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Ikariam

Beginner's Guide

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Introduction Edit

Welcome to Ikariam! This game can be a bit addictive as events happen in real time, and there's nothing to download. Ikariam allows you to: make alliances, build cities, expand your territory, and make great armies. With enough time and resources, your city will become the heart of an empire. Ikariam has some whisperings of games like Civilization, without the addition of years or decades. You follow your own technology tree in the same time scheme as the rest of the world. When you begin, you'll start with your own capital on an island that can hold up to 17 cities. The island has wood, a miracle, and one of the four luxury resources (Wine, Crystal Glass, Marble and Sulphur).

Your first view of Ikariam after logging in will be of your town, including a Town hall in the middle of a land populated by parcels with red and blue flags. As you play, it will become a flourishing city with hundreds of citizens, diverse units and ships, and many interesting buildings through researching fascinating technologies.


Game Rules, Terms and Conditions Edit

When you register into the game, you must click on the box to agree to the Terms and Conditions. Also, each time you log on to the game, by logging in, you accept the Terms and Conditions. The general Terms and Conditions of Gameforge stand above the Ikariam Game rules. Please spend some time and read these in order to avoid getting banned. Many new players get banned due to not reading the rules.

Resources Edit

As you play the game you will encounter a number of resources. These resources are needed to advance your civilization. There are five resources:

Wood is your standard resource; it is used for building and upgrading buildings, creating ships and training units. The other four are luxury resources, which can only be gathered after you have researched Wealth in the  Economy -research-tree. Luxury resources are used at advanced levels of constructing buildings and training superior units.


Getting access to luxury resources Edit

You may notice that there is only one of the four luxury resources on the island of your Capital. In order to gain access to other three luxury resources you have to do one of the following:

  • Build a Trading Post and trade the other luxury goods. The higher the level of the Trading Post the farther its trading radius. However, this building will consume your resources just to upgrade it. The goods being sold at the Trading Post tend to be overpriced. The worst case scenario is that your trading radius is too low to capture the trade of players selling a particular good that you need.
  • Directly trade (barter) goods with other players or alliance members. You will have to send a message to the player(s) you want to trade with. Bartering this way is usually less expensive than trading in a Trading Post. However, there is a risk that you send goods and receive nothing in return.
  • Pillage other cities that you think (or your spy there told you) that their warehouses bristle with resources.
  • Colonize other islands to gain access to the rest of luxury resources. With access to other resources, you don’t have to worry about overpricing or broken deals. Therefore, colonization is the most viable and long term solution to obtain other luxury resources.


Island strategies by luxury good Edit

  • Marble small Marble – You can upgrade all your buildings far more quickly than individuals with other resources, except for the Academy. Make friends with someone on an island with a Crystal Mine and offer to trade for your marble or make friends with everyone so no one will pillage you.
  • Wine Wine small – Your greatest strength will be population growth, when you can research Wine Culture and build a Tavern. Until then, simply sell it to other towns.
  • Crystal small Crystal GlassResearch is your greatest strength. Try to get your Academy up to 6 as soon as possible. Most people will want to trade for crystal glass so offer them 1:1 for resources you need, like marble or sulphur. Sulphur tends to be harder to get.
  • Sulphur small Sulphur / Sulfur – This luxury resource allows you to follow the path of war more than any other. You can produce more units than anyone else, so pillaging will be what you are most likely to gain from, unless you feel like trading your sulphur for the resources of others (which is usually a far wiser option when starting out because everyone else is likely bigger than you).


Buildings Edit

Buildings play a major role in the growth of your towns. They can build units and ships, house scientists, defend against attacks, or entertain your citizens. The first buildings you encounter are: Town Hall, Academy, Barracks, Town Wall and Trading Port.

  • Your Town Hall is your main structure – it shows how happy/sad your people are, your housing capacity (which you increase by upgrading the town hall), your income/costs, and the distribution of citizens, workers, and scientists. It also allows you to change your town name.
  • The Academy houses scientists who work on discovering new technologies for your empire.
  • The Barracks allows you to create Units for both defending your towns and attacking others.
  • The Town Wall offers a basic protection to your town from being attacked. It has its own statistics like the other Units.
  • The Trading Port gives you the ability to build your own fleet of Cargo Ships, which are vital for trade, raiding, and colonization.


Researches Edit

Research through technology is the main way to advance your civilization. There are four main streams of technology:  Military ,  Economy ,  Science , and  Seafaring . Assign citizens to the Academy to start producing research points and invest them in researches.

  • Well Digging should be one of your first researches. It grants you a morale bonus and a bonus to your population cap, very important to a beginning town.
  • Conservation is also an important first research as it allows you to build a Warehouse, which will protect some of your resources from being pillaged should someone decide to pillage you.

When you get access to grapes and wine, you may build a Tavern, which can tremendously boost your town's morale, providing more people to work.

Don't bother researching Paper for its own sake; it's a trap! Although that 2% extra research per hour is tasty, it is only useful once you have a level four or five academy. Paper is needed for other useful technologies, however, such as Espionage or Cultural Exchange.

