Browser-based massively multiplayer strategy game Travian is one of the most engaging semi-real-time strategy games I’ve run across in ages. The game involves conflict between player controlled empires all strategizing to build up economic and military might by occupying land resources and constructing and building armies. At the start of the game, you choose to be one of three character types: Romans, Teutons, or Gauls; each with their respective strengths and weaknesses. Playing is free, but there’s an enhanced set of pay features that simplify game play without unbalancing the odds against those that play for free. Understanding how the game works and the strategies employed by other players will help you dominate your section of the Travian universe. While these technically aren’t cheats, understanding can provide an edge over other players.
Understanding Travian Player Types
Players of Travian are loosely divided into two main playing styles: Defenders and Attackers. The way you play the game and the character type you select combine to determine your play strategy.
Defenders are someone who attacks rarely or never. The main goal of a defender is to maintain and prevail against attackers. Defenders primarily focus on building defensive units and a strong defensive army. Most Defenders are the Gaul type character, although occasionally you may encounter a Defender who is playing as Roman.
Attackers are frequently raiding nearby players. The primary strategy of an attacker is to build up a strong offensive army for raiding. Teuton character types are often attackers.
Player Strategies – Booming and Rushing
Most Travian players start with one strategy and stick with it. The two most common strategies, for both attacking and defending are Booming and Rushing.
Booming is a strategy of building up your economics in advance of building a strong military. You expand your economic might as much as possible and then gradually build your army. This works for both attackers and defenders.
Rushing is a strategy of building up an army to gain power through military might. Economy is ignored in favor of a powerful force for either attacking nearby players or defending your turf.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Booming and Rushing
Rushing relies on your ability to steal resources from reasonably defenseless players following a Booming strategy. If you can pull it off, you can build a strong military and still gain resources by acquiring them from others. The potential downside to this strategy is losing. If you lose early on, you don’t have the economic backing to recover and build back up, leaving yourself vulnerable to attack with no way to gain ground.
Booming might look like the conservative approach. Think of it as the Ant to Rushing’s Grasshopper. You start by building an economy, which makes you somewhat open to attack from a Rushing strategy. The key thing to remember, is that by building an economy first, you can more quickly recover from losses and replace assets and build an army. Most of the people who eventually dominate their corner of Travian succeed by Booming first and then shifting to an attack strategy after they’ve built a strong economy.