By Madeline Ricchiuto
InnoGames is a German development company, which started as a hobby but built into a development team. As of now their lineup is entirely comprised of cross-platform (browser and mobile) strategy city-builders. The cool thing about this, however, is that you can play handoff a game from your web browser to your tablet or phone. Which presents a creative challenge, since browser games tend to require a bit more time than mobile, but that's what makes strategy games perfect for that kind of cross-platform playing.
The business model for all InnoGames titles seems to be "we want people playing this game for years," and it seems to be working for them. The company has grown steadily over the last few years, though not exponentially.
Elvenar is their latest strategy game, which incorporates a bit of a fantasy element: you chose to play either a human or elven city, with differences in art and content depending on your choice. Human cities use early industrial tools, like steam power, to build. They are naturally very steam punk. The elven cities look more fantastical, with fantasy creatures helping build new structures, and the designs looking more like something out of nature.
The point of Elvenar is to unlock the entire map by furthering your sphere of influence. You can do this one of two ways: war or trade. The nice thing about Elvenar is that you can be a completely non-violent player if you choose to. You can also go the traditional route and conquer by brute force, but the most efficient play style uses a bit of both.
Tribal Wars 2 adds more of a social element, since the main goal is for your tribe to take control of the game map. So you actually have to interact with other humans enough to form or join a tribe. It is very much a battle game.
Forge of Empires, which recently got its mobile release, doesn't have that kind of PVP, but you can build cities throughout major historical eras which is kind of cool. There is a game map that you will want to unlock for trading purposes, but the other cities are controlled by NPCs rather than other players.
Going forward, InnoGames plans to focus on mobile games, in particular ones optimized for smartphones. They're planning a few strategy and citi-builders but also an action RPG and some other new genres to broaden their audience.