The Men Who Can

TF2 hasn’t been the only thing eating into my social life this week. Prompted by a game designer friend, I’ve found myself signing up for the broswer-based strategy game Travian (or Travian if you’re in the US) on the x3 server. I’m enjoying myself. I like it enough to have analysed it enough to realise why – eventually – I’ll stop playing it. But, for now, it’s a kick which is working its way into my daily routine.

Here's one I'm building earlier.

It borrows heavily from every kind of Settlers it can find (Both Blue Byte and Catan varieties), and – in the words of my designer friend – is a little too good to be a (mostly – there are extra payment options for bonuses) free webgame. Now in its third version, the idea is, you start as a village, and grow by building shit. You can trade between other villages, gain troops, go to war and build alliances – the whole basic wargame thing. Despite the cartoon finish, it’s surprisingly deep – you don’t just build (say) an academy to train troops in a village, but you can then upgrade it to level 20. Since similar decisions need to be made about all your constructions, what you decide to do next becomes of paramount importance. I’ll be writing more about my game another time, and my fledgling alliance’s scrambling to avoid being crushed by Bigger Boys, in the future, but for now I suggest you could do far worse than play it. Just be sure to use the three-days new-player grace to build your economy as quickly as you can.

Yes, this is a shameless attempt to recruit friendly tribes.


  1. Adam Hepton says:

    From my experience of Travian, all that happens is that you work your arse off and build your villages, join a nice alliance and then one day a bigger alliance comes along and says “Join us or be destroyed”, at which point you either join or be destroyed. Repeat until only two main alliances remain, and most people have either given up or lost their sanity.

  2. ApocalypseCow says:

    Reminds me very much of “ogame” and other civ-sims out there only this one isn’t set in space, which is a nice change.

    So what’s your username on this, I’ve set myself up a villag (as the game decides to call it) and am keen to start diplomatacising up the locals.

  3. Troy Goodfellow says:

    I went through a big Travian phase earlier this year and ended up in one of those alliance spirals. One guy called in his literal big brother, and a two front war developed, etc. It stopped being fun when I would have to send my troops on a long march to avoid them getting killed by the attack I knew was coming in 12 hours time.

  4. nixon says:

    I’ll join up, but who are you ingame? It’s been a while since I’ve played so it should be fun getting back into it. I ended up stopping before because of the few neighbors who made it their point to let me grow to a decent size and then proceed to pound each of my buildings to rubble.

  5. Joshua Henderson says:

    Oh no… you are about to say good bye to your life for a good while. I’ve been playing on the s1 US server since March now and it has been super fun. But it has definitely taken a lot of time from my life, some waking up in the middle of the night to send off scheduled attacks, and quick checks in between classes. Only reason I play though is because a bunch of my RL(real life) friends started together which just allows us all to keep in contact and have fun with one another. It has been fun though and we are now the #12 alliance on the server. Hope you enjoy it!! Oh and keep up the good work here at RPS. I love this site.

  6. Leo says:

    I’ve been playing this for about a week. It’s basically BORING. You should be playing Duels instead, and using my referral as a sign up!

    Like so – link to


  7. Markus says:

    TF2 is great, how did you get bored so quickly? My TF2 server is also getting colocation service from Nationwide Bandwidth so we get tons of people playing.

  8. The_B says:

    I don’t think they got bored as such. More their employment requires them to play other things now and again.

    …err, that is correct, r…right?

  9. Rock, Paper, Shotgun - PC Gaming » Blog Archive » Writing to Reach You: Two Months With Travian says:

    […] As I previously mentioned, I’ve been playing web-based strategy MMO/wargame/thing Travian. What’s surprised me was I played it so long. It even astounded Comrade Rossignol, who couldn’t quite believe that his perpetual gaming-mayfly housemate was still having a quick prod at that web browser game when he wandered into the room. In fact, since I was playing on the x3 speed server, my condensced experience would have equaled six months in the standard, even more sedate game. […]

  10. Thectan says:

    with my expiriance of the game, travian does take a lot of time, but when you really get into the swing of things, it can really get fun.
    at the moment, on uk3, i am getting destroyed by an unruly alliance, whose leader cannot stop them from attacking me!!!
    my alliance is growing slowly, but i have decreased anbout 200 population!
    a word of advice, do not get on the wrong side of one of the biggest alliances on the game! it can be painful!

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