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Thread: Aesculapian's Artefact Guide

  1. #1

    Join Date
    31 Jan 2009
    Out Back Down Under

    Aesculapian's Artefact Guide

    Artefacts – getting them, keeping them and using them

    Introduction and index

    This guide is by Aesculapian of the AU forum. Feel free to copy it elsewhere, as long as you include this attribution. It is based on Travian 3.6; all my experience is on normal (non-speed) servers, but most of the information should apply just as well to speed servers.

    Because the Guide is quite long, I will split it into sections, each in its own post - I trust the Moderators will forgive me double-posting (or pentuple-posting, as it happens.....):

    1. A brief overview and classification of artefacts

    2. Getting artefacts
    a. From Natars
    b. From opponents
    c. From allies

    3. Keeping artefacts
    a. Moving artefacts
    b. Defending artefacts

    4. Using artefacts
    a. Sharing artefacts
    b. Artefact combinations
    c. Artefacts for World Wonders
    Last edited by aesculapian; 5th January 2011 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Adding links

  2. #2

    Join Date
    31 Jan 2009
    Out Back Down Under
    Artefacts – getting them, keeping them and using them

    1. A brief overview of artefacts:

    Artefacts are a powerful means of boosting your tactical capabilities. They are also a powerful means of attracting unwanted attacks. It is worthwhile, therefore, knowing what each artefact is capable of, how it can help you, and whether it is worth the hassle to you of obtaining and keeping it.

    There are eight classes of artefacts (detailed further below); and in each of those classes, the artefacts come in two sizes: small, or large. Small artefacts can be housed in a L10 Treasury; large artefacts must be housed in a L20 Treasury.

    For seven of the eight classes, the following are true:

    1. Small artefacts affect only the village in which they are kept; there are six small artefacts of each class.
    2. Large artefacts affect all villages in the account. There are five large artefacts in each class – four ‘Account-scope’, and one ‘Unique’, which functions just like the account-scope, but with more powerful effects (exception: there is no Unique GG/GW artefact).

    However, for the eighth class, the Artefacts of the Fool, there are ten small artefacts, and one (Unique) large artefact. Either of them can randomly take on village-scope or account-scope effects; however, the Unique artefact will always require a L20 Treasury (even if it is only functioning as a Village-scope artefact at the time); and will only give positive effects, whereas the small Artefacts of the Fool may give positive or negative effects.

    Anyone with a Treasury can see the locations, status and history of all artefacts in the game.

    The seven main classes of artefacts can be loosely grouped into offensive and defensive artefacts; although there is some degree of overlap, the distinction is valuable because defensive artefacts help defend themselves, and are therefore easier to hold onto.

    Offensive artefacts:

    Speed artefacts:

    These increase troop speed – by a factor of 2 for the village-scope artefact, a factor of 1.5 for the account-scope, and a factor of 3 for the unique artefact. This makes them particularly powerful for attackers and raiders. The owner of the Unique troop-speed artefact should without difficulty become the Number One raider on a regular basis, as well as being able to launch devastating hammer strikes with little defensive notice; the resource income from high-speed raiding can easily be used to build a second or even a third hammer, making this artefact one of the most desirable in the game. Village-scope speed artefacts should be placed with tactically important hammer villages, or highly active raiders; Account-scope speed artefacts can be very useful to anvil (defence) players, enabling them to make tighter reinforcement calls from multiple villages. Note that the speed artefact (like the Tournament Square) does not affect merchant speed.

    Training artefacts:

    These enable one to train troops faster – training time is cut to 50% of normal by the Village-scope and Unique artefacts, or to 75% of normal by the Account-scope artefacts. The enhanced training time is shown in the relevant barracks/stable/workshop when the artefact is active; and the training time is fixed at the time the troops are queued (so if the artefact is subsequently moved, troops already queued are still trained at the faster rate; but conversely, troops already queued before the artefact becomes active do NOT train faster). Training artefacts are particularly valuable for offensive players (both ‘active’ hammers and WW hammers), as they enable larger hammers to be built in a given time. For this reason, training artefacts should always be placed with offensive players; although they can be of benefit to high-turnover providers of defence, defence troops can rapidly be regenerated from multiple villages without the help of artefacts.

    GG/GW artefacts:

    These enable one to build Great Granaries and Great Warehouses in ordinary (non-WW) villages; this is essential to develop the capacity for high-level (i.e. L18 – 20) capital crop fields, and may also be very useful for crop storage in non-capital hammer villages. (Note that the artefact has to be active each time a GG/GW level is queued; it’s no good simply starting a GG or GW, passing the artefact on, and thinking you can continue to level up the building). This is one artefact class in which the Village-scope artefact is probably more valuable than the Account-scope artefact: the Village-scope artefact can easily be passed from player to player (via L10 Treasuries), enabling multiple players in an alliance to develop high-level capitals. The expense of L20 Treasuries makes the Account-scope artefacts a nuisance to pass round – these are probably more easily shared by chiefing (see Section 2).

