Soggy Sam Edit
Greetings, I am Soggy Sam, spokesperson for the denizens of the infamous Soggy Swamp. Not a Swamper by birth, I was once an accountant in the Gaulish Capital, but many years ago, as a punishment for my many miscalculations, I was sent out to take a census of the Soggy Swamp. Here I fell hopelessly in love with the beauteous Gertrude Thudhilda, and so here I will remain forever more.
There is no getting around the fact that the denizens of the Soggy Swamp are brutish, hairy and inarticulate. When in their right minds, most of them have little interest in the world outside the swamp, unless The Black Grog is flowing. Under the influence of that dread beverage, any behavior imaginable is possible, and drunken swampers sometimes wander out into nearby abandoned villages and make off with anything that catches their fancy.
Ah, The Black Grog. Thick and gritty, fermented from the roots of skunk cabbages and finely-ground sweet peat moss, it's a beverage that not only puts hair on your chest, but has been known to cause the drinker to grow gills and extra limbs. But these spurious features are typically reabsorbed within a few months, so it's alright.
The primary recreation of the swampers is the Sow Toss. Many senior Swampers take their names from their prowess at the Sow Toss. Our fearless (and brainless) leader, Sven Thudolaf, for example, takes his name from the occasion upon which he flattened his great uncle Olaf into the mud by hitting him with three sows thrown from a range of 40 meters within a span of three seconds. Olaf was quickly revived with a swig of The Black Grog, but the sows were permanently disgruntled. Still Sven keeps these three silent sows at his side to this day, to remind him of his glory.
Whether or not Sven is actually our leader is somewhat ill defined. There are no formal ranks and roles in the Swamp. Sven's opinions just seem to given a bit more weight than those of most other people. Except maybe Moggie Thudharold. It seems to me that no important decision is ever made without Moggie's tacit approval. Tacit because I don't know if she ever speaks at all. I think she speaks to other people, but I've only been in the Swamp for twelve years, and I think she still regards me as too much of a stranger to speak too.
My early attempts to convince Sven and Moggie that joining the "Clan II" alliance would be beneficial to the swamp were not notably successful. Moggie just spat, and Sven just asked me to find out if you have pigs. I'm not sure why he wanted to know, but, as it happens, I was informed by Dean Booboo that you have no pigs, and no further progress seemed possible.
But given the nebulous nature of leadership in the Swamp, it occurred to me that of all the swampers, I was the obvious person "in charge" of foreign affairs. When young swampers, who sometimes take an interest in such matters, want to know anything about the outside world, they ask me. When strangers enter the swamp, I am inevitably the one asked to talk to them. Though for the most part I am respected only as Gertrude Thudhilda's exotic pet, in matters of foreign relations, I believe I am free to speak for the Swamp and act for the swamp.
So I have entered the Swamp into this glorious alliance. The Soggy Swamp is not large or powerful, but I believe we have much to contribute and will have more as time passes.
Something Fishy Edit
Welcome, welcome welcome.....zzzzzzzzz.
Ooo what's that smell?
Soggy mud patches and centuries old moss. Mnh, reminds me of some non to exotic drink....Yeh, it does leave a rather foulsome taste and has some rather devious side effects, amongst them Hairy palms (many by the way, not the usual 2) and a loathsome meal for the pigs to stay away from. Last time I remember seeing the pigs, they were flying in cloud cuckoo land, trying to impress the judges in X factor while they were doing foxtrots and sambas.
Now then as I was saying, welcome, welcome welcome..... have a jolly fine time and we encourag initiative, no late time keeping and the necessity to ensure you have a sitter for your account, for those times when you need to go and participate in imbibing The Black Grog. So do ensure Moggie and Gertrude get sent on some venture to attract some new resources.
Great work, great prose, and the alliance is the better for it!
Which of the 2 are you on about?
Soggy Sam Edit
Greetings again, all my dear allies.
