June 1, 2011 at 2:40 PM ET
Zynga — the titan of Facebook games — has launched a brand new game on the social network today and it says the game — called "Empires & Allies" — is its most social app ever.
And when they say "social," they mean you'll be able to go to battle against your very own Facebook friends and, yes, finally get your chance to conquer the world. And if that's not some serious social networking, I don't know what is.
The makers of the hit games "FarmVille," "FrontierVille" and "CityVille" say "Empires & Allies" is a strategy combat game set on a sprawling, multi-island game board. The story-driven crusade challenges players to build a successful island-nation by arming themselves against enemy forces, preparing for battle, building a powerful empire and expanding to new islands.
According to the Zynga press release: "Throughout the game, players will build army units, recruit friends, and encounter helpful allies and unique villains as fight their way across enemy-held territories on the quest to defeat the final villain."
"Think CityVille meets Risk,” said Amer Ajami, executive producer of Empires & Allies at Zynga.
And as anyone who's ever played Risk knows, that game makes going to war with your good friends nothing but bloody good fun. Indeed, "Empires" will let Facebook users duke it out with their pals ... or play nice if that's how you prefer to roll.
"You can do altruistic things like helping out your friends, or you can attack them," Ajami told the Associated Press. "We give you honor points or infamy points."
Though "Empires & Allies" will be free to play like other Zynga games, for small amounts of money, players will be able to purchase virtual items such as battleships, submarines and rifle-wielding solders.
If all of this sounds significantly more aggressive and complicated than Zynga's previous games, which tasked Facebook players with doing nothing more hostile than tending to growing crops and managing bucolic stretches of land ... not to worry.
Ajami told TechCrunch that the game is still designed to appeal to a wide audience rather than hardcore gamers looking for intense strategy and combat action. And "Empires & Allies" will introduce 30 characters that help guide players and reveal plot secrets along the way.
Certainly a look at the game's cartoony graphics — which don't stray far from the Zynga formula — and its whimsical trailer (above), make it clear that "Empires & Allies" combat is probably going to be family and casual friendly.
"We're focused on bringing our players a new form of entertainment and a strategy game is definitely a new playground for us," Ajami said. "Play is in everyone’s DNA, and this game lets you have fun and get creative by choosing your own destiny, building a nation and eventually, conquering the world."
"Empires & Allies" just launched on Facebook a few minutes ago. You can find it here. That's right, it's time to put down your garden hoe ... and pick up your rifle.
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