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Leadership, Politics & Propaganda 101
All credit for this guide goes to Evil-Jake:


If one takes the time to look around these forums, you’ll find any number of threads with guides, strategies, and advice which cover the mechanics of running a village, sending attacks, avoiding becoming a farm, ect, ect, ad absurdum. There are Gaul guides, Roman guides, Teut guides, and even guides on how to become an entertaining farm.

However, there are precious few guides which cover what is arguably the most important of all subjects in playing Travian. A subject which when used clumsily or unintelligently can spell the ultimate demise of not simply you, the player unfortunate enough to be in a position of leadership, but your entire alliance as well.

It is a subject which when used properly and with skill can turn a prosperous and peaceful quadrant with good prospects for end game success into a bloodied and desolate wasteland filled with fallen hammers and wheat dead villages, bereft of all hope of building a World Wonder. So long as that quadrant / geographic area isn’t yours, this is a good thing.

Ignorance of this subject has caused the downfall and destruction of more alliances than all other factors combined, for those who know how to use the subject well prey on those who don’t.

That subject is Politics and Propaganda.

This is a collection of my own thoughts and opinions on the subject and they are offered as such.

I make no claims to be the best, nor the most experience political manipulator and propagandist whoever played the great game, nor do I make any claims that by following my advice you’ll be able to accomplish the kinds of political machinations I have accomplished.

This advice is offered in an attempt to increase the general awareness of these subjects as being an important part of playing Travian in the futile hope that it will assist new and existing alliance leaders to put more thought into this subject. For this is a very important subject to know if you have anything to do with inter-alliance relations and wish to survive.

Chapter 1

The basics of leading an up and coming alliance:

First and foremost, you need to understand the basics of playing the game. As mentioned earlier, there is no shortage of guides on this subject, so I’m only going to touch on a few of the requisite high points.

1. Be at least a semi competent player, and be aggressive.

2. Be active. Very active. Never let an igm go unanswered once you read it. Unless it’s from a farm. Then ignore it and send another raid. When they ask you to join, tell them that when they stop being a farm, you might consider it, until then, you’re going to ride them like a $2 circus pony.

3. If you aren’t starting an alliance founded upon an earlier group of people you already lead, never, never, never recruit too far from home unless said recruits are willing to relocate immediately into a specified geographic zone.

Nothing is more deadly to an alliance than being spread out to the wind and going to war. Never recruit more than 10-15 squares cross quad and expect to keep villages located too far away from the rest of your powerbase.

4. If you are founding an alliance with known players, make sure they all your players join the same quad, and register at different intervals. I.E. 10 players a day over the course of 6 days when starting on a new server will give you a reasonable spread to ensure decent farming for your players. Once everyone hits the map, then start looking to consolidate and work towards grabbing areas of geographic importance. But don’t just let everyone spread out however they want to.

Random dispersion of member’s settlements will ultimately lead to military difficulties later on. Have a plan, know what you want, and get your people working towards it.

5. Gain top 20 by whatever means necessary, while keeping in mind to not recruit cross quad. Top 20 alliances generally get the first choice of the better free agent players. You can (and should) trim down the fat later.

6. If you can’t gain top 20, then earn a reputation for being an alliance of ruthless raiders. One does not get that kind of rep by posting it on your profile; you get it by taking as many of the top 40 offensive slots as you can.

7. If another alliance which you are farming asks you for a NAP or Ally, turn them down. The last thing you want is to be associated with farms. Screw peace and friendship, this is a war game; if they aren’t strong enough to stop you then they probably aren’t strong enough to help you against someone else.

Allies and NAP’s:

For heavens sake, don’t NAP or ally every Johnny-come-lately that sends a request so that you will stop farming their alliance or who plans to ‘be the biggest alliance on the server if you help us’, blah, blah, blah. Top alliances and top players don’t spam ally requests to everyone and their mother, they are selective about who they choose to create relationships with.

Where those relationships are forged is via igm’s, external forums, vent, RL, or any number of avenues of communication available. If you haven’t spent some time in serious diplomatic discussions with another alliance and gone over what you need, want and expect from each other as allies, establish points of contact for handling disputes, 7x7 settling agreements, tossed around a few what if scenarios, then chances are that when you need help, it’s going to fall on deaf and/or impotent ears.

Yet, when that ally needs help, you’re going to be the first to hear about it.

One way relationships do not work in this game and you need to establish and ascertain weather or not any ally you take on likely to stick around and be there with you when the fecal matter hits the fan, or if they are going to cut and run the moment you find yourself in trouble.

Usually, you only find this out when it happens, however, it’s still important to screen your allies before signing any agreements with them and establish ground rules for the relationship, and make no mistake, it is a relationship, for this is a very long game.

Questions to consider before establishing an ally or NAP with another alliance:

1. Where is the other alliance located relative to your alliance on the map?

2. Where are they located relative to themselves? Are they spread out over every quad, or are they more or less in one geographic area?

3. If they are spread out, do they have the numbers* to support that?

*50-60 players per quad is a good meter stick for early to mid game. 120+ is mid to late mid (2 wings), and 150-200+ (3-5 wings) is decent for end game.

4. Do they have other allies?

5. Are any in the top 20?

6. Where are their allies located relative to them? Are they on the far side of nowhere, or are they neighbors?

6. Contact the heads of their current allies and ask questions about the alliance. Are they good allies? Are they easy to get a hold of? Do they respond to IGM’s in a reasonable time frame? Are they jerks? Do they keep their word? Ect. Do as good of a background check as you can.

7. Are they currently at war with anyone? Do they have any enemies? Are some of their players loosing population (sure sign that they are being targeted by cats)

The last thing you want to do is inherit a brand new ally’s enemies if they are getting their heads handed to them. If they are the ones doing the head handing, then sign up and help them out they might be worth knowing.

**8. Are they currently your farms, or the farms of your members? Check attack logs, and look at their some of their members villages, have your or your players been robbing them blind?

