By: Derek Yu

On: March 31st, 2008


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!

  • MisterX

    This looks pretty interesting. I’ve been wanting to play a good browser game for quite a while now, but most that I know of are just too generic and really not that much fun. I’ll make sure to give this one a try, thanks for mentioning it :)

  • durr

    second! =P

  • Xotes

    Third! Still, it looks like fun… What the hell, I’m signing up. To OWL COUNTRY I

  • Mr.Trianglehead

    I was playing for a while, then I stopped… Mainly due to VGNG and schoolwork. But I have an Island there somewhere, if my citizens haven’t like revolted or something. I’m in Delta Server though… Maybe I’ll restart a town in Iota and join in.

  • Jonathan Blow

    I tried to sign up, and it just wouldn’t recognize my account/password. Sigh.

  • Lim-Dul

    Oh noes! Browser-based games! The ultimate time-eaters…

    I remember when I was playing D-Wars (Droid-Wars), a German browser-based game. You had to constantly “juggle” your droids because you had a storage capacity of only 240 while bigger armies required thousands of them – if you forgot or failed to “bounce” the droids by sending them on a attack mission you simply lost them.

    Ah – those were the times of attacking people at 4 a.m. or lines like “I don’t have time this evening because my droids are coming back at 9 p.m.” – ha, ha – the game took over my life. :-D

    Then I turned into quite a pro in Travian – I was a member of one of the eroa-winning alliances on the main server. Luckily THIS game didn’t take over my life to that degree, especially since I was running a dual-account with my girlfriend but it was still a bad, bad, bad time-eater.

    Having said that – I’ll check out Ikariam. ;-)

  • MisterX

    So far I’m enjoying it. Like you said it seems to be well balanced and the polished presentation really adds to the experience. I also like the descriptions of everything, not too generic and quite adorable :)

    I’ve just got 2 newb’s questions so far:
    -What does it take to change the town’s name? Or did I miss something and actually had to do that when registering or so?
    -Is it possible that you simply get attacked by another player and all you got is destroyed? I’ve only played OGame for quite a while and in it you were often attacked by players 10 times stronger than you and much of what you built in countless hours was destroyed for good. In games like this I like being rather passive concerning warfare, not harming anyone and likewise not getting harmed myself. Is that possible in Ikariam?
    Of course I am donating to the mill, thanks for the heads up there :D

  • Marco Campos

    Reminds me of Settlers… cool! :D

  • MisterX

    Ah, in order to rename the town one only has to click on the Town hall and then on “rename”. Now that was simple, hehe.

  • http://aaiiee.wordpress.com/ PeterM

    I joined, I’m PeterM on Iota. My town is at:

    Island = Osotia[32:20]
    Town = “Cave Story” :-)

    I’m too early in the game to join any alliances, but I’ll try to join when I build the required buildings.

  • Zhyn

    Zhyn reporting in. The town of Aiur at Rejuios [17:43] will one day join the Owl Country.

  • Dusty Spur

    Monocleville on Jipios 19:49, assuming I’m interpreting the interface correctly.

  • Mr. Small

    Why the fuck is this, first, second, third bullshit running rampant all over the internet all of a sudden? I used to see it on a few forums that middle school retards would frequent, but now everywhere I go I see this “first!” bullshit everywhere.

    You guys need to stop being such annoying fuck fences.

    screw your own mother and have a nice day you twits.

  • http://theschoon.com Schoon

    Oh noes! SchoonyLabs has wandered onto World Iota of Ikariam! Now we’ll never graduate!

  • Tinarg

    I joind aswell: “Here be Owls” at [18, 66] Leukyos.

    If this game however turn outs to become a timeeater I will definetly quit. I already made my experiences with browser games, similar to what Lim-Dul described.

  • MaimedWookiee

    This looks fantastic – I tried Travian out, still playing (until now that is) but I just got stuck in a never-ending state of being raided by a few unscrupulous sots with 100s of troops against my 5. =/ Look out for Wookopolis on an island near you – specifically Throtaios[87:41]

    PS: Owls certainly have moved up in videogame culture. I always thought they had a bad rap ever since Sly Cooper.

  • BeamSplashX

    We must now crossbreed an owl and tiger somehow for ULTIMATE INDIE POWER.

  • Derek

    Sweet! Some of you are really far away, but that’s fine. No reason Owl Country can’t extend far and wide!

    Long live the owl!


  • Serial

    This game used to be fun – but the action point update that took place recently really just fucked it up to the point of me not even wanting to play anymore –

  • http://www.ericmcquiggan.com TeamQuiggan

    I’ve joined! Hopefully I can eventually join your sexy Alliance.

  • Dusty Spur

    What are Action Points for, anyway? I’ve built and upgraded stuff and have placed some guys in the Forest and the Academy but I seem to still have my 2 Action Points I started with.

