S7.com: Post-Game Analysis by C0unsel

The leader of Peaceful Simmers, one of the key alliances that was a part of the winning South-WW Meta-Alliance on S7.com 09-10, posted an awesome post game analysis on the S7.com forums. I thought that it was definitely worthy of being added to Travian Champions so it can be kept up permanently (I’ve also added it to this site’s Strategy Guides page in the “Expert” category).

Before I post the breakdown in its entirety, let me give some background on C0unsel. In addition to helping lead his alliance to victory on S7.com, C0unsel also co-played the Incognito account (along with Icis) which was ranked as the #1 attacker and #1 raider, and he also sat for the Regulator’s World Wonder, which ended up being the winner. C0unsel was also the #1 attacker on S4.com 08-09, and the led the Meta-alliance that finished as the runners-up on that server (I was also a part of that alliance, and that’s how I first met C0unsel). He is definitely one of the top Travian minds in the world and a true expert of the game in every sense. Here is his analysis of the endgame of S7.com:

I would like to start this post by first congratulating our opponents and especially those who stuck it out till the end. The measure of ones strength is often judged by those you are pitted against. In the North we found honourable and worthy fighters, many of whom never gave up. That being said, the north lost and lost badly. In this post I attempt to set out what I perceive as being the main reasons why, not to rubbish the north or start a flame war, but as I believe there may be some who appreciate a proper post match analysis.

To understand why the north lost and perhaps learn lessons for future servers, it is first necessary to dispel some of the reasons proffered thus far for their loss. Foremost is the argument which runs “you simmed all server but at least we had fun.” This argument is flawed on so many levels that it requires rebuttal and a continued acceptance of it can only lead to continued poor play on future servers.

Firstly, the argument presumes that building World Wonder hammer and fighting during the server are exclusive, when they are not. Taking the Incognito account as an extreme example, we fought all server, there was rarely a week we weren’t in the attackers top 10 and yet were still able to build two World Wonder hammers
Nor does one need to look at our account alone. Amongst the northern World Wonder hammers, many adopted a similar course (natooor, Aerixx to name but two) were able to both fight during the server and host a World Wonder hammer. Perhaps the main difference between north and south was we tracked, hunted then chiefed such hammers as showed themselves whereas you made no such efforts attacking southern hammers.

Secondly, the argument ignores the many types of players that play this game. Some like to play offensively from the start, others like to run defensive accounts, others perhaps being less active wish to peacefully grow a huge hammer, others still like empire building and focus on population. All of these players are an asset in endgame. The attackers to wear down the enemy, the empire builders to support the wonder in both crop and resources, the defensive players and World Wonder hammers jobs are obvious. It is perhaps a task of leadership to identify these player types and then fit round pegs into round holes and so see that all can gain their enjoyment and fulfill alliance objectives playing the type of game which suits them. To say that a particular player type, which doesn’t fall into your model isn’t having fun is the height of arrogance. It takes all types, the issue is how the players are used.

Thirdly, it is factually incorrect. PS has held the no.1 alliance offence rank since around week 29. For many weeks thereafter there was a constant battle between IR and PS jockeying for this position. The fact that the North lost more during their server wars than the south, perhaps speaks to the fact that they were less effective in prosecuting their wars than the south. Hammers lost can’t be quickly rebuilt and way too many hammers were lost by the North. The fallacy in the “at least we had fun” argument is that it isn’t necessary to lose hammers in wars. Proper planning, faking and execution should have minimized your losses. When you proclaim “at least we had fun fighting” you do no more than brag about your incompetence in executing these attacks.

Fourthly, finally and most importantly, the argument ignores the fact that this is a strategy game. Resources are finite and decisions as to where to deploy them are fundamental. If you leave the locker dry too early, then this is simply bad play. The loser in a chess game doesn’t brag about the fact that at least he had fun taking pieces with his pawns in the start and that such is more important than winning. The idea is to play well, whilst working towards your strategic objectives.

End Game Analysis
Why did the North lose the end game when from an objective look of things they should have won. As we entered end game they were more populous and through their confedding of the PT alliances, this advantage only increased.

(Click to enlarge)

I attempt to identify the major failings below. Again let me indicate this is not intended as
personal criticism but rather to start a reasoned debate. I also intend to limit my analysis to simply the end game at this stage and will write a separate post dealing with other aspects of the server:

1. The North Displayed a lack of understanding of a WW race
The idea of a ww race is to get one wonder to 100, not 8 to the mid 50s. It sounds simple but is in fact hard. People get attached to the wonders they hold, they desire crop, defences and use up valuable manpower (ww teams). All of these are finite and by splitting them you diminish your chances.