** Farming is an important part of travian growth, not only on an individual basis, but alliance wide and the decisions you make as a leader in choosing your friends can either improve your alliances situation, or harm it. Allying with your farms, or potential farms greatly reduces your alliances ability to grow aggressively.

** If you do choose to make an alliance which turns out to be filled with incapable players and is lacking in the military strength needed to keep other alliances in check well enough to prevent themselves from being farmed, it's best to cut your losses and drop them.

** If they can't even defend themselves from being farms, then their chances of staying alive during a real war are pretty slim. Which, by association, makes your chances of becoming the next target very high.

** I will go into more depth about the various types of alliances you are likely to encounter, and some things to keep in mind when dealing with them in a later chapter. For now, just keep in mind that choosing your friends with care and being selective is better than trying to ally the entire map. This is a war game after all, not a popularity contest.

** If your goal as an alliance leader and political mover and shaker is to be loved and adored by everyone, you will fail, and fail hard. The trusting, lets all sit around the campfire and sing koombia, Lovey-dovey types are generally the first to get stabbed in the back and the last ones to see it coming.

** If you want to win, then don't be that person.

** Another thing to keep in mind is that the ally's of your ally's aren't necessarily your ally's. In fact, they can often be your enemies.

Chapter 2:

General Politics

Some general observations I've noticed about server politics.

Observation # 1:

No two servers are exactly the same, just because something happened on one server, does not directly correlate to it’s occurrence on another server.

A prime example of this is Sever 2. While I wont try to go into all of the details, the basic gist is that a single alliance composed of multiple wings managed to claim an early dominance of the server through ruthless tactics and effective team work. They managed to hold that dominance for the entire server by maintaining sufficient internal cohesion and cooperation to prevent them from falling apart. This, in conjunction with the ruthless removal of all threats and potential threats is what allowed them to ultimately claim every single Natar point on S2, ensuring victory for their alliance.

This, is NOT common, and is, to my knowledge, the only .us server which has been so thoroughly dominated by a single entity for virtually an entire round.

That stated, just because it happened on S2, or S3, or .COM, etc, does not mean it’s going to happen on the server you are currently playing on, despite any early appearances to the contrary.

In the example of a ‘super meta’ which attempts to claim early dominance, they usually succumb to and are ultimately destroyed by one or more of the following factors.

1. Poor leadership,
- Leadership not knowing how to delegate responsibility to competent members
- Leadership not able to maintain solid relations with other wing/alliances

2. Internal strife among players and wings, unhandled dispute

3. External threats not adequately dealt with, either diplomatically, or through military action.

4. General lack of military competence among the members resulting in significant war losses and a subsequent drop in player morale.

5. Lack of adequate political / diplomatic ability to prevent large scale resistance prior to the establishment of adequate military infrastructure, both in terms of absolute troop strengths, and delegated war responsibilities to competent and active offensive / defensive coordinators.

6. Alliance attempts to dominate too much geography and spreads too far to quickly. Members not close enough to each other to offer adequate military support resulting in defeat in detail.

There are likely other factors which come into play, but these tend to be the biggest stumbling blocks of most budding ‘meta’ alliances. These are also factors which come into play for smaller and/or single quad alliances and should be taken into consideration during the formation of any multi-wing alliance.

Observation # 2:

Travian politics =/= to RL politics, or RL wars, or RL in most respects. Attempting to compare in game politics to RL is a foolish venture which is usually only attempted by newbs and spin doctors.

The spin doctors know this fact and selectively choose their historical references with care and attempt to gain some form of political advantage.

That advantage is usually used in one of two ways.

One use is as a moral justification for screwing over a smaller alliance. This is done so as to prevent the intervention of potentially dangerous opponents which are (or might become) sympathetic to the cause of the small fry.

The other is used by the savvy small fry when trying to gain assistance against a larger opponent.

There are other instances which using RL or historical precedence can be used by a spin doctor, these are simply the most common 2.

Observation # 3

The majority of the ‘reasons’ and moral justifications which get stated as being the cause of a war between alliances are at best exaggerated, and at worst, outright fabrications.
As stated in observation # 2, Travian =/= RL.

If you absolutely must have a justifiable reason to start a war while playing a war game, then you need to do one of the following.

1. Actively and covertly engineer a situation which justifies going to war, preferably alongside multiple allies and with overwhelming force.

2. Fabricate a plausible justification which is both easy to defend and difficult to effectively counter.

3. If the first 2 options aren’t appealing to you, go play a different game because Travian politics are not for you.

The honest truth behind most wars is that they are the product of one or more sets of circumstances. The Principal and underlying reason for all wars however is so obvious that it tends to be overlooked.

The lowest common denominator and Principal reason for all wars which are fought while playing a war game are quite simply the fact that we are playing a war game.

All other 'reasons' stem from that sweeping fact.

For a select number of ultra aggressive alliances, that is more than enough reason to start any war, with anyone.

However, for most alliances, the fact that this is a war game makes up about 75-90% of the reason for going to war, the other 10-25% is generally supplied by geographic, military or political circumstances, and quite often a combination of all 3.

More aggressive alliances which lack in strategic planning tend to run between 90-95% on the brink of war at all times.

Conversely, alliances which only want peace and to be friends with everyone are also 90-95% on the brink of war at all times (when not actively being dismantled), but for very different reasons.

Smart, strategically oriented alliances fluctuate between 60-90% with any non allied alliance, depending upon their strategic circumstances, geographic proximity and long range objectives.

In RL one isn’t generally in a social or political situation which is constantly that close to the brink of violence with someone. Fortunately, this isn’t RL and for the savvy Travian politician, the majority of the work in starting a war has already been done for you. All you need to do is supply that last 10-25% and you have yourself a conflict.

When seeking to engineer a war between two or more rival alliances, one should remember that provided sufficient ‘reason’, virtually any alliance (single or multi wing) can be manipulated into going to war with another alliance given the right set of circumstances and a reasonable proximity of respective player bases.