    Defensive Artefacts:

    Building-strength artefacts:

    These increase the number of catapults or rams required to damage your buildings (including resource fields and the Wall) – by a factor of 4 for the Village-scope artefacts, a factor of 3 for the account-scope artefacts, and a factor of 5 for the Unique artefact. This makes it somewhat more difficult for an opponent to zero-pop or crop-lock your village(s), as they need to either include more catapults per wave; or alternatively, remove your artefact before the zero-pop / croplock waves land – by no means impossible, but one more hurdle of difficulty for an attacker. The wall-strengthening effect also provides a free boost to your defence. These artefacts are useful both for offensive and defensive players – one might argue that offensive players are more likely to be targeted and hence may find these artefacts more useful; though, given a choice of artefacts, offense players may get more use out of a speed artefact, a training artefact or a crop artefact, rather than a building-strength artefact.

    Scouting artefacts:

    These have two effects: they enable you to see the type of troops in an incoming attack (though not the number); and they increase the strength of any scouts in (or scouting out of) your village(s) – by a factor of 5 for the Village-scope artefact, a factor of 3 for the Account-scope artefact, and a factor of 10 for the Unique artefact. The account-scope artefacts are therefore particularly powerful and versatile: your defensive super-scouts make it hard for an opponent to see into your villages; your offensive super-scouts can readily see into opponents’ villages (and hence will be in great demand from your allies!); and any incoming attack with heroes or chiefs will be easily spotted, making it very hard for an opponent to chief your villages or steal your artefacts. Furthermore, even to fake convincingly requires an opponent to send one of EACH plausible troop type (not just one catapult); in situations of mass faking, many opponents are too lazy to check what artefact you have, making it often very easy to spot incoming fakes. Note that the scout-boosting properties apply to your village(s), including oases; not to your scouts as such – if you send your scouts to reinforce some other player, they are no longer ‘super’, and conversely any scouts sent from another player to reinforce your artefact-enhanced village take on ‘super’ powers. Although not the most powerful artefacts in the game, these are my personal favourite, and a great artefact for offensive or defensive players alike.

    Crop artefacts:

    These reduce the crop consumption of your troops, to 50% of normal for Village-Scope and Unique artefacts, or to 75% of normal for Account-scope artefacts. This can be invaluable both for offensive and defensive players; I have classed it as a ‘defensive artefact’ purely because it is an artefact that helps defend itself; having the artefact makes it easier to feed a large defence in the event of someone trying to take the artefact from you. In practice, however, crop artefacts are probably of greatest benefit to offence players building large hammers, in particular WW hammers; not only do they make it easier to feed the hammer, but they free up resource consumption to be poured into further troop production. The only difficulty lies in deciding whether to place the crop artefact in the capital and garage troops there, or in the hammer village itself to enable feeding while the troops are out on the road (though of course, holders of Large crop artefacts or capital-hammer players don’t have to worry about this!). Note, by the way, that the rally point will still show the ‘normal’ crop consumption of troops present, not the reduced amount; the crop consumption at the top right of screen will be the artefact-adjusted amount.

    Cata-scatter artefacts:

    Like scouting artefacts, these have two effects: they increase the capacity of any crannies by a factor of 100 – 500 (a mere fringe benefit); but more importantly, they make it impossible for incoming catapults to target anything except the Treasury or a Wonder of the World – and with the Unique artefact, not even the Treasury can be targeted. This makes it extremely difficult for an opponent to crop-lock you (being unable to reliably target crop-fields); chief you (being unable to reliably target the residence); or, with the Unique artefact, to steal your artefacts (being unable to target Treasuries). Note, however, that if an opponent targets a resource field, he will hit a (random) resource field, and if he targets a village building, he will hit a (random) village building; so with enough catapult waves, by sheer brute force he can still achieve a crop-lock, artefact steal, or chiefing (albeit of a rather beaten-up village!). Nevertheless, the cata-scatter artefacts are a powerful defensive weapon for either offensive or defensive players.

    Fool’s Artefacts:

    These are simultaneously the most versatile artefacts, and the most difficult to manage; hence they are highly prized by some players, and loathed by others (including me). The essence of the Fool’s artefact is that every 24 hours, it will randomly take on the properties of one of the other classes (except for the GG/GW artefact, which is never emulated by the Fool’s Artefact), in either village-scope or account-wide scope. With the small Fool’s Artefacts, the properties may be positive (e.g. reduced crop consumption, faster troops, more powerful scouts) or negative (e.g. increased crop consumption, slower troops, less powerful scouts); the Unique Fool’s Artefact will only ever have positive effects.

    Now, a clever and flexible player will be able to use this versatility to maximum effect – for example, pouring resources into troop queues when the artefact cuts training times, scouting out opponents when it enhances scouts, launching surprise attacks and raids when it speeds up troops etc. It would be wise to have a standing arrangement with a nearby neighbour for those occasions when the artefact increases your crop consumption account-wide – then you will want to park all your troops at a neighbour’s village and get your merchants busy sending crop (though you might build up some credit with your neighbour by inviting his troops round for dinner when your Fool’s artefact reduces your crop consumption, thus spreading the benefit!). Nevertheless, sharp-eyed opponents should be watching your artefact, and incoming attacks when your crop consumption is doubled can be a real headache.

