This guide provides tips, that will help you to progress rapidly in the game. It takes into account all attacks, defense mechanisms and the new features introduced in the latest patches.
Choosing the right server
When you create an account, select the right server. If you choose a very old server, you may be an easy target for many players and/or you won't find available islands to build your towns as most of the good islands will be full. If you choose a very new server, it will take months to build your towns because the islands' levels of production will be very low.
Also, if your language group has one, you may be interested in a Speed Server! It requires fast actions and spending lots of time per day to keep alive!
Choose a server that is neither the oldest, nor the newest. Choose the server that has the most persons you know on Ikariam.
Choosing the right island
If you start on:
- an island without
- an island with low resource levels (Saw mill, etc.)
- an island far from your friends' / planned alliance islands,
then the first step is to prepare to move away. Build an Academy and upgrade it to Level 4 (requiring no ), then build Warehouses and research Expansion (Seafaring). Once you have researched Expansion and have bought 3 Cargo Ships, build a Palace. After the Palace is complete, create a colony where you want, build a Governor's Residence there, then nominate that town as your Capital and abandon your 1st town. You will lose some time in the process, but you will be near your friends and you will be able to help them or they will be able to help you easily.
- Opinion 1 - Some people like collecting goods in all their towns and they create armies in each town to protect them. No wonder they stay at 100k points or less after 1 year in the game. If you have 6 towns and each town has 300 army units to protect itself, you will soon be out of . It is better to collect 1,000 army units in one town and store almost all your goods there. Just transfer the goods from all your towns to a central one once per day (preferably at night so you don't waste your Cargo Ships). As your whole army is present in one town, few enemies will want to attack you there, especially if they can't spy on the the city because it's protected by a high level Hideout.
- As for the other towns, don't panic if somebody attacks them. Just leave a ship so one has to blockade your port to attack, and then leave it. Who cares if an attacker takes 500 - 1,000 ? Simply transfer goods each night to your main town and that limits your risk.
- Do not hire expensive armies to work where you do not need them.
- Opinion 2 - Many quick growing players do not follow the above advice. They spread out their army, to protect all of their towns. Every town pillages for all resources. They have minimal transport between the towns because it is a waste of time. It's best to pillage from that town for the resources you need. Therefore, you will always have a large amount of resources in each town, and you will need your forces spread out.
Plan to create as many colonies as possible
The theory is simple. To feed a bigger army, you need more gold. To collect more gold, you need more citizens. Imagine having 6 cities with a level 25 town hall, and imagine having 8 cities with a level 25 town hall. Instead of building bigger armies, try to get to 10 towns, for which 1 Carpenter (Level 32) , 1 warehouse and 1 dump are needed. You'll be glad if you get yourself troubled in a war, for with more towns you can feed a bigger army.
For this to succeed, you must have time available, and particularly:
- Very high (>18) island resources
- A strong alliance. If you belong in a small alliance, perhaps it is time to move on.
- Availability of items. You need lots of goods to build the Palace / Governor's Residences.
Final advice: When you're collecting items to upgrade a palace, keep your entire army there.
If you can, build a new town. Sticking to 5 or 6 cities just because you think it's enough is not good. Aim to create your 10th and 11th town, or even the 12th one, with the aid of the new building Dump and the Ikariam Plus features.
Choose your islands based on availability
Generally, marble is the best bet because everybody needs it, and at the map overview you clearly see that almost all marble islands are full (16/16) and the islands close to them (wine, sulfur and crystal) are not. You usually need many marble towns. However, whether or not you colonise on sulfur or crystal islands depends on the availability in the area. For example, if sulfur is sold at 3 or 4 gold pieces/piece in your area, then why build a sulfur town? By contrast, if you're in a war or in an area where sulfur is expensive, a sulfur island is surely valuable and it's worth colonizing on a sulfur island.
Also, think of the distance between your islands. If too large a distance you will waste time transferring goods (and you will be in real misery when you want to transfer 300k goods for a new palace). If your islands are too close your trading posts will overlap, and your contact with your friends/alliance will be limited.
Choose the best islands to colonise. If the island you want is unavailable (e.g. it's full), wait a few days. Don't choose an inferior island to create a colony faster.
When starting a new colony
Otherwise, you'll have corruption and corruption is so bad (even at low levels) that it will render your cities useless, mostly because happiness decreases significantly and you will need more to keep your citizens happy, while producing fewer goods. You should plan to create as many colonies as possible, but do not forget thet each colony requires a lot of preparation before establishment.
First upgrade your Governor's Residences in all your existing towns, as well as the Palace in your Capital, and then start a new colony. Otherwise, you will get yourself in trouble by having corruption.
Upgrade your Hideouts to Level 32.
If your hideouts are too low, anyone looking around for targets may find out:
In other words, you will be an easy target for anyone. By contrast, a hideout on level 25 needs not very much wood or marble to build and ensures that no one will be able to spy on your cities - so if someone wants to attack you, they will do so without information and believe me, most won't risk losing a battle for the chance of collecting just 75 goods in a blind attack.