2. Inadequate Defences
Nothing contributed to the north’s loss more than poor defence. Incognito’s capital and hammer village maintained more static defence for the entire server than was present in some northern wonders. The low server numbers certainly didn’t help, yet the fact that the PC wonder gathered over 5 million defence towards the end shows what is possible. The fact that the Regulator wonder gathered and maintained over 5 million defence from around 2-3 wings, whilst being surrounded by enemies proves the point. By gathering sufficient defence, one makes a wonder immune to 3k cat attacks. By gathering a lot you make it immune to 5k cat attacks. Wonders will always take damage and delay, but through your poor defences you allowed most of our players to cause delay, rather than just the dedicated big guns.

2. Real or Fake Wonder
The concept of having a real wonder and a fake one eluded you. Not only did you spend your hammers at southern fakes, notably Caio and Slacker, at no point did u seem to designate one of your own as fake to attract and draw hammers. Maintaining a fake with 500k-1 mil defence is entirely feasible, if a thankless task and the reduced defence allows you to race it up the levels, not caring about infrastructure as its never designed to complete. Rather than have fakes and reals, you just seemed to focus on whichever was in the lead at any one time.

3. Every hour counts
In a race where hours can count, the north was dreadfully slow off the mark in seizing the wonders, and their failure to seize plans in a timely fashion was embarrassing. It is no excuse to say the natars came early. They came in day 274 on s1.com which was a useful “heads up” to all caring to pay attention.

4. Artifacts
The north failed to recognize the importance of artifacts. It is no accident that the south started the wonder race holding 8 of the end game artifacts (rivals confusion and structurals). We saw the importance of both owning them and retaining them, indeed much of our early wars were designed to attain such as remained in enemy hands. The north’s loss of the two that remained to them in the first weeks of endgame again displayed a lack of understanding of importance. In each instance several suicide hammers, expecting to meet 500k defences simply hit air, the arty being protected by only 100-200k defence and long since cleared.

Both the rivals confusion and structural have the same purpose. It compels the attacker to target the wonder itself over infrastructure. No one wishes to waste a ww hammer and risk hitting a level 1 market. The structural one acts the same way as it makes the infrastructure effectively immune to damage. The unique diet one is not an end game artifact. I say this as it does nothing that can’t be achieved through better logistical management. Yes it makes troops easier to feed in a wonder but more people sending crop achieves the same.

A lot has been written about how artifacts have spoiled the game. In my opinion this isn’t correct. What they do is provide a reason for the mid game wars, rather than mere boredom and the need to expand having settled your quad, but more importantly, they create extra strategic targets. They need to be treated like wonders in terms of alliance goals/objectives and I foresee many more wars being fought over them in future servers.

Where the north failed, was in focusing on account artifacts (troop trains/boots/diet) and not on alliance ones. The rivals and unique are effectively pointless till end game and do nothing for an individual account, perhaps a reason why the north discounted them till too late.

In addition the potential for using multiple artifacts (eyes/structural or rivals/structural), knowing how to activate each without delay, having dedicated hammers and level 20 treasuries ready to take advantage of opportunities and prevent our own artifacts falling into enemy hands are features which im sure will become commonplace on future servers. Artifacts don’t spoil the game, they simply add a new level to it. Until people properly appreciate and understand how to both value and use them, they will suffer the consequences.

5. Delay in attacking PS
This delay was inexcusable. The north must have seen that both the Caio and Regulator wonder were protected by artifacts and as such any attacks would have to target the wonder itself. Given that there is a balance to be reached between letting it get high enough so that proper delay is caused and not letting it get too high such as you can’t cause damage the first real strikes coming when they were in the high 80s was way too late.

If not earlier, by the time we stole northern construction plans from your quad following the natars spawn, the north ought to have known we were to be competitors. Granted, our diplomacy was always directed at letting you believe that an allegiance might at some unspecified time be in the offing, but continuing to rely upon these suggestions when contradicted by all evidence suggests either poor judgment in believing it, or perhaps a lack of will to do anything about it. More than anything else, I would wish to know the rationale for the north not attacking, nor even faking the SW till Regulator was in the level 60s.

6. Tactics
The harsh truth of the matter is that the Northern operations were tactically poor. Major offensives were launched against accounts holding eyes, without realizing it. Attacks were launched against artifacts which allowed them to be moved and anvils set. Instances of chiefing southern hammers was rare if indeed any happened at all and fakes against southern players were so few, that when they did arise it was like a neon sign saying “northern operation in progress”. Far from hide the attacks, they highlighted them.