While I was discussing joining this alliance with Dean BooBoo, I asked a couple of the young swampers to bring some gifts to the alliance. I had feared that he would be reluctant to ally with a swamp, which is, in many ways, quite unlike the settlements that dot the landscape of Travian. For instance, I know it is conventional to trade in iron, but it is quite impossible to mine iron in the swamp. Any holes dug in the ground immediate fill with water and any iron brought in from outside immediately rusts. So I sent instead several jugs of The Black Grog, hoping it would be an adequate substitute. I was almost undone by this choice, as it seems to have stunned him speechless for several days, leaving me to wonder if by exporting that toxic beverage I had slain a possible ally, but in time he did recover enough to invite me into the alliance, so I suppose it was alright in the end.
I cautioned him at the time that he was not to entertain the four young swampers I sent him as honored guests, but rather was to put them to work at difficult and unpleasant tasks, such as mucking out stables. In the Soggy Swamp, adults rarely do any particularly strenuous work. All hard labor falls to the young men and women. I feared that if Dean BooBoo treated them as guests, they would decide they had been promoted to "adult" status and never be good for anything ever again. Also, he might find it hard ever to get rid of them again, as even the smallest courtesy would seem like royal treatment to them.
I was pleased that Dofro, Samesize, Hairy and Kitten did return on time, but was slightly worried about their enthusiasm about how good life was in the village they had visited. It seems they were given shovels to use to clean the stables, instead of their bare hands, and that they were fed before the dogs, rather than being given only the scraps the dogs left behind. They were bubbling over with enthusiasm to make other expeditions to the outside world, and see what other wonders might exist.
I hardly wanted these youths to be wandering out into strange cities. There is no telling what harm and confusion they might cause. Luckily Sven Thudolaf got wind of this talk, and put his foot down. He allowed them to visit some of the villages surrounding the Soggy Swamp, but exclusively the abandoned ones.
It has long been my practice to keep careful records of my observations of the villages in the vacinity of the Soggy Swamp, and I had long noticed that a very large number of them seem complete inactive. Two such lie directly on the borders of the Soggy Swamp. These many empty villages have become a new source of recreation for the young swampers, who slip out whenever they may to explore these places, full of unfamiliar wonders like solid buildings and transparent water. They bring home all sorts of odds and ends to show off to their friends. Dofro and Samesize brought home a bathtub yesterday, and an entire haystack the day before. But they quickly lose interest in these wonders, and allow them to sink away into the mud.
I often wonder what all could be found if you could only see what was below the mud of the Soggy Swamp. There is a place where a gold-plated pole sticks up out of the mud. I've been told that this is the tip of the steeple of an opera house that was built by Sven Thudolaf's father or grandfather (the story varies or perhaps they were the same man), who had heard of such things from a traveler. The opera house quickly sunk into the mud, however, as does just about everything that does not keep moving. I'm not sure that this story is true. It would be unusual for an opera house to have a steeple, but, then, it would be unusual for anything in this swamp to be usual.
In any case, the young swampers have been complaining that it is difficult to visit some of the more distant villages and still have time to do their chores. Earlier this week, a few of them sighted a man riding a horse while out on one of their expeditions. I'm afraid they stole the horse and brought it back. The horse immediately sunk so deep into the mud as to be unable to move. They dubbed it an impractical beast, and abandoned it. It took me and Moggie Thudharold (who must have a soft spot for impractical beasts that I had never before suspected) most of the day to drag it back to solid ground and let it go.
The youngsters, however, did not give up the idea. They are working on perfecting the art of hog riding. Several have perfected a technique of standing on two hogs, one foot on each, holding in each hand a leash. The hogs of the Soggy Swamp, accustomed to being picked up and hurled great distances, seem to consider this hog riding a relatively minor indignity and cooperate gamely.
So far too few swampers have learned hog riding for Sven Thudolaf to allow them to go unaccompanied to visit the further villages, so they still have to be accompanied by swampers on foot, but likely this method will allow them fetch back even greater quantities of useless junk. I sometimes dream that if enough junk is sunk into the swamp, then eventually it will be possible to build buildings upon that foundation, and a new city, a city of canals, like Venice, could arise from the Soggy Swamp. But that's absurd. The Swampers would hate it. Where would they keep their pigs?