    A major drawback of the Fool’s artefact is its interference with other Account-scope artefacts. You can only have one Account-scope artefact activated at any given time; this will always be the one that has been captured for the longest. So, if you already hold some other Account-scope artefact, and then obtain a Fool’s artefact, whenever it randomises to an account-scope effect it will fail to activate; or conversely, if you hold a Fool’s artefact and then take some other Account-scope artefact, whenever it randomises to an Account-scope effect (even a negative one!) it will de-activate your other Account-scope artefact. Furthermore, if you already hold a Fool’s artefact that is currently randomised to account-scope, it will prevent you from capturing a second account-scope artefact (and vice versa). For these reasons, I would recommend that the Fool’s artefact never be held together with an Account-scope artefact.
    Last edited by aesculapian; 6th January 2011 at 11:52 PM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    31 Jan 2009
    Out Back Down Under
    Artefacts – getting them, keeping them and using them

    2. Getting artefacts

    There are two ways of taking possession of an artefact: capture by hero, or chiefing the village containing the artefact.

    Capturing an artefact requires the following:

    All troops in the village containing the artefact must be cleared
    The treasury in the artefact village must be destroyed
    A hero must collect the artefact
    The hero must be attacking (not raiding) out of a village with a suitably large, empty treasury (i.e. L10 for Small artefacts, or L20 for Large artefacts).

    Furthermore, if you already own three artefacts, you may not capture any more; and if you already own one Large artefact, you may not capture another Large artefact. You can, however, still chief artefact villages regardless of what artefacts you already own; but only the oldest three artefacts (and the oldest one Large artefact) will be active. Hence it is possible (by chiefing) to OWN more than three artefacts, and more than one Large artefact; but it is never possible to have more than three artefacts (one Large) actually functioning.

    A Treasury can never hold more than one artefact (regardless of size); and because the only way to move an artefact involves destroying the Treasury, once a Treasury is used for a given artefact it can never house some other artefact; if you wish to change artefacts in a given village you will have to destroy the Treasury (to move the previous artefact) and then rebuild it. You cannot have more than one Treasury in a village.

    A consequence of this is that moving a Large artefact is quite an expensive undertaking (even late in the game); a L20 Treasury costs over 3.5 million resources to build (and requires three warehouses for resource capacity). In some circumstances, therefore, it may be easier to transfer Large artefacts by chiefing the village in question – provided the village is readily defensible from enemy attack.

    An artefact that is captured by a hero instantaneously appears in the ‘capturing’ village – you do not have to wait for the troops to arrive back home. However, it will only become active after 24 hours (12 hours on speed servers), rounded UP to the nearest o’clock; this 24-hour inactivation also applies to artefacts taken by chiefing. By clicking on any artefact (yours or another player’s) within your Treasury, you can see when the artefact will become active (and, in the case of the Fool’s artefacts, you can see the current effect and what time it is due to change).

    Getting artefacts from Natars

    Artefacts originate with Natars, in special Natar villages called (rather confusingly) ‘Natar oases’ – though they bear no resemblance to conventional oases. These typically spawn about 4 to 4 months into a standard server (or about two months into a speed server) – the date is usually advertised on the forum a couple of weeks in advance. As usual, when they appear the Natars are initially ‘banned’, so that no-one can attack them. The ban lasts at least 24 hours, and potentially as long as seven days (though in my experience, 2-3 days is typical), during which time anyone with a Treasury can check out which artefacts are distributed where and plan their acquisition(s) accordingly.

    The image below shows a typical distribution for Natar artefact villages, with Unique artefacts clustered around the centre (in red). The specific distribution will vary from server to server.

    Natars defend their artefacts. The size of the Natar defence varies from server to server, and is widely believed to be based on the size of the top 100 hammers on the server at the time. The Natar defence for an Account-scope artefact will be 1.53 times as large as that of a Village-scope artefact; and for a Unique artefact, 2.3 times as large as for a Village-scope artefact.

    Here are some reports to give you a rough idea of Natar artefact defences on AU servers; but what you will actually encounter will depend on the nature of your server:

    AU1 Village-scope artefact:

    AU2 Account-scope artefact:

    AU1 Unique artefact:

    AUx Village-scope artefact:

    AUx Account-scope artefact:

    AUx Unique artefact:

    For comparison, here is a post describing Natar defences on UK1 and UK4:


    This means that for about 6 – 8 weeks before artefact release, you and your alliance should be preparing for capturing artefacts, in several ways:

    * Building up hammers to clear Natar defences. Bear in mind that the larger your hammers are, the larger the Natar defences will be – and hence the more difficult it will be for your rivals to take artefacts. Remember also that Natars never build walls – rams will not be needed here; but catapults will be required to knock down Natar treasuries (unless you plan to chief – see below).

