Travian: How to Be a Dominant Player
My first time on a Travian server (7 years ago) was an exercise in frustration and fear. I joined the server and was soon demolished by an experienced player. I decided to learn more about the game and also try to become the 'alpha male' in my region. If we were to summarize the entire article, we'd just say "build troops and attack", but I'll share some more ideas and hope you'll contribute your own.
Does it matter what race you choose?
Years ago I would choose to play as a Teuton, since I'm a very aggressive and active player and it was easy to dominate my 7x7 with my Teuton army. Later in the years I discovered that the Theutates Thunders (the top Gaul troop type) are indeed fast and nice to raid with, while now I love playing as a Roman, since my raided resources are enough to keep on building my army and also use the 'double build' feature a Roman race player has. Pretty useful later in the game, when you have to build as many villages as possible.
Anyway ... you can play as anything you fancy. The charts are dominated by all kinds of players, proving once again that, as long as you are active and determined, it doesn't matter if you're playing as a Teuton, Gaul or Roman.
Day one is a good day to start building your army
There are many guides claiming that, if you're a Roman or Gaul you should focus on the resource fields for few weeks and only afterwards start building troops.
My tactic is a bit different. I play as Roman, but I start making troops since day 1 on the server. Depending on your position on the server (and if the neighbours are still in beginner protection), you can postpone this till day 2 or 3 (so that you're not keeping troops idle in the village, with nothing to raid). Usually I start few days later than the rest of the players and this allows me to have some near villages that are fresh out of the protection.
Don't be scared to give up your own protection, I usually have a small cranny up fast and then just focus on the raids. I like to set my Gold Club as soon as possible (it costs 100 gold, you'll probably have to pay for it, if you don't sell items fast) since it allows me to 1. set my troops for evasion (if anyone attacks, they can take resources, but my troops are there) and 2. set a farm list, which makes it easier to raid other villages.
I would rather lose some resources, but keep my troops safe. I also like to catch some animals (big ones) from the oases, so that, if anyone is too curious to send small raids, they'll have their troops killed by the animals. Usually, as soon as you have few players lose troops (and get some numbers in your defense rating, people will most likely avoid you.
So, start making troops as soon as possible and have it as a priority to build few EACH DAY.
As mentioned before, I usually give up my beginner protection to be able to attack other players. Most my resources are invested back in my barracks and it means more troops, which bring in more resources.
If you're doing it right, while the resources fields are bringing in maybe 10k/day (in the beginning) your troops can bring in at least this number and sometimes even more. In my case, after few weeks of playing, the troops get me at least 4-5 times more resources than what my village is producing, which is not that bad.
Attack oases (this also trains your hero), and raid anything with a 'pulse' near your village and farther away. Idle troops don't matter, make them active and raid as much as you can. Reinvest resources in the resource fields (to make sure you are producing when you're sleeping - so are inactive in the game) and also build some more troops.
Population makes you a wonderful farm
I always have neighbours who think that, high population will make other players fear them. When I choose a new farm, I look at all records (population, attack rank, defense rank and hero rank). This shows me if I have to deal with someone who's strong or just a nice juicy farm who's got a lot of resources for my troops.
If you have troops in the village, it will be a harder for someone to attack you (or not worth it). If you have few soldiers or none, you're getting right there on the 'menu'.
At the end of the day Travian is a population game, but you should make sure the troops are in great numbers and you're also using them a lot. Either to build up big defenses or to be the main attacker in your region.
If they fear you, they can't dominate you
My main goal on the server is to make sure in my area NO ONE is stronger than me. I attack the villages that are close to mine, even if it means having a lot of my troops killed. Troops can be built again (which is easy, with high level Barracks), my hero gets a lot of experience and I force some of the players to either delete accounts or just fear my troops. Players who fear you, won't come to raid your resources or cause any trouble.
Make sure to hit them with huge amounts of troops with solve two problems: they cause a lot of damage to his defense and also show how strong you are and who'd they mess with if they'd have any .. ideas.
Build troops and raid till the end
By having a lot of troops hitting other villages/oases on a daily basis allows you to grow faster (both population/army wise) and also helps you control the area with an iron fist. Most top alliance are looking for excellent players (and you'll be one), this will allow you to experience the game in a top team and enjoy it till the end.
Make a mark on your zone since the beginning and you'll have a nice game for the entire server duration. Don't forget: troops, troops and some more troops.
I hope you enjoyed my little guide. Please feel free to share your own ideas and tips. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.