The trick is figuring out which circumstances are most likely to provide each side with the justifications they need to do what they want to do anyway, and doing it in such a way that you aren’t hit with the backlash. I’ll be diving into this more in later chapters.

I’m going to divide up and list out some of the more common “final straws” which break the peace by providing sufficient ‘reason’ to prosecute a war by category.


Reason # 1:

Alliance A covets Alliance B’s real estate / territory disputes. This has several different flavors.

- One or more respectable croppers within the geographic area that alliance A considers to be their territory.
- Alliance B has Villages close enough to alliance A to pose a potential threat, but lacks sufficient military strength (real or perceived) and/or diplomatic ability to be considered an ally.
- Alliance B has settled near a Natar spawn point which Alliance A has designs for.


Reason # 1:

A member of alliance A attacks a member of alliance B. In ascending order of the likelihood of causing a war between alliances of comparable size,

- farming raid
- oasis attack
- normal attack
- normal attack with rams
- Normal attack with catapults
- stealing an oasis
- chiefing a village
- Multi player / Coordinated catapult attack

When alliance A is significantly larger than alliance B, none of these kinds of attacks are likely to cause a serious war for alliance A. If however, alliance B is comparable, or larger than alliance A, anything more serious than a single isolated farming incident is likely to either escalate to a war, or result in a demand that the offending player be booted or that damages be paid.

There is another factor which comes into play with regard to wars and attacks made upon an alliance. That factor is boredom. Never underestimate the willingness and speed with which bored alliances escalate minor incidents into full blown wars. Especially when they feel that they have a strategic or military advantage which will bring them victory.

Reason # 2

Alliance A feels that Alliance B is becoming a potential military threat or is expanding too rapidly. They then seek to mitigate the threat of competition before it becomes too entrenched in an area.


Reason # 1:

Alliance A’s leadership doesn’t like Alliance B’s leadership / member(s). Pretty self explanatory.

Reason # 2:
Alliance A seeks to gain favor with or repay a debt to alliance B by attacking alliance C.

Reason # 3:

Alliance A has manipulated Alliance B and alliance C into a situation where alliance B & C are inclined to go to war with each other. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, the easiest is supplying information to both B & C which shows that each is planning / desiring to attack the other, or has some personal axe to grind.

Remember, 75-90% of the inclination towards war is already there, which makes supplying that last little bit rather easy. This isn’t to say that you can always create a war overnight. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months of careful planning, plotting and back door political dirty work to create the right combination of circumstances for the seeds of war you plant to bear the fruit of a major conflict.

Chapter 3:

Setting achievable goals:

Congratulations, it’s your first time playing Travian, you’ve built an embassy and started your own alliance. You’ve even recruited some other players, sure some of them are 100+ squares away, but that’s cool, they’re your members and they follow your orders.

Now you are well on your way to dominating the entire server, kicking ***, taking names and pwning everyone by virtue of your sheer awesomeness... That’s how it works… right?


Before you dive off the deep end and try to run a scratch built alliance, you better know and understand how this game works. Don’t try to start your own alliance first time you play this game, read up on the various manuals of how to play, practice and get yourself into a position where you are a desirable candidate to join a top 20-30 alliance.

Setting out to conquer a world you do not understand is setting yourself up for hardship and ultimately for failure.

1st round you play in Travian, the best thing you can do during your first round of Travian is bone up on how to play the game, apply that knowledge, get yourself into a decent alliance and above all, pay attention to what goes on, especially in the political arena. Also, be an active member and seek positions of responsibility inside your alliance. Alliance leaders are usually looking for sharp and active people to help carry the administrative load.

Be very willing to make yourself useful and provided they are good leaders, they will be more than happy to help teach you the ropes and give you advice.

2nd round of travian, IF you’ve got the basics down, and have had experience doing all of the following:

1. Coordinating catapult attacks on multiple enemy targets during a war.
2. Built (at a minimum) an offensive hammer in excess of 20k offensive troops including siege weapons and used it in anger.
3. Ran a village with negative 60k/hr or more in wheat consumption for a time period of at least 48 hours, either offensively or defensively.
4. Coordinated stacking large quantities of defensive troops on another player’s village, preferably resulting in the destruction of a significant enemy offensive force.
5. Had discussions with people in other alliances which didn’t result in a war. This needn’t be official diplomacy, merely the having of intelligent conversations with other alliances.

Then you might consider starting your own alliance. However, one should not expect to be the biggest and best alliance of all time at this stage of your Travian experience.

If you can manage to recruit enough talent, and hold things together, then great, but don’t get discouraged if the first alliance you lead ends in disaster. It happens to the best of us, even to me. Best thing to do while leading your first alliance is set yourself the goal of learning everything you can about leading an alliance in Travian so that you can be even better prepared for the next time.

As far as alliance goals, if you are fairly decent and, you can get your alliance into the top 35, then your chances of being relevant in this game are decent. Not great, but decent.

If you are either very lucky, or very good about recruiting and you can manage to get into the top 20, you’re in for a wild ride in which your survival is far from guaranteed.

Your goal should be to make it into the higher ranks of the game, NOT by stacking pop only, but by organic and intelligent growth of both villages and military might.

If your alliance is too small, or incapable of mounting a decent defense, no one will take it seriously and you will be a doormat until you can manage to prove yourself to be anything other than a mildly entertaining list of farms.

The main point I’m trying to make is that you should set goals, but be reasonable about your expectations to meet those goals. If you want to be a top player leading a top alliance, then you got to work at it step by step. Set a goal you think you can reach, and once you do, push the goal higher. If you fail to reach your goals, and you will from time to time, try again. Persistence pays.

Chapter 4

Alliance archetypes commonly found in Travian

1. The original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.

In other words, these are some of the more common and generalized alliance models which have a tendency to form on Travian servers. There are, and will always be, variants of these models which you will encounter.