    * Building up defence to defend your new artefacts from envious opponents. This aspect of preparation is often forgotten, such that a cunning alliance may benefit cheaply from the hard work of another.

    * Building treasuries – numerous L10 Treasuries, and at least a few L20. Ideally alliance leaders should be aware of who will have L20 Treasuries available. Remember to build a Hero’s Mansion in your Treasury village(s)!

    L20 Treasuries are expensive, and a pain to move – so plan their location wisely! If you plan on taking a Unique artefact, you will want your L20 Treasury somewhere within about 50 squares of the centre of the map, in order to be competitive; but close enough to you and your allies to make it defensible. I recommend that Large artefacts should NOT be held in capital or hammer villages (so do not build your L20 Treasury there!). The reason for this is that Large artefacts will affect all villages in the account anyway; and you will likely want an additional effect from a village-scope artefact in your capital and/or hammer villages – for example, you may want to use the GG/GW artefact at some stage in your capital, or hold a speed artefact or training artefact in your hammer village.

    There is, however, an important consequence to this decision. If you build your L20 Treasury in a village that is not your hammer village, then you cannot collect your artefact in one attack; you will need to send your hammer to clear the troops and Treasury, and then your hero from your Treasury village to pick up the artefact. This means that either (a) your hero misses out on the wonderful XP of clearing a huge Natar defence; or (b) you send your hero with your hammer (collecting the XP), wait for him to get back, relocate him to your Treasury village, and race off to get your artefact (hoping someone else hasn’t nicked it in the interim). Which option you pick is up to you, and clearly depends on how close you and your rivals are to the artefact of interest, and on how willing you are to go to war with a rival over a ‘lost’ artefact; but bear in mind that XP can always be made up at a later date, whereas a lost artefact may be hard to recover.

    Of course, you might consider taking a Large artefact by chiefing the Natar village instead. This has pros and cons: on the plus side, you save yourself the cost of building a L20 Treasury; your hero can travel with the clearing wave and collect the XP; and, since Natars do not build residences, you won’t need catapults, giving your faster chiefs a head start in the race to take artefacts. On the downside, Natar artefact villages have lousy infrastructure; you will have no choice on the location of your artefact village; and you will probably have to defend it immediately from hungry rivals, with at least as much defence as you have cleared from the Natars. On balance, I feel it is usually better to take an artefact from the Natars by capture rather than by chiefing.

    A skilful alliance can prepare for artefact release in additional ways:

    Building hammers is expensive; so is building a L20 Treasury. A top-ranked player can manage both, but mid-ranked players may struggle. An alliance can co-ordinate ‘artefact partnerships’, whereby one mid-ranked player concentrates resources on hammer-building, and another builds a L20 Treasury, so that one can clear the way (and get the hero XP!) for the other to capture the artefact.

    Although the date of artefact release is advertised in advance, the time of artefact unbanning is not. An organised alliance will arrange a system of emergency contact, so that key players can be alerted to the unbanning and get into the race early. Remember that (unlike duals) sitters cannot launch attacks, and hence cannot take artefacts for accounts they are sitting.

    Once artefacts are released (and before they are unbanned), a good alliance will arrange a system whereby players can declare which artefact(s) they intend to take. The simplest way to do this is to have a section on the alliance forum where players can declare and discuss their interests. This will avoid the situation of two or more allied players racing for the same artefact, while a rival alliance captures some other artefact that the ‘loser’ could have been taking instead.

    If you want to get really competitive as an alliance, launch a campaign of attacks on rivals a week or two before artefacts are released. Be cautious with your hammers – you don’t want to lose them just before artefacts arrive; the main aim of this campaign is to send catapult fakes to identify which enemy villages are building treasuries. Then, once artefacts are released, but before they are unbanned, launch a second campaign: the aim this time is to use your non-artefact hammers to destroy enemy Treasuries, in particular the very expensive L20 Treasuries. Even merely removing a few levels off a L20 Treasury, at a critical time, may prevent a rival from being able to collect a Unique or Account-scope artefact.

    A word of caution: taking too many artefacts – and leaving rivals with too few artefacts, and hammers intact – can put considerable strain on your alliance as you try to defend your acquisitions. Better to be selective about your artefacts, and let your opponents sate their hammers, Treasuries and appetites on ‘less desirable’ artefacts.


    Once artefacts are released:

    Study the map closely, noting which artefacts are within easy reach, and how close they are to rival players. Speed, training and crop-reduction artefacts tend to get snapped up quickly; Fool’s artefacts often lie around unwanted for days. Plan accordingly, and declare your interests to your alliance; make arrangements for defending whatever artefact(s) you capture.

    Make sure that your hammer and your hero are ready to launch from their respective positions as soon as artefacts are unbanned. Ensure that your Treasury is complete, and you have a Hero’s Mansion in your Treasury village.

    Check frequently for unbanning, and/or make sure that your alliance or sitters know how to contact you if they see the unbanning first.

