First, you have to know, I think Travian is the best game of it's genera on the internet. There are so many ways to play the game, and all have their own validity.
So the point of my thread... I've spent hundreds of dollars on Travian in the past 15 years. I've gotten to the point that I love the game, but I'm not going to spend any more money. It is still a great game! But "no money" leads to a very different strategy in playing.
First, you are going to be playing a defensive game. Start as Gaul. It is mostly a sim game if you align with a major alliance. If you go solo, it gets interesting.
Second, your hero is going to be selling everything he finds. I will keep the first strength modifier, usually a right hand item, and I will keep the first resurrection item I get. Everything else gets sold. Don't buy anything unless you are desperate.
Third, all bonus points from hero advances are placed in Resource. Early on, you may have to add to personal strength to keep your hero from dying.
Fourth, keep your crannies up! If a raider comes knocking, they can NOT get resource. If they do, you lose.
Fifth, some players just want to kill something. If you are caught in this situation and you are the target, keep all resource and buildings at at least level one. Keep the faith. This will go on for awhile. Eventually, more important things will take effect and you will no longer be "important". That means, you will be able to go about your business.
You have to decide on your goal for the game. You won't be making the WW. That takes a lot of time, commitment, and MONEY.
My goal is to see how high in the pop rankings I can get. My secondary goal is to be alive at the end of the game. You're goals are whatever you decide.