The same applies for each new colony you build. First upgrade the Hideout to a high level so no one can spy on the new colony, then start sending goods for the Governor's Residence.
Upgrade your Hideouts at no risk as soon as possible, especially when preparing for a new colony.
Upgrade your Trading ports to Level 15 or more.
You may think "oh it's all right, I will just wait for a few minutes more, so what?". Well not when you are attacked. If you know that you will lose the battle, you don't want the enemy to get much from you. Having your ports on a high level allows you to transfer your goods rapidly, which is especially useful when you are attacked, or when you transport a large number of items for e.g. palace construction. How many goods one can pillage from your city does not depend on your port level, so leveling the port up does not mean that an enemy can pillage more goods from your city.
Just because you don't create lot of units does not mean that your Barracks level should be low. If you are attacked and your units are destroyed, you will want to be able to recover as soon as possible. Create a Barracks building in all your towns if possible, and upgrade it to Level 15 or higher. In an emergency, you will then be able to rapidly create units.
Buildings that increase resource production
These buildings (Forester's House and Alchemist's Towers / Glassblowers / Stonemasons / Winegrowers) will increase your production. Up to Level 10 their cost is not much to build and they will raise your production by 20%. Do not keep a town without them.
Make good use of your resources.
Carpenters and Wine Presses
A Level 32 Carpenter saves you both wood and also limits the need for Warehouse expansions. For example, building a Level 8 Palace needs almost 560,000 (after you have researched Spirit Level) and 3 * Level 25 Warehouses. However, with the Carpenter, you only need 2 * Level 24 Warehouses. So instead of building a 3rd warehouse, build a Carpenter that not only saves the for the Palace, but for every future building.
- Architect's Offices can save you a lot of in the later stages of the game, when every building requires great amounts of it. is considered to be the most valuable resource, so the earlier you build an Architect's Office the more it is worth it.
- Firework Test Areas can save you a lot of valuable when you will be in long wars and you will need a lot of to rebuild your lost troops and ships. Consequently, as soon as you reach a certain stage of development, build Firework Test Areas in each of your towns where you produce military and navy.
- Opticians are a good investment once you hit the later game, because you will need huge amounts of for Experiments, in order to buy . Be sure to build one in the towns where you will conduct Experiments.
Some buildings will not save you much at the start of the game. However, they may be useful in the later stages of Ikariam.
The Workshop(s) are not needed after you've completed all upgrades.
All Unit and Ship upgrades can be made with one single Level 28 Workshop, so there is no reason to upgrade it past that level. Also, after you have completed all upgrades, the Workshop is useless. Save space for more crucial buildings; if needed, rebuild it elsewhere.
In general, don't keep buildings you don't need.
Mandatory and optional buildings
- Palace / Governor's Residence
- One of Alchemist's Tower / Glassblower / Stonemason / Winegrower
- One or more Warehouses
Failure to build the above in a city will render it vulnerable to bad things (e.g. corruption, attack, low production, low satisfaction etc.)
The following buildings are not required in every city, but most of them should have them. Build as many as possible of these in your empire:
Also, you should build:
- Wine Presses in towns not producing
- Opticians in towns where you conduct Experiments
- Firework Test Areas in towns where you produce units and ships
Finally, you only need one of these:
If you still have free space after building all these buildings in your towns, then consider building Architect's Offices. Moreover, if you cannot produce a lot of marble, then building Architect's Offices is mandatory, especially in towns not producing .
Make good use of the limited building spaces.
Keep an eye on your gold production.
When attacked, if your army is destroyed and you're out of gold, the best strategy is to stop producing goods and to wait until you have collected some cash. Meanwhile you won't fear more attacks because you'll have no goods, and gold can't be pillaged. Eventually your attackers will abandon you and then you will have time and gold to buy wood/sulfur and to build the units you need.
Rich players are more powerful than poor players. Your gold will be of great value when you reach 180 Cargo Ships
Do not use Helping Hands unless in desperation.
Adding extra people to the Saw mill or other luxury item mine, is the same like buying that item for 12 ( 4 * 3 ) . Therefore, you should not use that feature unless you are 100 items short of required for a building and you want to get them rapidly. However, if you have a building that increases production at level 13 or greater, you may find Helping Hands quite useful by looking at total workers and total production.
Make good use of your gold and your Trading post.
Inactive players provide a great source of goods at no cost
Once a player becomes inactive, it is possible that they won't be joining the game again. Watch around for players and attack them as soon as they become inactive (because at that point it is likely that they will have the greatest number of goods to pillage).
Make sure you get the most you can before others. Attack quickly and preferably not at high-load server times.
Suppose you spy on an enemy and you find out they have a lot of goods to be pillaged. Is it safe and cheap to pillage them? Can you instead trade for the goods? Can you ask a higher player for a donation? Do you really want to attack? These are all questions to ask yourself before commiting the attack.
- Attacking costs twice the upkeep.
- Attacking requires lots of time, particularly if the target has a big Town wall. At 15 minutes a round plus travel time you can easily expect an attack to take a few hours.
- You may lose some or all your units in the battle, meaning you will need to rebuild them! This also takes a lot of time and leaves you defenseless in the mean time.
