, crystal glass, and grapes. These two spots are shared by all the inhabitants of the island and must be upgraded through donations. As you can imagine, you need all four of the luxury resources to expand in Ikariam, so trading between other islands is a must. The trading interface is slick and easy to use.
Since the sawmills, quarries, pits, mines, and vineyards are all communal, you get some moochers on every island who don’t donate – it’s common practice to pillage these poor bastards until they feel generous. War and diplomacy are also big parts of the game, and I won’t go into too much detail, but, suffice to say, you can be a total Machiavelli and/or Ghengis Khan, if you please. Just be careful of pillaging towns that belong to alliances, as you can quickly find yourself at the wrath of one of the more powerful ones.
This is about the perfect amount of learning curve/investment for me, for an online game (and the graphics are nice, too). If you want to play together, join the world “Iota” and come find me! My capital is “Tiger Sauce,” on Cukios [70:45]. My friend and I have a small alliance going (“Owl Country”), and it’d be nice to have some TIGers in it!
EDIT: Great to see so many people joined up! Here’s a guide to joining alliances. Before you join, you need an embassy!