    Once artefacts are unbanned:

    As soon as possible, launch your clearing wave, on attack not raid, including catapults targeted at the Natar Treasury. You may choose to send the clearing wave and the catapult wave separately, to minimise catapult losses; although if your Treasury is in your hammer village, you may be better off sending a single wave including your hero, so that he can collect both the XP for clearing, and the artefact. If your Treasury is in a separate village, launch your hero, on attack not raid, timed to land as close on the heels of your catapult wave as possible.

    If you are taking a popular artefact that is likely to be counter-attacked, call for defence early; or, if you are a defender, prepare to respond to such calls.

    Use your Treasury to track which artefacts are taken, and the Attackers’ leaderboard to see who has hit Natars. Occasionally someone may fail to completely clear a Natar defence, or to pick up the artefact – if you have a Hero sitting idle, there may be an opportunity to steal an artefact cheaply from under someone’s nose. Alternatively, you may wish to launch an attack on a rival’s newly-captured artefact, in the hopes of stealing it cheaply before he can arrange defence. Large artefacts can sometimes be captured in this way, as the scarcity of L20 Treasuries make them difficult to move; smaller artefacts may be less easy to pin down.

    The aftermath

    The weeks leading up to artefact release are often quiet, as players and alliances sim up large hammers and try not to lose them. So not surprisingly, the period after Artefact Day is often a bloodbath, as pent-up aggressions and unrequited hammers are unleashed. There is an opportunity for an organised alliance to create considerable mayhem, with mass attacks and fakes on both artefact villages and other targets.

    As an individual player, I favour suiciding (in constructive fashion, of course) whatever remains of my hammer at this stage, to free up resources for village expansion and capital growth, both of which will have taken second place to troop production in the weeks prior to artefacts. I realise that this approach will be controversial, and not for everyone.

    As an alliance, I recommend that you use the artefact aftermath as a decoy. Most players will be extremely – almost irrationally – defensive of their newfound toys, and convincing fakes on artefact villages should you give you ample opportunity to crop-lock, chief, or damage capital fields in non-artefact villages. Furthermore, such a strategy will sow doubt in the opposition’s minds for future attacks, potentially diverting defence from real attacks on artefacts in subsequent days. A barrage of attacks and fakes, from every member of your alliance to every member of a rival alliance, should stress their tactical analysis beyond reasonable levels. Remember to check what artefact(s) an opponent has and whether they are active, so you can factor in its effects on your attacks or fakes.

    Of course, the opposition may well be thinking the same thing; so prepare your defences accordingly, and have your alliance members on high alert!

    Getting artefacts from opponents

    The prerequisites for taking an artefact from an opponent are the same as for taking one from the Natars, namely clearing the troops, knocking down the Treasury, and attacking with Hero from a village with a suitable empty Treasury; or alternatively, chiefing the village containing the artefact (though of course this will be vulnerable to being chiefed back again).

    Of course, your opponent is smarter than the Natars, and will likely have more allies; so a bit more cunning is required, in the form of convincing fakes. Fakes should go to other artefact villages in the same alliance, to diffuse defence calls. You might consider faking other villages of the targeted player; but (unless you fake villages of other non-targeted players as well) this may merely highlight who the targeted player is – indeed, it may be more effective to fake other villages of a non-targeted player and NOT those of the targeted player, diverting suspicion. It is often worthwhile launching fakes several hours before launching the real attacks, to draw off the keener defenders.

    Fakes should look as convincing as real attacks – if not more so. A fake on an artefact village should consist of one wave, or two waves from separate villages timed to land in rapid succession (one at cata speed and one at hero/cavalry speed). The village of the single or final wave should not already contain an artefact; otherwise it will be obvious that this cannot be a real attempt. Fakes on non-artefact villages can, as usual, be set up to mimic crop-locks or chiefing attempts.

    As with any other attack, an artefact attack will work best when it is part of a co-ordinated campaign of attacks by a whole alliance. By stressing and splitting the opposition defence, even if some hammers crash they will increase the chances of success for other hammers on other targets.

    Bear in mind that a common defence for an artefact – especially a Small artefact – is to move it out of the way of an incoming attack. If your alliance is particularly set on capturing a given artefact, it may be worth launching real artefact-capturing attacks not just on the village currently holding the artefact, but also on likely back-up villages. I have had the great pleasure of being part of a campaign which captured an artefact by persuading an opponent to move it out of safety, into the village where the real attack was about to land……

    An underused strategy (for any attack campaign, including artefact attacks) is to follow up fakes with well-timed scouting attempts. This will reveal how the opposition prioritises defence, as well as what defence sizes they can muster. Although no guarantee of future performance, over time this can give valuable information to guide future attacks.

