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Romans, Teutons and Gauls ... oh my!
Travian proves to be another face in the crowd of browser-base strategies
By: Blair Morris | Game Data | 7:23am, February 22, 2006
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Benjamin Franklin once described insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. When it comes to playing multiple browser-base, strategy games hoping to find that one that stands out from the rest, Franklin’s terminology of insanity certainly goes hand-and-hand. Though, could Travian be that beckon of light in the dense fog of the genre? Unfortunately, it’s not. With that said, Travian still presents to the individual gamer a well developed game, and something to pass the time as all of us wait for our sanity to resurface.

In Travian, you start off by choosing between three tribes -- Romans, Teutons and Gauls -- as well as you starting position on the world map. What you’ll be doing, once the registration of your account is competed, is building up your village within the Travian world to become the most powerful in the lands. Through the process of becoming an empire unto yourself, you’ll be selecting from various building to build and upgrade their levels, as well as, purchasing different units to help you in the player verse player realm of the game. Of course all of these actions are fueled by four resources you’ll need to gather -- wood, clay, iron and crops -- along with having the patience to wait a certain amount of time for every action you choose to perform. If you’re the kind of gamer that wants instant action, or the same reoccurring time for you actions, look else where because in Travian, the amount of time you’ll be waiting changes from each level your buildings, harvesting and anything else, gains.

The interface and navigation of the Travian is pretty simple to learn. The navigation consisting of five options -- village overview, village centre, world map, statistics and reports/messages -- and the main game interface takes place within three of the selectable options from the navigation. The village overview option allows you to maintain and build upon any resources surrounding your village centre. The village centre navigation opens the option to build upon and maintain the building and units within your village of possession. The world map acts as a guide so you can view any neighbors (friendly or hostile) as well as finding certain target, or lands to claim to begin an additional village. Statistics of course shows where you stand amongst other’s in the chosen server of your account. And of course, reports and messages acts as a shared navigation. Reports are sent to you with any happenings within your villages, and messages are of course your in-game mailbox that you can send messages, or receive messages, from other players. Travian is without a doubt a simple game to learn for anyone not too familiar with any aspect of its genre. With a very basic navigation and interface, the game is one of the more friendly to those without much experience in browser-base strategies.

In terms of actually game play, there are only a handful of main activities within the game: gathering resources, constructing buildings, training units, explore/claiming lands, and attacking others. The game really offers nothing more in depth or original to really make you excited about logging-in each, or every other, day. Your only hope for excitement stems from the community of gamers. This is based from meeting new people, building upon your gaming friends, or joining others in the dislike of that certain someone. With over one-hundred thousand registered players (inactive and multi accounts amongst those) chances are you can find someone that relates to the three mentioned types above.

When it comes to the story behind Travian, it plays to the fundamental role playing type. You’re given a back story of the game, that is set around ancient Roman times, and any wish for the story to continue in actual game play is in your hands entirely. What is meant by that is, if you’re looking for any added addition to the story, you’ll either have to role play with others and come up with it, or let it die inside your untapped imagination. Though you won’t be blamed for any lack of imagination put forth into Travian, since fore anyone that doesn’t speak, or can’t read, German, may find it hard to figure out even the first line of the Travian story (though we’re told other languages are in the works).

The visuals within Travian raise no complaints. Though the visuals are nothing that is jaw-dropping, the style that is aimed for is satisfying as it relates to the theme of the game. All of the visuals are styles in a cartoon sort of way, with a 2D texture for the most part. The visuals are implemented into most of the interface and navigations of the games, and actually aides you in visually organizing the game in you mind.

Overall, when you compare Travian to others in it’s genre, it lays between average to slightly above average. The visuals interface does help the game slight to be recognizable, and the various buildings and structures to build and upgrade will probably keep your attention for a week or so. The community really is a plus to the game with its size, and the activity within it. Though Travian has really failed to separate itself in actual game play, and is not for everyone, especially those with no patience or that untapped imagination to really get into the game. You can also experience everything the game has to offer in a few days, and once reached, the game quickly becomes something you may have to force yourself to play, or go find another browser-base, strategy for a week’s time.

If you’re new to this genre, and want to learn it fast and easy, Travian is not a bad place to start. For those experienced in the genre, and looking for something new in terms of ideas, game play, and a totally new experience, continue looking elsewhere. That is unless you’re looking to build a résumé of games played.

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6.6 Gameplay 666 6
Replayability 444 4
Interface 888 8
Community 999 9
Reviewer's Tilt 666 6
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