    Also, when can I build an Embassy? I want to get in on this… owl-dom.

  • Tinarg

    In order to build an embassy you need to research foreign cultures (Seafaring) first.

    See here:

  • Stwelin

    I think action points are used when waging war or trading.. not really sure. Building your town and researching are all passive activities, it seems.

    (Also, from what i can tell it forces the order of which you build things, i only have a town hall and an Academy, and the only 2 buildings offered are a barracks and a sea port, so i think you might have to do those first?)

  • Primetime

    Hello all, first time posting. Relatively new to TIGsource … I’ve joined up and can be found at Heudios[99:39] > Hollis.

    Will make contact with OWL as soon as I get my account confirmed/activated.

  • Quetz

    Hallo, my town’s Minath on the island Bratuios, way out in the boonies at [1:15].

  • Joltmar

    Rhidios[62:24] > HolyMuffin

  • fartron

    No one can be told what the Fartrix is… but as for where, it’s on Houlious at coordinates [i]23:82[/i].

  • Hunty

    can anyone front me 100 glass? I’ll pay you back 100 sulphur or 1000 wood once I get my research up.

  • MrBubbles

    Name MrBubbles, town Prosperica (don’t have the coords handy). I’m grinding toward an Embassy so I should be in here soon.,

  • Madnis

    im in ur Ikariam,
    buildin my embassy

    Craellios [2:14] > Madhous

  • Dusty Spur

    So am I the only one clueless as to how to gain access to an Embassy?

  • Derek

    You gotta research “Foreign Cultures” at your Academy, which is under Seafaring. :)

  • Dusty Spur

    Gatdamn, I’ve just been doing the default line (Economy I believe?). Ah well, I’ve got enough scientists that it shouldn’t take too long to get to Foreign Cultures. Thanks Derek!

  • lalalife

    Come see Chewi at 97:96!

  • Nightwish

    if you like the games as this one (i play it as well have3 villages and my own alliance) you can try playing Travian or Tribal wars.

  • JakeDrake

    Kentuck on Endetia[96:97]

    Chewi, I’m comin’ for ya.

  • Jim

    Sure thing hunty, could I please get your coordinates?

  • Frohike


    This stuff’s a pretty generic browser-version of Civilization, IMO.

    And the ability to get a leg up by playing RL cash is lame.

    Am I the only one seeing this?


    Heya guys, nice to have ya aboard, hope your having fun ^^

    your friendly Ikariam admin =p

  • Chaos Theory

    Well, I’m about 22 hours away from completing research on Foriegn cultures, and a few hours away from a palace. I will be able to join Owl Country some time soon.

    But I do have a question, as I’m running dangerously low on marble and should see about stocking up; how much does it cost to build your first colony, after the palace is built?

  • Derek

    I forget exactly… I think it’s like ~14,000 gold and a lot of wood. No marble required to build the colony, only the palace.

  • Frohike

    Hmmm I take my comment back. This is addictive stuff. I like the slow pace, like you can do something, walk away, and come back later. Ideal game for idle cycles at work.

  • Chaos Theory

    12,000 gold, 1,250 wood, 40 free citizens and 5 free trading boats to haul everything over.

    After expanding my trade fleet to make the journey, I now only need 11,942 gold! And about 700 wood… oh well, time to increase my crystal glass production and unload some into the market to make up the money.

  • TGR-Aderhall 4

    Greetings neighbor,
    I hope everything is going well for you in Ikariam. However I play at another server as well where I got the GamingRadio tag from. so if ya Google hard enuf you’ll find the gaming radio broadcast and can listen in on some awesome stream. :D

  • rndll

    Strange game, someone already sent me notice that they want me to delete my account, because my city is taking up the place where they will be placing a colony. If I don’t comply i will be attacked every day. Hmm :-p

  • Dusty Spur

    Hey Chaos Theory, I could really use some crystal glass, and I’ve got marble to trade~

  • http://ikariamtip.com Ikariam Player

    It’s a cool little game – I’ve made a tips site about it as well.

    I have 3 colonies at the moment and it’s good because you can make your moves before you go to bed and in the morning your warehouse is full of resources from the people you pillaged.

  • Hunty

    @37: thanks for the offer, but I pillaged er, “found” crystal glass elsewhere, and now I’m chugging along nicely. :)

  • Chaos Theory

    @ Dusty: Well, I’ve sold off most of my crystal glass supplies, they’re slowly going back up but I won’t be able to make any significant trades for a bit.

    On the plus side I managed to get a colony up, and built an embassy, I’ve sent, (at least I think I sent, the alliance text is still in German for some reason) an offer to Owl Country.

  • Dusty Spur

    Ah, alright. That’s cool. I needed an incentive to build up my army anyhow.

    I’ve got my Embassy up now and I sent an offer to Owl Country as well.