So you've been playing Ikariam for some time now. You've progressed nicely up until this point, but maybe finding the long build times boring and the increased costs prohibitive?
This guide introduces ideas to help you enjoy playing Ikariam as much as you did in those first weeks. There is always plenty to do.
Where to go next
- Upgrade your Hideouts to Level 32 (Hard cap) to be able to spy on enemy towns more easily.
- Expand your towns to Level 30 or more for greater gold production.
- Make sure that you are making over 5,000 gold per hour and it should be slowly increasing, therefore if you get involved in a war then you will have spare gold to make troops.
- Buy 180 Cargo Ships, you can have more than 180 if you have friends, but you can only purchase 180.
- One use of action points is to raid in-actives (they should be raided so that their resources are not wasted). Huge returns from in-actives, sometimes tens of thousands of resources, for no cost after their remaining defense has been destroyed.
- Then there's trading. What sizes are your trading posts? If they are big enough (such as level 15), you can see far enough to pick the bargains for resale at a profit.
- After building a dump, you should have no troubles reaching the 10th town and your aim now should be to create a 11th one. Make it a challenge to get there and upgrade your Governor's Residence at vast expense. The benefits of an extra town become clear when you can field a much larger army than your opponent, who has less towns than you.
- What about forming an Alliance Island? Find an empty one and get members to populate it.
- Try to get in the top 500 on the high scores
- Have fun causing market fluctuations by manipulating prices.
- Break the soft caps on your walls and Town Halls.
- Research the "Future" researches to Level 3 or more.
Conflicts in ikariam are fun but they can be time-consuming. Don't enter into one unless you're sure you'll have regular access to ikariam all hours of the day. Alliance wars are becoming rare between strong alliances, with large coalitions formed of many alliances in order to keep the peace. Yet when they do occur they can be vicious and the ultimate test of your empire's strength and your own tactical and strategic abilities. What can be equally fun though is to fight a single player, of equal or greater size to you, on your own. This may require an agreement with the other player that neither of you will bring in allies to help, as 1vs1 can quickly become 1vs10 if things go badly. Finally what many advanced players do is to help other players, either as a paid mercenary or altruistically. This has the benefit of keeping you busy as well as benefiting either your treasury or your conscience, depending on whether or not you demanded payment.
There are two major limiting factors in Ikariam wars; population, distance and gold. Since each of your citizens produces 3 gold when not being used as a scientist or worker they are the basic means of funding your army. Higher population means that you can have larger armies, therefore you want as many towns as possible, each with high leveled town hall. If a player runs out of gold to fuel their army then the opposition can immediately capitalize. However by selling resources on the market you can top-up your gold supplies and run an army at a deficit. Distance is an important factor because if it will take your troops 8 hours to arrive at their destination there may be a very large army waiting for them. Here proxy colonies or occupied towns become a vital strategy for any serious general, as using these as a launch point for your armies means that they are only 15 minutes away from any town on that island.
During a war it is important to remain polite in messages, and to try and consider the implications of your actions. Occupying a small player to use his town as a springing point for your attacks may seem harmless, but his alliance may think otherwise and attack you in return. Likewise a player may have annoyed you by winning a battle, but they may be a nice and friendly person who, in other circumstances, you could be friends with - best not to alienate them.
Now that the maximum that you can sell a single resource piece is 15 it limits the profit that can be made from the trading post, yet there is still vast amounts of gold to be made. Spend some time understanding your local market; which resource is the cheapest, which is the most expensive and which do you want to change. Once you have an aim you need to (for a while), buy all of those resources on the market and then set your price, (make sure there is a lot of the resource for offer and that the offer is quite competative.
For example: Your starter town has always been on a crystal island, and has always been too cheap to sell, so money has been a problem for you. Next to that you have one colony, on a resource of your liking (lets say marble!).
You want to start selling crystal for a normal price but there are always several players offering large amounts for low prices (5 to 7 per piece for example) so you're looking for a way to make a profit. Put as much crystal on the market you possibly can for a high price (13-15 for example), and keep it up there for as long as it takes (in my experience a week or two).
If the prices seem to go straight back down again, you do something that at the time looses loads of gold but in the future will pay off. You buy out the opposition. Use little trading ships to transport goods between towns for a week or two to give you enough trading ships to buy all of the other players goods. While this is happening upgrade your trade post and put a huge offer on the market (over 100,000) at 15 gold per piece. Then put another offer of about 25,000-50,000 at a price of 9-10 gold per piece, suddenly the latter offer becomes a bargin and will soon be bought, and when it is, your huge, expensive offer is the only one on the markey. Sure, you soon be underpriced, but you have taken the price of that resource from 7 to 13.
Remember to have a higher warehouse in your town than other players, and make sure you can sell amounts of a resource that greatly exceed that of other players in your area, for example: most players sell 1,200 of one resource in your area, then you upgrade your trading post (and warehouse so you can keep the resource on the trading post without worrying about room in your own stock) until you can sell 3 to 5 times as much, and actually put it up there.
After about a month or so, players will undo your work by underpricing the best offer before them. In my opinion, unless you just have to shift around 5000 of a single resource, then don't bother doing much trading in this transition time, only small profits are made and by taking the price down you will normally annoy somebody and might find yourself getting pillaged. The offers will enventually fall back down to around 7-5 gold per piece. Let it stay there for a week or so, as this is a time where the buyer is the maker of gold. Small players will enjoy the competition but for those who use it as a way to make gold then it is an annoyance. Then simpily repeat the process. Sometimes you'll even get a price that stays high, but as new traders come into the market eager to make a profit it becomes impossible. Just keep repeating the process.
It should be noted, however, that "trade post or gold pushing" is not universal. Some communities (specifically the en community servers) ban for gold pushing, others (like the us community servers) do not. It is always better to read the game rules and their clarifications in your specific community.
The pillaging of other player's towns to loot their resources. Fun and profitable, and quite likely to get you into trouble if you do it a lot - therefore if you're bored and want a fight, pillage everyone you can in your area and don't stop when they ask you to!
If however you just want to gain resources quickly, there are some important steps you should take. Firstly, upgrade your hideouts to level 32. This way you should be able to successfully spy most targets, finding those with high resources and low military, preferably not involved in any alliance. Secondly build a very strong army; though strategies differ, most players agree that having enough siege units to fully breach your opponent's wall is a vital component of any army. Thirdly, either establish a colony on the island that you wish to pillage or occupy a small town there. This means that your enemy has only 15 minutes warning of your attack, and is therefore unlikely to be able to send reinforcements to his town. Speed is of the essence in piracy; move quickly, attack quickly and retreat quickly before anyone can take retribution. Such piracy is both incredibly profitable and intense fun.
Note: For maximum profitability you should have the full complement of 180 Cargo Ships to pillage a full 90,000 goods each time. Some players also choose to leave behind enough trade ships when pillaging to evacuate their army if necessary, a strategy well worth following in many cases.