All this exploring of the outside world has some of the elder swampers getting quite grumpy and complaining about the foolishness of youth. But they all seem confident that the young folks well eventually realize that, be it every so wet, there is no place like the swamp. And, I suppose, they are right.
Soggy Sam Edit
After playing this game for several weeks, I've decided that although it is addictive, it is not really all that much fun. I've done pretty well. In the short time since I joined this alliance I've grown from position 32 in the list to position 16. I've founded a second village and now what?
The game mechanics seem biased toward attack. In real life a small force in a well-fortified defensive position can hold out against quite a large attacking force. Not in Travian. You haven't got a chance without approximately equal forces no matter how good your walls. If you are a smaller player defending against a bigger player, you best chance is probably to remove your defensive force from your city when an attack is coming in, because, although defensive armies are quite easily killed in Travian, empty buildings are much harder to damage.
So basically, nobody but the very biggest players has any sense of security. The smaller player is mostly stuck using psychological tactics to prevent being erased. Joining a decent alliance is one good trick. I question whether, in fact, Clan II could offer me much in the way of a really effective defense if I was attacked. I suspect only a few players have any significant offensive armies, and I doubt if they would really be able to manage a well-coordinated attack against a large and canny enemy. But it my being in a decent alliance adds a degree of uncertainty in a potential attackers mind, making him less likely to attack me.
The most important tactic for small players to build huge crannies. The cranny is the only meaningful defense for a small player. Build it up to be 1.5 times the size of your warehouse/grannary, and nobody can get any resources from attacking you, so likely they will get bored and go away. On another server I had a player 20 times bigger than me who didn't get bored and go away. Instead he tried to send in catapults to reduce me to a farm. Deeply stupid. Since I had a level 10 cranny, I could build more. I built eight level 1 crannies (they cost next to nothing and can be built in 12 minutes). The only way he could ever farm me was if he could destroy my crannies with a catapult, which can only be done by random catapulting. With all these decoy crannies, most of his attacks destroyed worthless and easily replaced crannies. The others destroyed my warehouse and grannary, making me harder to farm, not easier. Eventually he gave the whole thing up, having wasted an amazing amount of time to achieve absolutely nothing. He never got a single resource from me, but it cost me a lot too. So crannies, huge crannies, are the most powerful defense for a small player, but the most you can do is deny the attacker any chance of getting any benefit from their attack. You can't really defend yourself.
Another good trick for smaller players is to build lots of spy units (scout/pathfinder/whatever). I think every city should have about 10 permanently stationed. Any sane person considering an attack on you, is going to scout you first, to be sure their attacking force is sufficient to wipe out whatever you have defending it. 10 spys will reliably knock out scouting parties of up to 5, which is about the most that people typically send out. So they lose their scouts and get no information about you back. Not knowing what you have, they may be more reluctant to attack. Or they might go mad with anger and hit you will overwhelming force, but if they can do that, they you never had a chance anyway. Again, it's more of a psychological defense than a real defense.
So, since there aren't any real defenses, all travian players are permanently insecure. They are all trying not to be noticed by people bigger and tougher than them. This means that there is, essentially no community of travian players. Players do not talk to their neighbors. Everyone is too afraid of everyone else.
Trade also forms no basis for alliance. Since there are only a few resources, and everyone builds all of them with equal ease, trade gets used to just balance out temporary shortages and surpluses. No lasting trading relationships are formed. If the game mechanics were set up so some people had huge supplies of some resources, but couldn't do much in the way of other resources, then there would be a basis for forming strong trade relationships and strong alliances. There really isn't as the game is designed now.