This list is in no way complete, however, it does go over the more common and prevalent alliance models which I have seen in use on multiple servers. This information should be considered as merely a reference of things to look for when evaluating the various alliances you encounter. However, it is not intended to be the supreme end all and be all of your alliance evaluation; it is simply a place to start and offers some things to look for.

The actual evaluation of any alliance and how you choose to interact with them is ultimately up to you, the leader(s) of your alliance.

I’ve divided this breakdown into the main classes of alliances, and will list out each of their primary archetypes starting from what I believe to be the worst.

Noob Class:

As a general note on this class, one way to spot a large majority of these kinds of alliances is through looking at a decent map of the server. Towards the beginning of the server, 50-90% of these types of alliances have players in at least 2 quads, and usually most are an average of 50-100 squares away from their closest friend.

That, in conjunction with low ranks and generally well below average player and village counts makes this perhaps the easiest class of alliances to recognize.

By mid game, those that are still around will quite often still have players spread out into 3 or 4 quads. While this isn’t always a bad thing for an alliance to do, provided they consolidate all members into one general area, these kinds of alliances generally do not do that.

1. The pacifists
Sadly, this type of alliance is abhorrently abundant in Travian. Rather, sadly for the players which choose to join such alliances, not for those who prey on them.

How to spot:

Generally, it’s all over their alliance profile. You sometimes see messages or announcements to the alliances members posted in the alliance profile. Pretty much any ‘we are peaceful’ type statements used in conjunction with a rank lower than 50-75 are the main hallmarks of these kinds of alliances.

Here are some common phrases used in the alliance profiles of alliances of this type and their relevant translations;

Phrase: ‘we are a peace loving alliance, but if you attack us, we will respond’
Translation: ‘if you attack us we’ll entertain you with funny igm’s and idle threats’

Phrase: ‘we accept anyone and you don’t have to be that active’
Translation: ‘farm us… like now… Quick before someone else beats you to it’

Phrase: ‘We accept ally and NAP requests from anyone’
Translation: ‘Visit our alliance page! We update your farm lists regularly so you don’t have to!’

Phrase: ‘We are a group of new players who are looking for peaceful players’
Translation: ‘we are setting ourselves up for failure, so farm us out of our misery’

There are of course other phrases which I haven’t included, but these tend to be among the more common.

Chances of being a relevant alliance:

I generally try to avoid saying things like ‘never’ or ‘got a snowball’s chance in hell’, but I do make exceptions from time to time. This is one of them.

Diplomatic Relations to consider:

Farm them. They will do far more for your alliance as farms than they will as allies. NAPing such an alliance is counterproductive to you and your members.

2. The kitten
General description:

The kitten is similar to the pacifist with few distinct differences.

Like any young animal, they are cute, and can be fun to play with, yet they have very little concept about why one would not attack a beast which is significantly larger than themselves.

Kittens start off being mildly amusing and capable of scratching, usually they do not survive long in the wild on their own. However, sometimes they do survive and grow up to be ally cats. Slightly stronger than kittens, they still do not pose a serious threat save in very, very, very large numbers. Fortunately, ally cats tend to lack in the social skills needed to band together into significantly large packs which might actually pose a threat to a decent alliance.

How to spot:

Generally found in the alliance ranks 50 and under, the ally cat only has a few noticeable differences from the pacifist.

When attacked, the kitten will often respond with a counter attack. Fortunately, the kitten has 30 maces* and no idea how to use them, nor the intelligence to know when not to use them.

*used figuratively to represent a relatively small number of any type of troop

When sending igm’s against people who attack, the kitten tends to be inarticulate in their diplomacy. Rather than a polite, thought out message, ‘IM GUNNA KIL U NOOB!!!1!!!111!’ or ‘BIG MISTAKE!!!’, or ‘WTF!!!1!!!1!! THIS MNS WARZ!!!! Or some such equivalent message is employed.

While these messages are not always in all caps, it is common enough to warrant pointing out.

Chances of being a relevant alliance:

Slim to none. One of the prime drawbacks of the kitten is a lack of ability to socialize well with others, and possibly learning difficulties which inhibit them from reading up on how to play the game.

These severely handicap the kitten alliance, in many ways, not the least of which are recruitment, inter-alliance relationships and general knowledge of playing the game on an individual basis.

Diplomatic Relations to consider:

Kittens which grow up to become ally cats will quite often contract rabies and begin to make a nuisance of themselves. Therefore, to prevent the kitten alliance from growing up and becoming rabid, it is generally best to show mercy and attempt to inoculate them.

An effective tactic is targeting the leader of the kitten alliance and all listed officers and organizing a catapult training exercise for your members.

Rabies in kitten alliances is usually contracted by having too many of certain types of buildings. While many might assume that the barracks is one of these, you would be in error. Targeting the barracks only addresses the symptoms, and not the cause. In order for the medicine to be truly effective, it needs to hit the trouble areas at their source.

Therefore, destroying the wheat fields, main building and marketplaces of each of the leader(s) villages and farming them until they delete is usually enough to inoculate the rest of the kitten alliance against rabies.

However, you should be on the look out for symptoms of infection in the other members of that alliance while doing this. One of the occasional side effects of vaccines is that they can create rabies like symptoms in other members of the kitten alliance, in which case, additional inoculations for problem areas should be used as needed.

In extreme cases, it is occasionally necessary to euthanize the entire alliance. This should be done swiftly and humanely to minimize the alliances suffering.

*Ran out of time today, however, I should finish the rest of this chapter by sometime on Monday. Check back for updates.

3. The bobcat
General description:

They’ve read the guides, their alliance heads tend to be at least semi-literate and they tend to be fairly active on recruiting. This is the only type of newb alliance with a remote chance of being relevant later in the game. Unlike the kitten which will attack anything which pokes at it, the bobcat will usually only go after alliances which are at most, slightly larger then themselves unless they have no choice.