    A useful trick for capturing Small artefacts is the following:

    1. Make your attack as one of a widespread campaign (of fakes and/or real attacks).
    2. Attack from a village that already contains an artefact; however, break down the Treasury.
    (Your opponent, if he does his homework, will see an artefact already in your village and assume his own artefact is safe)
    3. In advance of your attack landing, store up enough resources in the village, or nearby, to build a new L10 Treasury.
    4. Arrange for yourself or an ally to remove your existing artefact to another village shortly (e.g. an hour or so) before your attack lands.
    5. At a cost of 10 gold, instant-build a new Treasury in time for your attack on the opponent's artefact.

    A similar effect may be achieved for a large artefact by getting an ally to chief an existing large artefact away from you shortly before your attack on an enemy large artefact arrives (having of course built a L20 Treasury in the attacking village).

    Getting artefacts from allies

    I cannot stress the following enough:

    Artefacts should be considered the property of an alliance, not of the individual player who captured them.
    This can lead to friction, if an individual player has put a lot of solo effort into capturing an artefact and is then asked to give it up; such friction can be avoided, or at least lubricated, by helping players to capture artefacts from an early stage – resource pushes to build hammers and high-level Treasuries, aid in faking or clearing defences, and reinforcements to protect artefacts under attack. A player who has received help from his alliance to get an artefact will be much more willing to share it; and an artefact shared is (effectively) an artefact multiplied.

    Commonly-shared artefacts include the village-scope GG/GW and training artefacts; for these artefacts, it may be worth setting up a queue or a waiting-list, supervised by an alliance leader, to co-ordinate their movements. The alliance forum, or a shared-access document such as Google-Docs, can be used to facilitate this. Speed and/or crop artefacts may occasionally be shared, for specific missions. On rare occasions moving a village-scope scouting artefact may enable a player to discern a real attack from a fake (if he has more than 24 hours’ notice). A Fool’s artefact may need to be removed in order to remove a specific adverse effect at a critical time.

    Artefacts can be shared in one of two ways. Small artefacts are best shared by being passed from one player’s L10 Treasury to that of another player. Large artefacts, if they are shared at all, are more easily shared by allowing the other player to chief the artefact-containing village, avoiding the need for rebuilding expensive L20 Treasuries. See Section 4 for constructive ways to share specific artefacts.

    If a player deletes his account, his artefacts disappear with the account; so if you’re planning to delete, it is polite to inform your alliance leadership in advance and facilitate the handover of your artefact(s). Deleted artefacts may (or may not) be respawned by the MultiHunter in a new Natar village, either on request, or at the time that World Wonder villages spawn. Since hammer sizes will be bigger by then

    Small-artefact handover

    Capturing an artefact from an ally requires the same steps as capturing it from a Natar or an opponent; but of course, your ally can make things easier by:

    making sure there are no troops in the village when your hero lands. Watch out for returning raiders or reinforcements – in my last server, we had several episodes of players inadvertently killing their allies’ heroes on artefact pick-ups; and one player (well-known to this forum) became notorious for doing it on numerous occasions.

    Taking down the Treasury, using the Main Building (or his own catapults, if this will be quicker).

    If the village is clear of troops and the Treasury is down, all that is needed for pick-up is the Hero and a small escort (say, 20 – 50 cavalry) to overcome the intrinsic defence of the wall and residence/palace. Indeed, if the Hero has more than about 20 points on Offence (depending on troop type), he may not even need an escort. It may be considered either polite, or unnecessary, to return any bounty taken by the escorting party. However, large escorts are considered slightly rude, as they (a) take a large bounty from your ally’s village, and (b) suggest that you do not trust your ally to keep his troops out of the way!

    Large-artefact handover

    As mentioned above, this is best done by allowing your ally to chief the village containing the artefact. This presupposes that you have planned your artefact location appropriately, in a village that you can afford to give up. Remember, even if you have taken an artefact by chiefing the village, you will still have to wait 24 hours (12 hours on speed servers) for it to re-activate.

    Edit: Note that you can still chief an artefact village from an ally, without leaving the alliance; this is an exception to the usual requirement, where either you or your ally would normally have to leave an alliance for 48 hours before chiefing a village. My thanks to John Smith and to Kat (below) for this correction.
    Last edited by aesculapian; 22nd January 2011 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Corrected info on chiefing artefact villages from allies

  4. #4

    Join Date
    31 Jan 2009
    Out Back Down Under
    Artefacts - getting them, keeping them and using them

    3. Keeping artefacts

    There are two ways to stop an opponent from stealing your artefacts: defend them, or move them. As a general rule:
    Small artefacts should be moved, and Large artefacts should be defended
    ... though as with most rules, there may be exceptions.

    Moving artefacts

    This is done in exactly the same way as any other artefact capture; but may have to be done at short notice. There are a few things players can do to make this easier:

    Keep a few spare L10 Treasuries, with Hero’s Mansion, Hero not too far away, and (if need be) small troop escort, for emergency evacuation of Small artefacts. Remember that sitters cannot send attacks, so cannot collect artefacts on your behalf!

