11 - 15 - Play right now in your browser
11. The Settlers Online
What is it? Civilisation sim
You'll be genuinely impressed that this super-deep empire building game actually runs in your browser. But it does, and you can lose hours to it if you're not careful. The opening few hours will bombard you with quests that help you learn the intricacies of building a civilisation, and there are surprisingly few demands on you to part with real cash. There's a even a neat community feel to the game, as a chat feed runs in the corner at all times, letting you jump in and out as you please.
12. Neptune's Pride
What is it? Space strategy
How close are you to your friends? Strong bonds? Neptune's Pride will test these bonds to the limit. It's a space-based strategy, and the pace is slow and deliberate. The first half of each session is dominated by an initial territory grab, and the forging of alliances between players. The second half is pure conquest, by whatever means. Brute force can win it for you, but stabbing friends in the back while they're vulnerable is the real key to success. Addictive, but possibly friendship-smashing.
13. Fallen London
What is it? Text adventure RPG
A high-budget text adventure set in an alternative Victorian era, Fallen London starts you in a prison and tasks you with escaping and discovering the mysteries of the Lovecraft-inspired city below. There's character progression and plenty of player choices, and unlike most beetle-browed text adventures, it doesn't take itself too seriously. One option early on lets you give up on tasks and just head to the pub to get drunk. Downside? Although it's free to play, you only get 10 actions per session. You can top up your actions using 'Nex', which of course costs real money.
14. Battlestar Galactica Online
What is it? TV show tie-in
We'll say this for BSG Online - it's authentic, and it's popular. For the first few hours, you'll be awed by being inside the universe, checking out all the iconic ships and hearing all the BSG banter. After that it descends into a bit of a generic MMO grind, but if you're a fan of the show the nerdy content will reward persistence.
15. World Golf Tour
What is it? Seriously...
Pretty self-explanatory - it's a golf game. And there are hundreds out there. However, this is one of the best, with stunning courses and some great tutorials that teach you not just how to play, but play well. There's a virtual US Open to take part in, and the ads (you get ads, because it's free) are actually less intrusive than they are on actual golf coverage.