This class is still primarily composed of newer players; however, those players have somewhat higher average experience level than the other newb alliances.

How to spot:

The three the main give-a-ways are, stacked defenses when attacked, coordinated attacks, intelligent / reasonable sounding igms from the alliances leadership.

This type of alliance will occasionally get up to the high teens on ranking, (rare) but is generally found in the 20-40 ranks, and is generally a single wing.

Chances of being a relevant alliance:

Their chances of being relevant in terms of usefulness to end game are fairly good with a combination of luck, planning, and good diplomacy mixed with the ability to perform decent defensive operations against larger opponents (which is necessary for their long term survival).

This type of alliance is generally not going to be a serious end game competitor by themselves, even if a few of their members have some end game experience, there are still too many factors working against them.

- Not enough general experience among the players
- This type of alliance usually spends too much time figuring out how to play and not enough time on diplomacy, or too much time on diplomacy and not enough on military / village development.
- Lacking actual end game experience, this type of alliance doesn’t place itself in a position to be useful to major alliances, and where it does, it will often fail in diplomacy and be viewed as a threat.
- Late start on end game preparation when there is any at all.
- Often targeted by larger alliances viewing them, correctly, as potential threats.

Diplomatic Relations to consider:

For the bobcat, there are several strategies to maintain relevance in the game which should be considered.

1. Set up a geographic area to consolidate your members into. Several things should be considered when deciding where to locate your strong hold.
a. First and foremost it should be in an area which is reasonably close to the majority of your players.

b. The ‘pod’ strat isn’t always the best strat. By ‘pod’ I mean making a solid block of villages which all belong to the same alliance. This can be an effective strategy when it comes to supporting a WW village, and does offer up some advantages in terms of reduced travel times for reigns. However, it also has a number of disadvantages. Chief among those is the lack of farming.

Further, while it can ‘help’ in defense, it by no means makes you any safer if proper defensive tactics are not known and used. Another disadvantage is that the very act of reducing travel times for reigns also reduces travel times for catapults. Which essentially means that anyone who can hit one player in your pod, they can hit everyone in your pod without significant increases to their travel times.

c. Another village placement strat is to limit how many people settle into a given 7x7 in a general region. By having no more than 3-5 players of the same alliance in the same 7x7, you still get the advantage of close in support, without as much crowding and competition for oasis. This is best employed in conjunction with locating all of the prime real estate in the targeted settling area and having your top players grab those first, and then fill the 2nd tier villages as your members expand. I.E. grab all the 15 croppers in the area, then grab the 9c’s, then grab any 6c’s with good oasis support, then add in the filler / support villages.

This also gives you a broader sphere of influence as an alliance, and makes you harder to kill by increasing the cat travel times from one side of your territory to the other.

2. General locations for a strong hold to consider:
a. Right on top of a Natar point:

You can read the announcements if you want to find out where they are at. This is a good way to paint your entire alliance as a target either for cats, or for mass recruiting. The Natar points are the most valuable geographic real estate in the game as they are the key to victory. By placing your strong hold around one of them, you are essentially saying that you want to compete in the end game.

Which will either get your entire alliance catapulted by someone bigger who wants to hold that Natar point, or give you a good shot at being absorbed by a larger alliance who want to win.

This is not a good choice of location if you wish to remain on the side lines or are trying to go unnoticed by the big boys. You will get noticed, and you will see some action one way or another.

b. Having the edge of your stronghold 25-30 squares away from a Natar point:

This offers a rather distinct advantage to a bobcat alliance. This places you in a location which is close enough to either support or threaten a Natar point. In conjunction with good diplomacy with whichever alliance starts making moves towards that point, you can likely set yourselves up in a strong supporting role for that alliance.

If on the other hand, you aren’t able to secure a good relationship with the local giant, you can, and should figure out who that giants competition is, and approach them.

Depending on both your skill with diplomacy, and the other alliances general attitude, you can likely secure long term, long range reinforcements from competitors which can help your alliance to survive on the defensive and make a general nuisance of yourselves. This is actually quite a lot of fun.

3. Never recruit outside your geographic zone. Stick to one general area and if you do recruit someone from further out, then make sure that they spawn all new villages near your ‘territory’ for mutual support.

4. Please, please, please, proof read your igms to other alliance heads. The last thing you want to do is come across as an idiot when attempting to secure some kind of diplomatic relations.

5. Accept the fact that you and your alliance will be attacked. Frequently. You aren’t big enough to appear life threatening to most major alliances, but you are big enough to be a potential hazard.

Run a solid defense, not just good a defense, but a very good one. It’s possible for a bobcat alliance to survive for months against multiple top 20 alliances provided they have the right combination of outside help, solid defensive procedures, and active players. Nothing says ‘leave us alone’ quite so well as taking over a decent portion of the top 40 defensive ranks and where possible holding the #1 slot by a fair margin.

Diplomacy to consider for larger alliances:

If your bigger then they are, either absorb them or destroy them. Don’t ***** foot around, because they can and will cause you untold amounts of trouble if you give them a chance to do so.

The only other tactic to consider is to use them and there are two main ways that this is generally done.

In terms of propaganda, having a bloody shirt can often rally the troops and gain support for a war. Attacking an ally is a good excuse to take another alliance to war. When that ally is considerably smaller than the alliance attacking them, it’s a propagandists dream if played properly.

If you are going to use a bobcat this way, it’s best to know what you want to accomplish prior to establishing any kind of formal relationship with them. Know who you want to have an excuse to take out, and make sure you have the military strength to take a bite out of them. It is usually best when all 3 alliances in question are fairly close to each other.

The other way to do this generally works best when the bobcat is further away from you. Finding out if they are being attacked by your competition is a good place to start. If they are indeed coming under attack, silently offering them support in the form of defensive troops, and possibly offering up some of your better defensive coordinators to assist them can help you to damage your competition without risking open exposure.