    Once a Small artefact is present in a village, consider breaking down the Treasury to L1 using the Main Building; this means the Treasury can be demolished at short notice to clear the way for evacuation (you need a L10 Treasury to capture the artefact; but once the artefact is captured, you do not need to even keep the Treasury at all – though keeping it at L1 means you can still use the Treasury to look at other artefacts, and an opponent will still require catas to take the artefact from you). The (slight) downside of Treasury pre-demolition is that you lose out on the CP generated by higher Treasury levels; if you are willing to spend gold on instant demolition via the MB (and trust your sitters to do likewise), then you may prefer not to break it down until necessary.

    Of course, moving an artefact doesn’t mean you can’t mount a defence – if you want to try and kill a hammer, then by all means mount a defence as well. But by moving the artefact out of harm’s way, you have a safety net in case the incoming hammer turns out to be bigger than your defence! Obviously, make sure you move the artefact before any reinforcements arrive – otherwise, you will have to send the reinforcements back to prevent them killing the pick-up Hero.

    Defending artefacts

    This is no different to any other defence – call for reinforcements, call for crop, try to land your reinforcements as close before the incoming attack(s) as possible, snipe between waves if possible. As with any defence, it is a good idea to CAP the defence: decide in advance how large an incoming hammer might possibly be, calculate how large a defence will comfortably deal with that, and do not accept any more reinforcements than that – keep further reinforcements in reserve for other attacks that may flag up soon.

    If circumstances permit, it may be possible to launch a pre-emptive strike on a village that is attacking you (especially if you or an ally have a speed artefact to assist). Chiefing the attacking village will, of course, dissolve the attack; alternatively, destroying the Treasury of the attacking village will make it impossible for the attacker to take your artefact (unless he can ship in resources and gold up a new one in time!).

    In the event of multiple incoming attacks, it will (as usual) be necessary to prioritise defence, considering the desirability of different artefacts (both to you and to the opponent), the strategic importance of other threatened targets (e.g. capitals and hammer villages), and logistic feasibility. Sometimes the artefact itself may help you prioritise: a scouting artefact will show whether there are heroes or chiefs incoming, and hence whether an attack is a real threat or not; a crop artefact will be logistically easier to defend in terms of feeding reinforcements; a Unique cata-scatter artefact is unlikely to be the target of a real attack unless many waves are involved (in which case a snipe may be the most efficient defence). Basic research may also reveal clues to fakes: if an attacking player’s Hero cannot be found on the Heroes’ leaderboard, then it is currently dead and cannot be attacking your artefact. Similarly, if your Treasury shows that an attacking village already holds an artefact, then that village cannot capture a second artefact (unless the devious attacker is planning to remove the current artefact and gold up a new Treasury at the last minute). If the attacking player already holds three artefacts (or already holds a large artefact and is threatening another large artefact), then this is also likely to be a fake - though once again, watch out for sneaky last-minute removal tricks as described above. A high-speed cata-scout may show whether an attacking village has a Treasury; if not, it is probably not the source of a real artefact attack. Alternatively, a conventional scout may show an enemy hammer and/or hero sitting at home, thus blowing the cover on an obvious fake or group of fakes.

    If defence is stretched overly thin, it may be necessary to leave low-priority artefacts undefended. Once again, do not make the common mistake of committing all available defence to the first target to call for help – there may be other attacks about to flag.
    Last edited by aesculapian; 22nd January 2011 at 06:21 PM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    31 Jan 2009
    Out Back Down Under
    Artefacts - getting them, keeping them and using them

    4. Using artefacts:

    Sharing artefacts

    As mentioned before, one artefact can effectively be multiplied by sharing it. Here are a few ways of getting the most out of your artefacts:

    The GG/GW artefact

    This is the most obvious artefact for sharing, and will be in great demand by players looking to expand their capitals or increase storage in their hammer villages. This artefact should be passed around as quickly as possible; it may be necessary to put a time limit on how long a given player may keep it (3-4 days is a reasonable suggestion). Turnover can be speeded up by calling for alliance resource pushes to the player holding the artefact, so that they can more rapidly complete their GGs/GWs. This will obviously depend on how friendly and co-operative the alliance is; though if each member can see that he or she will also get a turn to benefit, there should be little resentment of the frequent calls for resource pushes. As mentioned above, the Small GG/GW artefacts are best shared by passing on the artefact; an Account-scope GG/GW artefact can be shared by passing round the whole village.

    The training artefact

    This is another artefact that is in popular demand – though unlike the GG/GW artefact, the player in possession may be reluctant to let it out of his/her hands. However, by forming tag-teams of two or three hammer players, one can share this artefact and still maintain full-time high-speed troop training – particularly towards the end of the game. The key to this is to build up high-speed training queues for at least 3-4 days in advance. The training artefact can then be passed to another player, who (after the 24 hours activation period) then builds up his/her own high-speed training queues; and passing the artefact back to the first player at least 24 hours before his queue runs out. While the player is without the artefact, he stockpiles resources in preparation for his next turn at the artefact (stockpiling can be made a lot easier by previously building GWs in the hammer village). Alliance resource pushes can be used to boost queues even further, particularly for WW hammers.

