Casual Gaming

Up until recently I've always thought of games geared towards casual gamers as either a gimmick, or a misrepresentation of a game. No matter how little effort was required to play a game, the player was still required to watch the game, stand in front of the computer, or at least have the program running on their computer.

A few months ago I stumbled on a game called Ikariam( Now the game itself wasn't anything special, but the demongraphics that it was geared towards and how it went about that was very interesting.

First Let me explain the game, it's a browser based (non-flash based) strategic warfare game. You create colonies and build up your cities while gathering resources to expand your empire with more colonies. You interact with other players through alliances, battles, wars, raids, spying, messaging, etc.

Now the method in which this game attracts casual players is that the game literally only requires a few minutes of attention every few hours. You set the building queue, any shipments, and send messages, then come back in a few hours. Battles are also automated for the most part. You send your troops, they battle autonomously with the defenders then you look at the battle reports afterwards.

The interface is all browser based html(?) coded. There's no fancy plugin to download like with flash. Mostly because there are no animations involved, aside from a few sliding bars. So it's virtually 100% safe for work or wherever you want to play it. And since it's a casual gamer, it can easily be played at work without affecting your work performance. But as always, play at your own risk at work.

I've only been playing for 2 months, but I can already see many bugs and design flaws in the game, not to mention some seemingly ridiculous rules regarding interaction. But I will be better able to give an accurate assessment of the game after another month or two when I've explored more of the games features. Until then I suggest you guys give it a try. is the international server(it's older and therefore many more players) is the USA only server.

Here are some screenshots of the game, the first one is island view, the second one is town view, and the last one is the interface for the town hall building. I've blacked out personal information.