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OK I really shouldn't be admitting this but I do play Lords Online at work. That is probably my favorite thing about this game. It only takes 5 minutes a session. Everything happens in real time in LO, just tell your troops to attack and logout, of course you can stay and direct them but you don't have to. So when I say I play at work I'm taking a 5 minute break to upgrade my buildings train troops and order attacks.
The game play is simple and addicting build/upgrade buildings, upgrade resources, train troops and attack other castles, build new castles, lather, rinse repeat.
I have been playing for about a month now and have a decent size castle. I haven't really used the cash shop so I can't really comment on that other then it is the fastest way to level up your hero. But there are other methods for that if you don't want to spend money.
LO is cheap, and fun without costing you very much time. It's a great way to kill 5 to 15 minutes.