7. Strategy
First and foremost this is a strategy game. Many people play it simply at a tactical level – which for them is fine. However, if no one is providing the over-arching plan, it should be unsurprising when you lose.

The North’s strategy appeared to be to dominate through numbers. To this end, the NW and NE confedded with each other, and later with PT. As a strategy it holds some merits, yet you failed to use your numerical advantage where it could count viz. in attacks, faking, defences and crop support. What PS has showed this server is that it’s rarely about numbers but the commitment of those numbers. I’d sooner have 15 dedicated players than 60 barely active ones. What perhaps was overlooked in your merger was that by doing so, you were united in your shared desire for a win, but with no sense of teamwork, watching each others back and mutually helping. Effectively you increased numbers and lost your raison d’etre. You traded numbers for your souls. Rather than it being 8 v 5 in the wonder race, it was 5 v 1 v 1 v 1 v 1 v 1 v 1 v 1 v1. It is unsurprising you lost in those circumstances.

8. Insufficient hammers
When one analyses the attacks launched in endgame it is notable that the north had too few hammers with siege. The reasons for this are best known to the north themselves. Certainly in PS people were told at the earliest stages that no army <5k siege would be counted as a ww hammer, and those potential ww hammers as were identified were nurtured, parking found for them and them given access to the troop train artifacts.

On one view it appears that many of your members simply lacked the discipline to continue building siege, content to “fight all server having fun” but as mentioned above these are not either/or choices.

9. Your Opposition
The north faced strong competition in the south. Even now I don’t believe people are truly aware as to how integrated PS/IR/LW/B was. We acted with the end game in mind, in pursuance of those objectives and always together. The SE leaders and alliances are amongst the finest I’ve worked with. The SW ones (PS, PS2, UC, Fenix) have done us proud and been a joy and a pleasure to lead. I simply mention this as absent the failings mentioned at 1-8 above, I believe you would still have had an uphill struggle. With those failings, your task became impossible.

Let me conclude this post by thanking enemy and friend alike for participating in an enjoyable server. Remember that come next server, your enemy may be your friend and vica-versa. Put away the bitterness, learn from this server, whichever side you were on and I look forward to fighting with (or against you) on future servers.

(the male half of Incognito)


3 Responses

  1. Really good analyse.

    S7 was a fun server for me, I did learn alot. When I joined TR in the mid game was I almost still a noob in some ways. But I can say that the leaders there was good in teaching at least me some better ways of building and thinking about the game.

    But as some might now, a few of us got tired of how the leaders acted when we did the merg with WP, and some other stuff thats not important now.

    But when I joined IR, a bit late on the server, I learnt even more. The leaders in IR was really good players and seamed to be leaders that could become good friends of there members. Becuse they was always around. Just too bad that the other 5-6 players that was thinking of joining IR at that point didn’t do that, becuse they could have grown from that experience to. But none of that did matter for the end game result.

    Its just amazing to see how much the leaders does matter in a game like this. I do belive that if the leaders in the north had been around and not getting so many RL problems, nd not destroyed the moral of the members in the useless WP-TR war. A lot of at least TR members was never active after that war. The north could have at least done a better job in the WW race.

    The leaders of PS and IR sure showed there skill and dedication on this server. So great job there.

  2. I like your post and analysis.
    Although I am not playing s7 till finish, but I left it to a good hand and played till finish.

    Nice to know you (C0unsel).

  3. I have to disagree with most of the analysis, most of the reason that we did not have hammers is cause of fun, as offensive co-ordinator along with Jordox, we did not save ANY hammers, we used them all to bring down TR and that is the truth. We did not save any for WW fighting, thus you really saw none. It is also well know that PS players had alot of PT passwords and many spies, so I would disagree with the hard fight, if your claiming that. My impression is that IR did sim the whole server, without real fight, and we saved no hammers for WW, since our leadership failed long before artifacts came out, we really had nothing to lose…..So in a nutshell the debate over fun is still here in my mind, I will claim our attacks on TR where fun, its a point that cant be argued, unless you want to argue what I feel is fun 😉 Anyways, the North could have won no servers with its leadership, in a nutshell we where doomed from the start, and I knew we where WW time, along with Jordox. As for missions against you, well we had very few hammers left, and both Jordox and I quit in any leadership role, so there was no OC for us in the fight with the South, not that it would have mattered……

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