Strategy games are of many types, some are fast-paced and have an instant response, and some drag on for quite a while. Some ask for obligatory micro-transactions to give you an edge over other players in the server, while some don’t even ask for that – you’d want to pay the developers your money just because the game is so darn good.
There is one such slow-paced game that is really well made, which follows a surprisingly barebones outlook and gameplay is Travian. It amazed me that I had to ask myself, “How and why am I enjoying this?”
First released in 2004, Travian is a point-and-click strategy game where you merely point at still images and click to upgrade buildings and resource fields, attack/raid/reinforce other players’ villages, trade with other villages, etc. The game has five tribes, three of which are playable. The three tribes are the Gauls – the defensive tribe with troops that have amazing defence attributes, but unimpressive offence figures; the Teutons – the offensive tribe that has cheap troops, scary offence figures, but takes a gust of wind to throw down their defences; and the Romans – the incredibly expensive, but incredibly powerful in the late-game tribe that costs a kidney to build an army with.
The other two tribes, run by artificial intelligence, are the Natars and Nature. The Natars are resource farms you can raid early game, that hold artefacts that you have to steal mid-game and build wonders of the world that you have to chief, conquer, and hold. Nature troops only stay in unoccupied oases that give you bonus resource production.
Travian has several ongoing servers, each of which run for an entire year. Artefacts usually arrive five months after the server is launched, and wonders of the world arrive two months before the server ends.
You would expect this game to follow a pay-to-win pattern, but it necessarily doesn’t. Whatever benefits you could’ve gotten by paying for gold in Travian can be earned by auctioning off items you earn from sending your hero to adventures. You can also use your hero to add bonus offence and defence strengths as well as bonus resource production rates and the hero’s own attack/defence strength.
Travian has been out for quite a while. Even in the 15 years it’s been out, Travian manages to stay alive and keep growing. Sure, it can drag on, but it has enough charm to keep you playing this game until the server’s clock finally counts down to all zeroes.
Aka is a tiny bleep on the world’s radar, and he finds peace in knowing it. Ruin his peace by poking him on firstname.lastname@example.org