The bias toward attack means you win the game by attacking. I managed much faster growth than anyone in my neighborhood by carefully monitoring the daily population of every city around me and farming all that had been inactive for four or more days relentlessly (unless they were members of a reasonably strong alliance). I typically had 15 to 20 farms going at all times. There was no really compelling reason to only attack the inactives. Presumably if I'd been farming an active user, they'd either get pissed and delete their city or get smart and build up their cranny. I only ever encountered one player who had a meaningful cranny in their city. But I find farming little guys too mean for my taste. Yet that's how you have to play to win the game. Attack people so much weaker than you that they can't defend themselves, and avoid attracting the wrath of anyone sufficiently bigger than you to do the same to you. If I'd been willing to play mean, I could have doubled my growth rate. Because there are plenty of inactives around, I did pretty well without that, but the winners of this game are going to be people willing to play mean. Why should I wish to play such a game? I'm a cooperative guy at heart, and I believe that cooperative strategies win in real life. Why should I spend my time in a fantasy world where the winning strategy is for the strong to prey mercilessly on the weak?
Actually, the one thing about travian that would REALLY interest me would be to do an analysis of the play style on the different server. Based on very little anecdotal experience, my impression has been that the game on the .us server is much more aggressively played than the game on this international server. You could generate statistics on the number of attacks on the different national servers, with the international server as a control, and get some very interesting number on how different people from different countries comport themselves in this world where aggression is so tempting. The statistics on what proportions of people choose to be Gauls versus Teutons would give you some clue on their level of aggression coming into the game, and the statistics on their behavior after they are in the game would give you some idea how the environment modified their behavior. The results would no doubt be interesting, but not necessarily very easy to interpret.
Soggy Sam Edit
So anyway, I'm going to spend some time destroying my crannies, send my troops away someplace. Members of the alliance are welcome to start farming my villages starting tomorrow.
Bye bye. Lots of luck. Don't drink too much of The Black Grog.
Soggy Sam Edit
The Clan II description says I should appoint a sitter from the clan. I'm not doing that. Travian rules say that a sitter must play an account for the advantage of that account. Nobody wants to do that. I think to farm an account that you are sitting for would be a violation of travian rules and could get you banned. Likewise to send all it's resources out to yourself or other alliance members.
Hey Soggy Sam, I'm sorry to see you leave, I liked your original story line it was very good.
I was going to suggest send me your army and all your resources.
But before you do anything, and let yourself be farmed, set up one of us as a sitter, and what we can do every 3 top 4 days change the sitter, so that we can maximise the resource. That way we won't break the rules, as one person then isn't set up as a permanent sitter.
Found it. I didn't expect to find something in the blog area about somebody leaving.
Sam is still in the alliance (and there are good reasons for keeping him in it).
Reinforcements in Soggy Swamp did a lot of damage to a raider (no - never mind who!). Someone must have sent them. PLEASE WITHDRAW THEM!!
When those reinforcements have gone, all of us in the main area may farm Soggy Sam's villages (so that the resources do not get wasted or go to an enemy) until it disappears.
Too bad Sam did not discuss his departure. There would have been no harm appointing a sitter, someone such as Steel_Eye much too far away to be bothered raiding. A sitter could extend the occasional resource field and send an hour's worth of resources to the central pool every day. A sitter could create defensive troops and send them immediately as Reinforcements for other villages.
(However, a sitter does not have access to the account and cannot therefore appoint another sitter.)
Now we can do nothing except farm the villages while they last. And because they will not grow we cannot expect them to last more than a few weeks before Travian management realises that they are inactive and kills them - we are lucky with deVillage but we lost Macragge quite early.
If anybody has an outside contact with Sam, please ask him to reconsider and come back and appoint a sitter or two from the west wing or the north-west wing, as a gesture of friendship to his alliance mates.
He didn't come back. There was no sitter. Those potential farms eventually disappeared.
Similar sad departure on another server recently. Departing former officer of an alliance had the decency to send a MM to his allies, but his dozen or more villages were gone in a couple of days despite this correspondence:
P.... 08/10/08 RE: [M] Good Bye - please, NO 02:09:41
You cannot do much as a new account.
It would be better for the alliance and the WW if you kept on playing so that most of your production can be used.
I suggest that you cancel the order closing the account and keep on being really useful. ____________ p... wrote:
I deleted my account and I would like play other account help ww account . thank for everybody in my alliance .
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