Ikariam Beginner to Advanced Guide
Ikariam Beginner to Advanced Guide by shinypenny
Basic beginner guide – expanding an empire
When starting out in the game, you have a town hall already placed for you in the village. The other buildings that you have the option of building are the academy, barracks, trading port and town wall. There is a tutorial in the game for new players which will show you how to place workers into the mill on your island to get wood for you. I suggest going through the tutorial if the game is new to you.
Once you have your workers producing wood you will need to build something (you start with some wood). This should be your chance to build an academy. The academy will be your main tool to development at this stage in the game, as it will open up new buildings for you, and allow you to build more units, and be more efficient doing basic activities (building and researching). Once the academy is built assign some people from your town to work in it as scientists. These scientists will cost gold, but it is necessary to obtain research which advances your empire.
During this first portion of the game your main focus should be to create a basic infrastructure with which to support an economy. The focus of your research at this time should be towards expansion (in the seafaring area of research). Once you have the expansion research completed you will be able to create new towns by building and upgrading a palace in your capital (your first town). The next section will be dedicated to the general ideas behind expansion.
Where do I expand to?
This is a common question. Assuming you have expansion researched, and you have built a palace, you have the option of placing a new colony. Where you place it will shape your growth in the game, and help or hinder you depending on your playing style. There are a number of things to take into consideration.
Mines and mills. When you move onto an island you inherit some of the work done by previous or current residents to improve the mines and mills. The bigger the mines and mills the better, as they allow you to mine more resources which can be spent on buildings, upgrades, research or sold for gold.
Miracles. These allow towns on an island to invoke a special power if they decide to build temples which can help (especially in times of war). It will not be profitable to use the miracles on an island if your island mates are not helping, so if you want a miracle you should ask players if they are using it before joining them, or you should try and find a deserted island (not as hard as you might think in some places).
Island mates. When moving onto a new island you have much to consider with your new island mates. If you all get on well, then great, if not, it could be painful. Attacking each other over land is easy, so you need to get on well with island mates.
Location. Close to your other towns will make it easy to ship goods, and defend each other. Being further away will open up more opportunities for trade, and attacking other players. What type of player do you think you are, and what will work well for the type of game you like to play?
Resources. There are five resources in the game: building material, marble, wine, crystal glass and sulfur. Building material (wood) can be harvested from all islands, and as such is often considered the least valuable commodity. Building material (as the name suggests) is required in the building of all buildings. Marble is required for almost all buildings (not for the academy) and is only available on marble islands. This is often considered the most valuable commodity, and most people have more marble islands than any other resource. Wine is used for keeping your citizens happy, when it is served in the tavern. If you have enough town hall space this will cause your population to grow (making you more money). It is also needed for Palace and Governors Residence upgrades. This resource is vital to all empires, so is usually a popular island choice. Crystal glass is used for upgrading academies, buying spies, buying research (with experiments), buying some military units, upgrading military units and upgrading Palaces and Governors Residences. Crystal is valued highly by players who specialize in research, but is not prized by most players as they reach the latter stages of the game. Sulfur is arguably the least valuable resource, being used only for building military units, and upgrading Palaces and Governors Residences.
The main resource strategies are laid out below with some pros and cons:
- All on different islands, spread out towns.
Pro: Great for trade, and finding players to attack, easy to leach
Con: Shipping times are slow, donating to the mines is difficult (only 1 town per island), defending towns is difficult
Overall: A good choice for the very active pillager/trader
- Pick 1 island and plant all towns on that island.
Pro: great for defense, donations
Con: Poor trade links, few reachable military targets, need to trade for everything else
Overall: If it’s a marble island, this might be worth it as long as you are able to trade for wine, crystal and sulfur, and if you plan to donate
- Pick 4 good islands (one of each type) spread a little apart, and stick to only these 4 islands
Pro: balanced resource production, fairly good defense, good for donations
Con: Not as many trade links or military targets
Overall: A good middle ground for the average player
If you decide to spread out your towns (between different resources), players often ask which resource they should expand to. As a general guide consider the following. If you are constantly running low on one resource consider expanding to an island that has that resource (but beware of changes in your consumption). Getting one of each of the four resources is a solid way to start out, and often recommended. One wine town should be able to supply 3-4 non wine towns and leave you with enough wine left over for GR building. One sulfur colony is enough for all but the most active warriors. One crystal colony is enough early on for research needs, only consider the second if you are interested in futures researches (we will come back to this).
There are variations between these strategies that are employed by some players (e.g. only 2 islands, marble and wine) and the benefits are somewhere between the two closest strategies listed above. There are large players that have done well with ALL of the strategies above, so consider your preferred player style, and your game environment (how busy is your server? how aggressive?) before making a decision.
Setting up those towns, a building guide
Intermediate play, planning for the end game
You currently have a level 7 Palace, and 7 corruption free colonies (8 towns total). To get a level 8 palace, for one more colony, requires 350k wood, and to hold that you need 2 warehouses. The level 9 palace needs three warehouses, and the level 10 palace needs 5 warehouses. As well as knowing how many warehouses you will need, you should consider how many of them you plan to keep, and how many of them you will pull straight down after building the palace or GR in that town. Clearly this differs by player, but it is common to keep two warehouses if you need 3 for the upgrade, or keep 2-3 if you need 5 for the upgrade. Clearly you should plan to put more resources into upgrading warehouses that you plan to keep, rather than warehouses you plan to tear down.
Clearly to build any of these upgrades you will need more warehouses, and for that you will need to knock down buildings. The question is which ones. This obviously varies from player to player, but here are some things to consider. This is all assuming that you have not specialized and overinvested in one building massively. Clearly you should not do this unless you are certain that you will never need to demolish the building.
(1) Research. By this time you will have finished all of the basic researches, and be onto futures. The question is do you intend to continue researching futures? Some players do, and some don’t, to a large degree this is personal preference. If you do not want to continue with research pulling down your academies will make an easy space for a warehouse. You can tear down the workshop by this point also if you have completed all the upgrades it provides.
(2) “Optional” buildings. There are buildings like resource boosters, trade posts, barracks that can be demolished temporarily (and hopefully cheaply) in order to make space for a warehouse. The question is, are you willing to lose any of these buildings on a permanent basis? Do you plan to knock down the warehouse later and rebuild them?
(3) “Compulsory” buildings. Many players consider tearing down taverns and spy huts in order to accomplish their Palace building ambitions. While this is possible as a last resort, it is generally not the best way to proceed in a town with balanced building levels as the reduction in population, and spy defense can both be potentially very expensive in their own ways. If you prefer to get your level 10 Palace with 6 smaller warehouses (rather than 5 bigger warehouses) you will likely need to think about demolishing one of these buildings.
(4) Architect. This may be torn down if you are a player who is operating with a glut of marble, but most players are short of marble, so tearing down this building just makes any upgrades slower and more painful for most.
Also, at this point in the game, you should consider whether using helping hands in the mines and mills is a good investment for your empire. If you have no resource boosters then helping hands will cost you 12 gold pieces to mine 1 unit of resources. This could conceivably drop to 7 gold per unit with a high enough resource booster in that town. You should consider using helping hands if you can afford the income loss, and if you are unable to obtain resources at that price (or lower) in the market. If you can obtain goods in the market for less, you should probably not be using helping hands. So essentially this depends on each player assessing their own income, trading opportunities, and need for resources.