Gamer Guild Class:

A general note on this class, the pre-existing gamer guilds have a number of very distinct advantage over most other alliance archetypes. That advantage is the fact that they have a pre-existing player base which already knows each other and which have prior gaming experience as a team.

Where newly formed alliances need to spend a lot of time simply developing internal command structures and establishing lines of communication, the pre-existing guild already has these in place which allows them to focus on playing the game, and diplomacy.

Additionally, this type of alliance potentially has a huge mid to late game advantage in terms of player attrition. Where purely travian guilds need to be constantly recruiting and training up raw recruits in order to overcome player burn out, the gamer guild can and should, recruit from their own ranks to replace burned out players. By assigning the original account holder as a mentor, they can quickly train up and turn over power accounts to new people who they trust.

Another advantage comes in the form of counter espionage. It tends to be rather difficult to get an effective spy or plant into one of these guilds. When one is gotten in, they are generally found and removed easily if they slip up.

4. The 1st timers

General description:

This is the gamer guild that just popped over from some other game and is looking to try their hands at Travian.

Provided they don’t make the mistake of trying to take over more than one quad and focus their attention on building up in one general area, these kinds of alliances tend to be one step up from the bobcat.

With prior gaming experience generally comes the knowledge that there are certain formulas for success which can and should be learned as quickly as possible. This type of alliance generally does their homework, and learns which tactics work and which don’t quickly.

How to spot:

If it isn’t advertised on their alliance profile that they are a pre-existing gamer guild, the best way to find out is to open a dialogue with them and find out about their prior gaming experience.

Chances of being a relevant alliance:

Unless they are very good, the first round usually doesn’t see them as the #1 contender come end game. However, with proper alliances made this type of alliance can provide very solid support for end game contenders, or very stiff competition.

Diplomatic Relations to consider:

If you are larger and more experienced than this guild:

If they are geographically close, communications with the leadership is a must. If it’s their first time, they may be willing to come under the wing of a more experience alliance and can potentially make very strong allies.

If they can not be recruited by you en masse, it’s often best to remove them quickly. Either they are going to be an ally and a strong asset, or they are going to be a very large threat. While they may not be end game contenders, they will learn the game well enough to foil your end game plans if you give them a chance to do so.

If you are smaller and more experienced than they are:
Again, communications with their leaders is a must, this kind of alliance can potentially make a strong ally, and depending on the general mindset of the guild, they may be willing to take in you and your players in order to assimilate your experience and improve their game.

If they are closed to diplomacy, then you need to work to grow larger and more powerful than they are. If diplomacy still remains frigid, it’s time to rally you confeds and take them out, not doing so would be the height of folly.

5. The seasoned vets

General description:

This is potentially an end game contender. They’ve played Travian, they’ve taken their lumps, and they know their business. Added to the internal stability that comes with an experienced team of players, these alliances tend to be either very good allies, or very dangerous opponents.

How to spot:

Look for them in the top 20 alliances. This kind of alliance generally starts out with multiple wings very early and will usually consolidate down to a couple wings within 2 months or so. This is one of the ‘early meta’s’ that people sometimes complain about, and is one of only 2 general classes of early game meta’s which is likely to stick around.

Chances of being a relevant alliance:

Very high. Prior experience allows them to pull ahead early and dominate their chosen area and has also taught them the benefits of early removal of potential threats.

Diplomatic Relations to consider:

Unless you are also in the top 20 with them or look like you might get there, your chances of having some kind of solid relations with them are pretty slim short of making yourself a sufficiently difficult target for them to consider recruiting you.

If you aren’t big enough to get this alliance to think twice about attacking you, your best bet is to run a black hole defensive game against them. Don’t let them get anything but dead troops when they attack your members.

Don’t be farms. But also don’t be too aggressive as it will likely bring down the catapults. Just play defense, lots of defense while you build up sufficient military power and diplomatic ties to either get their attention as worthy allies, or to actually take them to war effectively along with multiple allies and whatever enemies the alliance has.

Travian Guild class:

I’m not going to go into details about this class because the main difference between it, and the seasoned vets from the gamer guild is simply player base. Gamer guilds ‘tend’ to have a larger base of players which can potentially allow them a tool for overcoming the mid and late game player attrition without sacrificing larger accounts.

The Travian guild can, and should, do the same thing, however they should do it from other servers, looking for experience players from servers which are wrapping up, and bringing them in to take over stale accounts is a possible way for the travian guild to overcome this.

Another thing of note, purely Travain guilds tend to have a little less internal stability than external gaming guilds. Don’t ask me why, that’s just something I’ve observed. It does not mean that they are going to fall apart necessarily, but there is a tendency to be more internal issues which need addressing.

Additional note suggested by Baghernia regarding Experienced gaming guilds:

*Travian gaming guild/Experienced players and such are more prone to treachery and the most dastardly spies.

*They've been around the block, and have gone to the next level of looking at this game. That is high end treachery is a part of the game.

*They have their own agenda and will use others to achieve it, other people are simply pawns in the game for them.

*This doesn't mean they're bad people, it just means they're looking at the game from a different perspective, see above paragraph.

Miscellaneous archetypes:

Last but not least are a few random archetypes which should be noted. However, these kinds of alliances are generally only relevant if they have the gaming experience and coordination to be dangerous.

Pirates, Rogues and Scoundrels:

6. Pirates

General description:

This is the ne plus ultra in kitten alliances.

Rather than being composed of new and inexperienced players, it’s composed of hard core gamers and vets who are generally playing this game for the sole purpose of making people cry and taking away their toys.

Usually this alliance will spend the first ½ to ¾ of the game with few, if any, alliances. Generally less than 3, and those alliances tend to be like minded and usually not close enough to pose serious competition for farming.

This alliance tends to be small in terms of overall player base, usually not more than about 60 or so people at the most. Where other alliances might seek diplomacy, this alliance considers anyone and everyone they don’t like to be fair game and they are usually spoiling for a fight.

