I couldn't decide whether to put it into beginners or strategy section, so mods, feel free to move it if you think it fits the beginners section better.
I’m writing this guide mostly to save myself from typing the same things over and over again, when answering to the more decent IGMs from unhappy players. I’ll try to explain it from an insecure offensive player’s viewpoint, based on my personal experience. It’s not a guide to ’how not to be a farm’, nor 'how to defend yourself', there are enough of those around, but rather a few simple thoughts about how to survive in a truly hostile environment and what’s the logic behind the seemingly unjust behaviour of your big neighbour(s).
Who’s it for:
Mostly for newcomers who’ve survived the first month or two, but also for the relatively inactive players logging in once or twice a day, so I'm assuming the readers to be familiar with Travian terminology.
Had your army killed off for no apparent reason?
Someone seemingly randomly destroyed your village?
And you’re left wondering why all the bad things are happening to you.
- You’re just too close to the big guy in your neighbourhood.
- You’ve settled a cropper he considered to be his.
- You’ve occupied oases he considered to be his.
- You’ve settled too close to him.
- You’ve been stupid enough to try and attack him, be it as retaliation or for whatever other reasons.
Spawning too close is just bad luck, but the other four are mistakes that should be avoided, but let’s go over them one by one.
1. Spawning too close – well that’s just pure bad luck and you should try to move away as fast as possible, if possible. Solutions:
- Offer to become a personal defender – it probably the best option, but most people don’t like inexperienced players – too much explaining involved;
- Tell him you’ll move away once you have your 3 settlers and change capitals, so he can chief your spawn later on – that will probably work 90% of the time, but remember that you’ll still be scouted and offensive troops in your spawn will considered a threat.
2. Settling a cropper in the wrong neighbourhood – big players like the croppers. They’re usually running negative wheat by the second week at the latest and they consider the 9c-s and 15c-s in the vicinity to be their rightful property. And rightly so, because they have more use for croppers than you – where you’ll have overflowing granary, they’ll have trade routes. Solution is pretty much self-evident:
- Avoid croppers in wrong neighbourhoods, and let’s be honest – you really don’t need a cropper, a 4446 or 4437 will suit your playing style better anyway. Trying to build up a 15 cropper without proper raiding and/or gold is a nuisance.
3. Occupying the oases, specially wheat oases, in 7x7 of the big player’s villages – pretty much the same story as with croppers. Increasingly negative wheat makes the big players really like the oases, and occupying those is not the brightest idea. Solution is self-evident again:
- Avoid occupying the oases, and specially the wheat oases within 7x7 of the big guy’s villages, you’ll lose them sooner or later anyway.
4. Settling – never settle into the big player’s comfort zone. Comfort zone varies player by player, but 21x21 is as good bet as any. Many of the experienced big players have had their hammer villages chiefed or destroyed by sneak attacks. Building a proper hammer takes a lot of time and effort, so having it destroyed or chiefed is a miserable experience. To avoid it, most people like to keep their immediate neighbourhood secure to see the attacks long time coming. Solution is, well, self-evident as usual:
- When settling your next village, you should settle it further, not closer to the big guy.
5. Attacking the big guy – nothing identifies you as a potential threat (or a stupid noob, if you're attacking with phalanxes or sending out cata raids) better than retaliation. Retaliate only when you’re certain you can handle the consequences, otherwise you’re just pointlessly drawing attention to yourself.
So the general solution is – lie back and think of England, while preparing to move away as fast as possible.
Some additional general advice:
- How to identify the big guys? They’ll introduce themselves sooner or later, well, rather sooner than later. But working the map might help you find them before they come knocking. If you have gold club, use the cropfinder – as a general rule of the thumb, the ones first to settle the 15croppers in your neighbourhood are the guys you should avoid. Red or purple ribbons appearing on your neighbours’ profiles is another giveaway. Threat’s on the personal profile page are just lame, but some of them might be real too.
- Sending IGMs – polite IGMs might work, but from my personal experience, I’m hardly bothered. Impolite IGMs are a bad idea, though I do love to read a good rant now and then.
- Joining an alliance and trying to defend – might help you short term, but it won’t solve your long term problems. You’re too close to the big guy to give your alliance enough time to organise effective defense, and standing defense won’t stay at your villages forever, as it will be needed elsewhere sooner or later.
All the above seems unfair? Well, tough luck, it’s a war game not a multicultural social democratic society. I hope it helps someone somewhere. Probably not my neighbours though, I've destroyed two villages in uk6 this week - one settled a 15c some 7 squares from my capital and another took a 50% wheat oasis meant for one of my 9croppers.
Everybody's more than welcome to add, correct, criticise, etc.