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Allies & Empires invades Facebook

In a move widely interpreted as a thumbed-nose to upcoming AAA social strategy titles, Zynga has announced the immediate release of Empires & Allies.

Billed as the Farmville developer's first strategic combat game, Empires & Allies launches today in 12 languages.

The game plays out over a board dotted with islands, which players develop with the ultimate goal of battling off the evil Raven.

"Think CityVille meets Risk," producer Amer Ajami said in a press release.

Unfortunately, friends serve the same role as in many other Zynga titles, providing small boosts via peaceful interactions. In other words, no player versus player action.

First past the post, Allies & Empires has a head start on Civilization World and Age of Empires Online, both due this year. It will be interesting to see if the Zynga powerhouse and lightning fast release schedule can keep it ahead of the two more robustly-featured competitors.

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