Recommended research path Edit

A good and advisable research path at the beginning of your game would be:

These are the basic researches you should obtain in the beginning. Other researches you should aim for are Cultural Exchange, to further boost your town happiness by building a museum, and Helping Hands, to increase production.

Remember to constantly upgrade your academy as your population increases. When you are not able to do so, due to a lack of Crystal small, wait until you finish researching wealth as this will allow you to trade with other players.

Beginner's steps Edit

Now that we have the basics, let's put this all together. The following are the recommended first steps. Don't forget to review the Ikariam User Interface section if you need to get familiar with what you're seeing.


  1. Rename your town.
    The rename link is located at the top of the Town Hall screen.
  2. Build an Academy.
    Once your town reaches higher levels, the academy will look best on the furthest left or right plots of land.
  3. Send citizens to the Saw Mill.
    1. Click on the Show Island button at the top of the screen.
    2. Find the icon of a pile of wood. When you move the mouse pointer over this icon, it will show "Forest x" (where x is the Saw Mill's level).
    3. Click on the pile of wood to access the Saw Mill screen.
    4. Set your wood production to 30 by moving the sliding bar to the right. Remember: Workers in Ikariam produce resources in real time (i.e. if you are making 30 units of wood an hour, you will gain an additional unit of wood every two minutes).
  4. Send citizens to the Academy.
    1. Click on the Show Town button at the top of the screen. Once construction on the academy has completed, click on the Academy.
    2. Convert eight citizens to scientists by moving the sliding bar to the right. Note: your income may now show as negative because you do not have enough citizens producing general wealth, i.e. gold. This is not a problem because your capital starts with lots of gold. Gradually, as the size of your town increases and more citizens arrive, you will once again be profitable. Do not be afraid of spending gold in the beginning.
  5. Research Well Digging.
    1. Wait until 24 research points have been produced, then click to the "Research" button next to Well Digging. Well Digging grants permanent +50 bonuses to your maximum town population and happiness rating.
  6. Build the Barracks and the Trading Port.
    These buildings will give you access to ground units for an army and cargo ships for trading, respectively.
    The Trading Port can be built by clicking on either of the plots with a blue flag while the Barracks can be built on any plot with a red flag.
    As your town grows, the Barracks looks best directly above Town Hall.
    Note: Only one building can be constructed or upgraded at a time.
  7. Upgrade the Town hall.
    1. Click on the Town hall icon.
    2. Click on the Upgrade button.
      Each expansion of the Town hall increases the town's maximum possible population. A few expansions also increase the number of action points the town contains.
  8. Switch to researching the  Economy  disciplines.
    1. You will finish researching Well Construction after approximately three hours.
      If you upgraded the Academy to level 3 (instead of building the Barracks and Trading Port) and kept as many scientists as possible, you will have discovered Well Construction in one hour.
      Notice that your population growth rate jump by one person (e.g. from 2.85 people an hour to 3.85 an hour).
    2. Research Conservation, Pulley, and Wealth with the additional citizens Well Construction allows.
  9. Upgrade the Saw Mill.
    If your Saw Mill is not at level 2 by the fifth hour on your island.
    1. Donate wood to get it there.
    2. Hopefully most players on the island have donated a little bit.
      1. If not, muster the resources to donate the rest of the required 350 units of wood.
        The 10 extra lumber is worth it in the long run.
  10. Continue researching and upgrading buildings.
    Research Wine Culture, while upgrading your Academy and Town hall as much as you can to increase your maximum scientist and population limits.
  11. Build a Town wall and a Warehouse.
    The wall is built on the northern plot of land with the yellow flag.
    Stronger players look for weak villages they can attack and loot.
    The wall will grant a bonus to your army's defense.
    If you lose the battle, your Warehouse protects some of your resources from being looted.
    The Warehouse can be built on any plot with the red flag after you have researched Conservation.
    If you are attacked repeatedly, continue upgrading the Warehouse until it protects all of your resources.
    In order to build a Warehouse you will need to have researched Conservation.

The rest is up to you. Remember to check the reports from your Advisers status updates and messages from other players.

Cost of goods Edit

People can, and should, sell what they have for whatever the market will bear. However, the production cost in gold of any given resource can be seen on the list below.

Gold small from not having one citizen earn Gold small per hour.

Gold small from not having one citizen earn Gold small per hour, plus an additional Gold small cost for the actual scientist.

Gold small from not having one citizen earn Gold small per hour, plus an additional Gold small cost for the actual scientist.

These values do not take into account the relatively fixed and/or shared costs of the Saw mill, Luxury Good, Town hall or Academy expansions, needed to bring in more people or resources, nor the corruption level (because this is a Beginner's Guide).

Prevent being pillaged Edit

Some basic steps in order to prevent being pillaged are the following:

  • First, recruit sufficient military units so that you are able to protect your city and frighten the enemy.
  • Build high level Hideouts in every town. This not only gives you spies but the Hideout also enables a counterstrike against enemy spies.
  • Build a minimum of 2 Warehouses per town, of level equal or higher to 12.
  • Ensure you have enough war ships to defend your harbor.
  • Also, keep track of the occupations on your islands and, if it's possible, try to free the occupied city.


