I recently found Ogame, a free browser-based massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) of space strategy (4x style). If you’re not familiar (yet) with these types of games basically you just need an internet connection and a browser and you are all set to start playing.
Playing Ogame is like a breath of fresh air brought to the space strategy 4x gaming experience since it offers the possibility to play anywhere I have an internet connection while offering a rich and free multiplayer experience.
Other popular games of this type include:
- Travian: One of the most popular Antiquity – Empire building game;
- Earth 2025: Contemporary / Country Building
- Hattrick: Contemporary / Soccer Team
- You can find here a comprehensive list of other browser games.
Another excellent source of browser games I recommend is the Galaxy-News website.
Ogame is developed by Gameforge and is a space strategy game 4x like any other but you play it using solely your web browser. It features all the 4x essentials: research, resource gathering, colony management, spaceship building, fleet management and space combat but in real-time strategy style, against the traditional turn based gameplay, which means that everything in the player’s Ogame universe is happening real-time for all registered users. One can start researching a technology in the morning before breakfast, start building a spaceship during lunch time break from work and launch an attack on a nearby player right before bed time.
Ogame is free? What’s the catch?
There’s really no catch at all. The majority of these recent browser-based games are free of charge. Anyone can register and start playing them in a few minutes. In spite being free these games do have their own limitations (sounds like catch alert to me? .. not really, keep on reading). Many browser-based games you will find are completely free of charge, others offer free play with advertising, others still offer free play with micro-transactions or optional paid subscriptions. What this last type of games offer are bonus packs, extensions or exclusive add-ons that are not available in the standard game features and are only granted through small additional payments. Normally this is not a big deal if you want to play the game free of charge because usually this does not hurt the game experience too much. At least for Ogame that happens to be the case, I’m playing it for almost 3 months by now and I don’t really find the need to pay for any extra features (but others may find it useful of course).
You can find a list of many browser-based games of the different charging categories here.
Now back to Ogame: The game basics
When you register and start playing Ogame you start with your home planet empty. No mines, no technologies, no ships, no nothing. All you have is your tiny planetary base production needed to bootstrap your first production buildings: mines for metal, crystal and deuterium (your three main resources). You
have a wide range of planetary improvements you can start building like a shipyard: required to build spaceships and planetary defenses; storage warehouses to store resources and the research lab to research new technologies. Each building can then be upgraded by constructing successive additional levels. So you start with your buildings all at level 0 and then you go on evolving them one by one for more production capacity, more research capability, etc.
Things take a looong time in Ogame
As I mentioned above Ogame is not a regular PC space strategy game 4x, where one can play for five hours straight just by clicking the end-turn button. This is a game where everything happens in real-time with hundreds and hundreds of players playing simultaneously, so you will end up needing to wait for your metal mine to finish, which can take you, for example, 1:30h to complete, or your battleship that will take you about 3 hours, or a technology that will take 24 hours to research. At some stage of play all is done at that time and you simply log off. Then you login later to check on your empire status.
Research and Technologies
The technology tree is complex enough to keep you busy wondering what to research next. There are plenty of technology dependencies. You can make breakthroughs in several categories: New buildings, research fields, spaceships and new planetary defense systems. In the left you can see an image for the Weapons Technology that boosts the spaceship weapons efficiency in 10%. Each evolution of this technology will add another 10% to weapons efficiency.
Building spaceships will require you to unlock specific technologies and construct the appropriate building levels. There are several types of standard spaceships available for you to build: colony ships, transports, drones, regular fighters, heavy fighters, cruisers, battleships, destroyers, bombers, interceptors and even a dreaded Death Star. There is no spaceship customization, you have these models at your disposal and that’s it. However the process of unlocking all the spaceship models is complex enough to keep you busy for a long time waiting for your next space toy to be available for production.
Managing fleets is quite easy as the interface is simple but effective (considering that the user interface is a browser). You can move your ships around; set them for colonization, spying missions, raids and transports of materials.
Well, in Ogame there is no concept of Artificial Intelligence as there is no computer AI to compete with. All the players in Ogame are Human players (or at least they should be) so the diplomacy features offered to players are practically nonexistent. Basically players can forge alliances with other players or other alliances of players and all the rest must take its course via normal human-to-human message interchange from there.
Tips and Strategy Guide to get you started
You can find many tips and all kinds of information regarding Ogame in the web. You can have a look at the official OGame forum here. Another simple but effective source of tips and faqs can be found at GameFAQs, a strategy guide/FAQ maintained by Xeigrich. However if you’re aiming for a single source of condensed information you can also have a look at the “Ogame Tips Strategy Guide” e-Book published by “OgameTips” that you can get here.
- Free of charge
- Simple to register and start playing
- Very suitable for players with not much time in their hands that want to play occasionally
- Portable technology which allows the game to be played practically everywhere (only internet with browser availability required)
- Not enough depth for the more demanding
- Not much going on, specially on early game stages
- Slow paced game not suitable for players eager for instant action
Considering that everything is done via a web browser client and that the game is free of charge Ogame is a space strategy game that at least deserves you to have a look at. The game may not be for everyone but could be for many of you that simply don’t have much time in your hands and cannot keep up with the micromanagement needs of most 4x space strategy games. If you’re a fan of space strategy gaming you will like to try this lightweight space strategy gaming experience that is Ogame.
You can find more information about Ogame here.
You can register and start playing Ogame now by clicking here.
– Free of charge;
– Simple to register and start playing;
– Suitable for players with not much time in their hands that want to play occasionally;
– Can be played practically everywhere (only internet with a browser is required).
– Not enough depth for the more demanding;
– Not much going on, specially on early game stages;
– Slow paced game not suitable for players eager for instant action.
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