- If you lose the battle, either because the opponent army dominates, or due to morale issues, all of your remaining units and Cargo Ships will be scattered for 4 hours plus travel time!
- You may pillage less than you thought, or even nothing, because the enemy may remove the goods, or get pillaged by someone else that gets there first, or use the goods for building, or donate them to the Saw mill and Miracle, or exchange them with the aid of the Premium Trader!
- You'll create a new enemy who will surely remember you later on.
- You may make yourself an enemy of the target's alliance members too.
- You need ships to collect the resources. No matter how brilliant the battle is or how much army is destroyed, if you have 180 Cargo Ships you can only collect 90k in goods at most. Is it worth the trouble?
Take into account all possibilities. Think before attacking.
Fewer Military points does not mean weaker
Remember that in Patch 0.3.2 the strategy plays a role, and not the mass hit. So if you attack with 5k points and the defender has 4k points, never just assume that you will win. Remember that the defense is also enhanced by the Town wall and the strategy in Patch 0.3.2 is quite different. However, if enemy has no Military points, it's rather easy to attack enemy as long as you have enough Artillery to break through enemy's Town wall, but the wall may still be stronger than you think.
Remember: Think before attacking!
Do not participate in a battle just to lose your army
If you are attacked by a relatively large army and you have few units to defend with, then you are likely to lose the battle. Instead of waiting for the inevitable loss of your army, move them immediately into a city on the same island. The movement begins immediately, no ships are reserved and you have kept your army for further assistance. If you lose the battle, your army dissappears for 4 hours! Can you tolerate that?
Keep your army, when possible.
Carefully planned attacks against a good player must involve an attack to destroy their Town wall. You need to attack some rounds with units like Mortars, Catapults or Rams, which can create gaps in the Town wall. After a few attack rounds you can send your higher units to defeat the enemy's weakened units.
While you're trying to break the Town wall, have in mind that the enemy might take advantage of the extra time to ask for assistance.
Follow the "one-to-one principle" when attacking
If you don't, you can expect to be a big target for the entire enemy alliance.
There is a common rule in all Ikariam servers that if you are attacking a lone player, then you won't be in much trouble. However, if you are planning a massive attack against a player, bear in mind that this is usually a declaration of war. Do not fight against alliances that have many members nearby; you'll be helpless if all of them attack you.
If you are attacked by many players without reason, the best shot is to try to solve the issue by contacting the diplomats. Do not try to attack, for you will be usually helpless against 3 or more attackers. And remember, if you are attacked massively by big players, there is always the forum to complain.
When you are about to declare war, make sure there's a reason. Don't place your alliance's stability in jeopardy just because you want to take revenge. Instead, build more towns than your enemy and prepare your army to defeat him alone.
Plan your revenge with great patience
If you are attacked by a bigger player and your army is destroyed and your goods are pillaged, the first thing to do is to stay calm. If the attacking player has more cities than you, then he will eventually overpower you. Don't take desperate measures to save yourself, instead:
- Do not create any army until you are ready to fight. Otherwise your enemy will constantly win because they will be creating units faster than you.
- Consume the goods you produce almost immediately to build town halls, tavern and barracks. This will increase your gold income and your ability to create units.
- Do not be afraid of repeating attacks. Since there will be nothing to destroy or take, eventually they will get bored.
- When you are ready, build the units you want from all your towns.
- Don't create your army progressively. Collect the required amounts of material and build it in all your towns with one training command. Keep your military score very low so your enemy is sleeping; And after a few days, they will see your military score to raise to sky and trust me - they will retreat.
Patience pays off.
Do not expose your military plans to your alliance
Remember, all your alliance members may not be loyal. Some may be reporting to your enemies.
If you are the leader of an alliance, make it so new members can't see the online status of the members. This prevents a spy to see whether a user is online or not. If you have recently accepted many new members, you might also not allow the new members to view the cities of your members.
Do not talk much!
Take advantage of Occupation
When planning to attack a player who is not near your islands, aim to occupy a weak nearby city on the same island and attack from there. This saves you the time you would need to block the enemy port.
If you attempt to block the enemy port, you will need more time plus the enemy will be aware of your attack. By attacking instead a weak city on the same island (which is not likely to have a many ships defending it), your enemy will only be aware of your attack a few minutes before your army arrives at the target city.
Remember, this feature is also available to your enemies. Beware low-score players on your island, as they may be fake duplicates for an enemy to attack you, bypassing your defensive ships.
Keep an eye on the market
If a resource is selling at over 3 , it's worth it to make full production on that good, even if your towns go into the negative in gold. If you have 200 citizens not working and a cost of 500 upkeep per hour for troops and ships, you will make and additional 100 per hour. If you have 200 collecting a good that is selling at 10 gold each, you will make an additional 1,500 gold per hour. If a good is selling at 10 gold, you can support an army 3 times the size of what you could support with just citizens not collecting any gold.
Do not stick strictly to all the above tips
Remember, this page is made up of recommendations and are not to be considered as things that "you must do or else" type of recommendations!
The true #1 recommendation is this " H a v e F u n !"