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Thunderbolt: Ikariam Preview

Thunderbolt writes: "Ikariam isn't the type of game that we usually cover here at Thunderbolt. Not only because you probably aren't sure how to pronounce the title, but because it's a free, browser-based game. It's not too often that a browser game attracts my attention, and with how crowded the videogame market is these days, it's easy for games like this to slip past my radar. However, Ikariam offers much of the compelling gameplay found in games like Civilization and Age of Empires, so it's in your best interest as a strategy fan to pay attention.

Developed by Gameforge, Ikariam is a city-building game that plays out in an ancient Mediterranean island chain. Sporting colorful, vibrant graphics, Ikariam thrusts you into a persistent online world that's always running, whether you're playing or not. After you sign up, you're given control of an island of your own. The island has two resources on it that you can control to build your empire. But here's the catch: there are five total resources that you need to build a truly impressive island nation, you'll need to deal with your other players. That can be through simply trading resources with a few neighbors and building a friendly economic alliance, or you can build up a powerful military and take those resources for good."

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