Donating Edit

If you are attacked by a player of the same island as yours, it is possible that you are not donating to the luxury good and wood deposits common to all players of the island. When this happens, it is common for the attacker to first send a message warning you if you are Leeching and not donating.

Everyone benefits when everyone donates. Do not rely on a benefactor to do all the grunt work for you. Try to donate something acceptable even early on. While what defines equitable donation is relative; making an effort relative to people who aren't, you'll be less likely to get pillaged. If your town is level 4 or higher, have full complement of workers at both luxury and wood, and have donated nothing, you should expect to be pillaged. The more you donate the less you get pillaged.

You should certainly be able to donate 200 Wood small to both sawmill and luxury as soon as you colonize. The first thing that requires any large resources is your Palace, and even though that takes some resources, you have the ability to replenish the usage by transport or by obtaining resources in the time it takes the Palace to finish. In fact, you will likely be gathering resources at a rate faster than you can spend on a new capital or colony – take this time to give it back in donations. Every time you get over 2,000 Wood small, split it 1,000 Wood small apiece between luxury and sawmill. In time, you'll be seeing over 100 Wood small per hour, and that will be enough for most building purposes.

Hoarding resources makes you a target. Donate Wood small, and sell extra luxuries in the Trading Post or upgrade (or build a second) Warehouse. Remember that a transport holds 500 units, so reasonably priced luxuries shipped in multiples of 500 often sell fastest.

Adhere to market rates Edit

This is a controversial issue. Some players get uptight when they feel, rightly or wrongly, that you are selling at a price that undercuts their established rates of goods. Most players will sell and buy whatever they can afford. It would be good practice to announce first why the attack, but sometimes it takes a little prodding from the victim to determine why. In the mean time, keep your warehouse high. The idea of blockading a town before selling resources is a bad idea unless you know what you're doing. (eg, after blockading the port, selling resources, which causes the goods to be shipped back to you.)

Building deterrents Edit

One of the basic necessities of the game is your army. You can be a trader or a pillager, but you still need this army to defend your town. A large army will automatically deter most players, and if you are attacked, your army will hopefully lead you to victory. Hoplites and Steam Giants are a good front line defense. However, it is also best to have all other types of unit in the right quantities (see Land Battles for space information). Using the army to attack several players from the same alliance may end up leading to the alliance's higher players ganging up on you. In the event a player gets spies in, high level walls will cause high casualties to the attackers army, and thus may cause the enemy to back off.

Naval defense Edit

It is also important to have some ships on your town. Your fleet does not need to be powerful, but because no one can pillage you as long as you have at least one ship, this can easily discourage some potential pillagers. Note that you are not using your fleet to defend, you are making yourself a less attractive target.

With the introduction of Occupation a strong fleet has become almost obsolete as a defense against pillagers. However it is still strongly recommended that you maintain 1 ship in each harbor to discourage pillagers who either do not know about occupation or are unwilling to go to the trouble.

Espionage Edit

While it is vital to have a martial defense of your towns, it can be more strategically important to have a defense against spying. Using spies, both in defense and offense, can mean the difference between having someone discover the details of your city – including how much in resources you have, what troops you have, and what level your port, wall, and warehouse are at – and having someone completely blind and unable to tell whether you're worth attacking to begin with, or if they can successfully defeat your troops.

Once you research Espionage you can build the Hideout which allows you to create one spy for each level of the hideout. The hideout's level and the number of spies residing in your town increase the risk of enemy spies getting caught. Your town level lowers the chances of catching an enemy spy, and so the Hideout should be upgraded with the town regularly.

Each mission has a base risk, and to prevent this risk from being lower than it normally would from your town levels effect which lowers the risk, you should have at least half your town's level in spies, defending. Spies, as long as they are in your town, automatically defend against espionage. Having more spies than half the town's level increases the chances of catching enemy spies and preventing information from getting out. Also, a caught spy may sometimes reveal information not only about who sent the spy, but also info on the spy's home town. 5% is the lowest risk possible in a spy mission, but 95% is the highest risk possible in a spy mission.

Vacation mode Edit

If you are going to be absent for a couple of days (at least 48 hours), consider activating Vacation Mode: this will completely protect your city against any attack, but you will not produce resources nor research. You can activate vacation mode anytime. Fleets and armies that are on their way to your or another player's city will complete their current missions. However, new missions cannot be started. Stationed troops and armies (ie. a players' fleets in general) that are currently on their way somewhere are scattered. Building jobs are stopped when you enter vacation mode and are continued again once you have logged back into the game. You can only stay in vacation mode for thirty days, then your account becomes inactive and the rate of how long it takes before you are deleted is applied.

Godly protection (New player protection) Edit

Protection from attacks by others, for every new player who hasn't initiated an attack on others (you are free to attack the Barbarian Village), with a Capital below Level 5 (or below Level 7 if you have a Premium Account) and have no other colonies.

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