How to spot:

0-3 allies, they farm everyone, and tend to be loud mouths and braggarts when they show up on the forums. Usually this is a ruse used to stir the pot and get people to attack them so they have an excuse (which they generally don’t need anyway) to tear someone’s arms off and beat them about the head with them.

Look for them to be at war, and usually winning for the first ½ of the server. If they continue to maintain very few allies, expect to see them get into a serious fight sometime after the ½ way mark of the server.

Chances of being a relevant alliance:

Depending upon the disposition of the leadership, the chances of being relevant fairly slim as they have a tendency to bite off more than they can chew early on.

When this kind of alliance forms from experienced vets who know their business when it comes to attacking aggressively and if they are also decent at stacking defenses, they can usually weather most early game wars and will usually dominate a small section of the map by the shear number of attacks and merciless removal of threats.

When this is the case, the pirate alliance begins to become more and more relevant. Essentially, the longer they survive through the game, and the more they dominate their area and don’t over extend, the higher their chances of being a serious threat to anyone not allied to them come end game.

Diplomatic Relations to consider:

If you can get solid relations with this kind of alliance, do so.

Pirate alliances shouldn’t necessarily be trusted lightly. For example, it’s unadvisable to leave them alone with your virgin teenage daughters and a 1/5th of Tequila.

They can prove to be very useful allies however, especially when seeking to remove potential end game competition. One should be careful as to how one goes about courting a pirate alliance, but when done well, they can be some of the most useful and beneficial allies in the game, and also some of the most treacherous.

If diplomatic options aren’t available or not desired, then banding together a coalition of multiple alliances which have issues with the pirate alliance and taking them out hard, fast and early is highly advisable.

Given a chance to dig in, the pirate alliance will make a nuisance of themselves, one which can potentially be large enough to cost you the entire game, or set your alliance back several months.

7. Rogues and Scoundrels:

General description:

Where the pirate alliance can be considered somewhat… over zealous when it comes to their chosen targets (everyone is a target), the Rogues and Scoundrels tend to be a tad more selective in their target selection.

The primary difference between the pirate and this class is that the Rogues and Scoundrels are somewhat more patient than the pirates. I.E. they take their time selecting their targets, and concentrate on seeking a strategic, crushing victory rather than zerging attacks.

I call this class rouges and scoundrels because they usually keep their alliance list very small, usually right up till the very end of the game (Rogues). This is not to say that they do not form alliances with other powers, only a fool would assume that a top 20 alliance is showing all of their allies on their alliance profiles.

Another thing to note, is that as part of the general persona of a Rogue requires a certain abrasiveness towards other alliances.

At the end of the day, this is a video game, and most of the top ranked players and top ranked alliance’s leaders are generally decent and likable people. If you buddy up to them too much and start actually liking them, then you are going to be less inclined to be ruthless in removing them as your competition should the need arise.

In order to maintain a separatist type attitude and prevent too much personal attachment to alliances which do not forward the aims and goals of this alliance, it is necessary to be something of a prick.

Which is sort of a chicken or the egg type situation, are they pricks because they are trying to keep themselves from being emotionally attached to other alliances, or are they emotionally unattached to other alliances because they are pricks?

The end result is the same either way, which makes that a philosophical point of no real consequence in the grand scheme of things.

How to spot:

Similar to the pirate, they have a very small circle of listed allies. However, they have a certain tendency to build up quietly for the first several months of the server, only fighting small occasional skirmishes.

Chances of being a relevant alliance:

Very strong when combined with solid leadership and a pre-existing team of players, provided they do not bite off more than they and their limited allies can chew.

Chapter 5: Forecasting another alliance’s goals and likely courses of action.

I’m sure this is going to come as a shock, but most alliances, and certainly a majority of the alliances in the top 20-40 are playing Travian with the hopes of winning or at least being on the winning team.

Most being the operative word in that sentence.

When evaluating another alliance, one of the most important, and sometimes most difficult evaluations to make is quite simply, ‘are these people playing to win?’

Please note that skill, ability, experience, and strategic planning have very little to do with the overall intention or objective of wanting to win.

The 1st and primary question is do they want to win and be a part of building a WW. Do not cloud your own judgment on this point by factoring in weather or not you think that they have a shot at succeeding.

That comes later when deciding if it is best to ally, appease, stay neutral, undermine or attack said alliance.

If the alliance does want to win, then they are likely to take actions which forward that objective. They will make confederations with other like minded alliances whom they believe will forward that objective.

They will go to war with alliances which are geographically close enough to threaten their objective when diplomacy fails, or when it is not desired.

When you know that they are trying to win, it becomes relatively easy to predict likely courses of action.

When you are able to add in knowledge of personal dispositions of the key players in the alliance, overall skill level of the member base, how much strategic planning they appear to be using (most demonstrated by a combination of diplomatic ties, village placements, and war time strategies), and the overall alliance archetype, you can get a usually very accurate idea of the possible courses of action that alliance is likely to take.

Starting with the overall goal of surviving the server and building a WW, one need only look at what the requisite actions are for an alliance to actually win to see many of the likely activities to which the alliance being evaluated are likely to take.

Such things as securing Natar points, grabbing strategic geographies, securing borders and adding defensive depth between their core and their competition, etc.

How much and how quickly these actions become evident or take place are the primary variable.

The main determining factors of this are a combination of leadership quality, player skill, external diplomacy, and external military action.

Any action which forwards the goal of winning is likely, the closer to the objective that action takes the alliance, the more likely they are to take it. Knowing this allows you to not only estimate their likely actions, allies, and enemies, it also gives you a selection of ways to leverage your own agenda.

This can be accomplished in many ways.

1. By approaching the alliance and offering to assist in some activity which would be mutually beneficial to both your alliance and theirs. Such as removing a common threat.
2. Working to counter their likely plans. This can be done a number of ways, crowding them out by setting up strong holds in or around areas which they likely have designs for, or by approaching their enemies with what you suspect their plans are and hatching a plan to counter it through direct military action or invasive settling practices.
3. Approaching their enemies and encouraging those enemies to take action to prevent said alliance from accomplishing their likely plans.

