I’m somewhat hooked on Travian. It’s a German multi-user online game you can play using just a browser. Let’s see if it sounds familiar: players farm their hexagon-shaped fields, producing a variety of resources: wood, bricks, iron and wheat. These are used to build new buildings and improve the fields, but also to create units to wage a war.
I think it’s fairly obvious these guys have played Catan. However, Travian is a completely different experience. There’s some optimization: how do I best use my resources to grow fast (obvious answer is, of course, to invest the resources back in resource production), which buildings I need to build…
There are some bottlenecks, like limited resources and having just one builder, which mean you can’t be active all the time. Thus it’s an ideal game for people who don’t like to spend a lot of time at once, but can pop over many times a day to see how their village is doing. You always see how much it takes to build something in minutes, so you’ll know when you should check your village again.
Right now I’m researching better units and raiding neighbouring unused villages (whose owner has quit playing) for more resources. Next big goal is to create a second village, but that’ll take lots and lots of time and resources… So far I’ve been lucky and no big fish have noticed me, and I very much hope that stays that way.