A word of caution, never be so sure that you are right about the other alliances disposition, options, plans, etc, that you blind yourself to the possibility of being wrong.

Through the course of a server, many things change, including which plans and strategies are available or desirable by a given alliance.

Further, just because you think that action ‘A’ is the best / most logical course of action, doesn’t mean the other alliance feels the same way. Don’t expect that logic or an advantage which is obvious to you is going to dictate other alliances actions.

Don’t expect everyone to do what you would do in their place. There are too many variables, and you should be regularly re-assessing the competition looking for clues as to what they are up to and what their current set of goals and strategies are.

Don’t be afraid to be wrong in your assessments. Accept that it is a possibility, make your best assessment, and go with it until you have evidence which points you in a different direction.

Then there is the other end of the coin, the alliance that plays not to win, but to prevent someone else from winning. This is a very different beast and tends to be a lot harder to predict the likely actions of such alliances.

Sometimes the alliances goals are merely to prevent alliance XYZ from winning at all costs, other times it is simply the creation of sufficient chaos to make the game entertaining.

Alliances which are dedicated to this anti-win goal are rare in the top 20, and most don’t start out with the goal of not trying to win. This usually comes about when an alliance has been thwarted in their goals of winning and no longer feels that they have a chance to succeed, yet still have sufficient player base and military capacity to cause problems for whoever they feel is responsible for their lost chances.

This is the vengeful alliance with nothing to loose, and as such, they are very dangerous to those who want to win, provided said alliance possesses sufficient skill and ability to wage a war.

There is another rare instance of the anti-WW alliance. This one quite simply doesn’t care about winning to begin with. They have from the outset as their sole purpose the bringing of chaos and creating wars among alliances to weaken everyone’s chances that they can.

This is by far the most difficult alliance to predict, as they may very well look like they are trying to win, when in reality, they are setting themselves up to try and prevent others from winning.

Their goals tend to be war, their victories and ‘winning’ to this kind of alliance is solely based upon military dominance and the destruction of WW competitors.

By separating themselves from the goal of building a WW, they open themselves to a much wider range of political and military strategy, especially if they manage to remain relevant come mid and late in a server.

Being unencumbered with having to take and hold a WW gives them a certain free ticket to wreak havoc without ever having to risk ‘loosing.’

This game is what you make of it, and one needn’t have the goal of building a WW to enjoy playing…

Chapter 6: Some general observations about the Travian Forums

- Applications for Alliance

As someone who has been in and lead top 10 alliances and a couple different servers, I can honestly say that I have never recruited someone based upon a post in the applications for alliance thread, nor have I met any other top alliances which use this forum as a recruiting tool, if your hope is to get into one, this isn’t the way to do it.

While the following advice might be frowned upon by the Travain management / administrators, I’m going to say it anyway;

Never, never, never, never post an application here, especially if you in-game name and your forum name are the same.

I’m pretty sure that the original intent of this sub forum was to facilitate players who are looking to join decent alliances. While this kind of forum may well work nicely with other types of online games, for whatever reason that isn’t the case in Travian.

To give an analogy of what happens in practice when a new player posts in these forums:

Imagine for a second that you are a very attractive young woman of slender build who is all alone. You have zero experience in self defense, no locks on your doors, and live in an isolated home on a dead end street well away from any neighbors who can see, or care, what you do or what happens to you.

Being lonely, you decide to take out a personal add online.

This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem for you except that you have decided to attach a mostly nude picture of yourself, your full name, home address, social security number, and include the fact that you don’t lock your doors at night.

This is obviously an unwise thing to do… but it gets worse because it turns out that the online dating service you are advertising in is read by an obscenely high number of rapists, ex cons, murders, thieves and serial killers who all happen to have a fetish for young vulnerable women.

Sure there is a chance that you might find a decent guy to keep you company… chances are also good that Sweeney Todd will show up, kill you and your new boyfriend and hawk all your valuables down at the local pawn shop in order to buy some more knives.

I can’t stress enough that I’m NOT exaggerating. Posting in this forum is very likely to get you assaulted. Yes, it’s technically frowned upon by the game admins, but it happens… a lot. Don’t advertise that you are alive and a potential victim because someone will try to make you one.

If you are new to the game, the last thing you want to do is advertise that fact in this sub forum. I’m not saying don’t use the forums, I’m definitely not saying don’t ask questions, but do it in the questions section of the forums (preferably after you’ve used the search function).

If you are new and looking to join an alliance, scout potential alliances and make an application in game. Yes, look at the map and see what alliances are around you. Passively putting out a resume isn’t likely to get you into a good alliance. Solid communication skills and a proactive approach are far more likely to give you success.

Look at the map around you, figure out which alliances are close, read their alliance profiles, check their ranks, ect, and then apply to them directly if they look like they might be worthwhile.

Most recruitment for top alliances that I’ve seen takes place either IRL, in game, or on external alliance forums. Not in the main Travian forums.

- Alliance introductions & impartations

Pretty much the same situation as on the alliance applications… Only difference is that rather than just being one girl, it’s five high school cheerleaders, their coach and a couple of adolescent sex-crazed guys who are traveling to a cabin in the woods for a summer getaway…

Again, not really adivesable…

- Politics & Diplomacy

Welcome to the Travian tabloids.

Yes, I said it, tabloids. This forum is where people come to talk smack and attempt to out propaganda the competition. There is no higher purpose on this forum than chest thumping and smack talking.

To understand this forum, one need only know one word. Truthiness

One need not have facts and figures to back up your position in this forum. Sure, you’ll get lambasted and crucified if you don’t at least have an appearance of supporting evidence, but in the end, it’s all propaganda anyway and facts and figures can be manipulated until they ‘feel’ right.



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