    Using this technique in my last alliance, we were at times comfortably able to build up queues of 10-12 days, enabling us to share one training artefact among three players.

    The crop artefact

    This is another very popular artefact; but of course, it cannot readily be passed from hand to hand, as it loses its effectiveness once it is handed on. However, with careful planning and a few committed players, it can be shared in another imaginative way, namely by forming a Restaurant.

    A Restaurant is a village that is custom-built to host and feed vast amounts of troops. It holds a village-scope crop artefact, and several GGs, and a L20 wall. Any player is welcome to send troops there to garrison, providing that each day they send enough crop to feed their troops (at artefact-reduced rates), PLUS 10% or so. The extra 10% is not merely to compensate the owner for his trouble, but also provides a safety margin against hour-by-hour fluctuations in crop flow.

    The strength of the Restaurant system lies not only in allowing multiple players to garrison troops at half-crop rates; but in the fact that in Travian, there is safety in numbers. One might say ‘well, why gather all your hammers together in one place, where an enemy can kill several birds with one stone?’; and in general, I would not advise defending with hammer troops. But beyond a certain critical mass, even hammer troops can defend: with (say) five hammers gathered together in defence behind a wall, you will comfortably obliterate a similar-sized incoming hammer, while taking relatively small losses spread out amongst the five players. Of course, the defence can be further bolstered with dedicated defence troops, either on a standing basis (provided they are also fed), or as reinforcements called in for a specific attack. One might reasonably choose to withdraw catapults and rams from the Restaurant in the event of an incoming attack; but players should be strongly encouraged to leave their remaining hammer troops standing firm: ‘there is safety in numbers’, and any defections weaken the rest.

    The security of a Restaurant can be further enhanced if the Manager also holds an Account-scope scouting artefact (to detect real incoming attacks); or an Account-scope building-hardening artefact (to bolster wall strength on defence).

    The big headache of the Restaurant system is feeding. Running the Restaurant can be a bit like running a mini-WW, with huge negative crop rates and (even with multiple GGs) reserves of not more than a few hours even when full. The Restaurant should ideally be managed by a player with a slightly obsessive-compulsive streak (and accounting skills would be a bonus); because that player will need to keep an eye on troop numbers and incoming crop shipments to make sure that everyone is sending enough crop for the troops they have garrisoned. The Manager should have no hesitation about sending home troops whose players are not feeding them; should troops starve as a result of this, that should serve the defaulting player right. The good news is, after a few days of meticulous auditing, the Manager will usually have a pretty good idea of which customers are reliable and which are not; one doesn’t have to keep auditing for the entire game, once the system is running smoothly.

    Feeding can be a headache for the supplying player as well, particularly if he is any great distance from the Restaurant; Romans, in particular, may struggle to achieve high enough merchant capacity, even with high-level Trade Offices and gold Trade Routes to relay stations. It may be possible to arrange for an ally to feed Restaurant troops on your behalf; make sure this arrangement is communicated to the Manager (e.g. “Player C will be feeding some of my troops – please credit any crop shipments from him to my account”). Distance may also be ameliorated by setting up multiple Restaurants, strategically placed, if an Account-scope or more than one Village-scope artefact is available. This will, of course dilute the ‘safety in numbers’ principle, but render feeding much easier both for suppliers and Managers.

    We used this system very successfully in our last server, with two Restaurants at roughly opposite ends of our quadrant. Indeed, the crop saved from the Restaurant system was a major contributor in helping us extend Training-artefact queues to enable them to be shared round.

    Scouting artefacts

    These are not readily shared, as such; but the owner of a scouting artefact should be prepared to field requests from his alliance for specific scoutings, and would do well to set up a service accordingly. Features of such a service might include:

    Ideally run by Gauls (for high-speed scouting); or by Teutons (for high-powered scouting)
    Scouting villages spread out at strategic locations
    Large numbers of scouts (a ‘scout hammer’) to enable multiple simultaneous missions
    Scouts upgraded to L20 at the Blacksmith, and high-level Rally Points
    High coverage by duals and/or sitters, to ensure ready availability

    Uses for such a service might include

    Scouting opponents who are sending attacks, to see whether hammers and/or heroes have been left carelessly sitting at home
    Follow-up scoutings of your alliance’s fakes, to see how the enemy responds
    Advance scoutings of specific high-profile targets; though of course, other targets should be scouted as well in order to conceal one’s intent.

    Artefact combinations

    Certain combinations of artefacts are particularly effective. Here are a couple of examples – I dare say you will be able to think of more:

    Large crop artefact plus Small training artefact (or vice versa)

    This obviously enables you to train large numbers of troops quickly, while still having the capability to feed them (and indeed freeing up resource production to keep your queues rolling).

    Large speed artefact plus Small training artefact (or vice versa)

    This is ideally suited to the hyper-aggressive player, who can strike fast with his hammer, rapidly replenish any losses, and be back for more in a day or two. The speed artefact also makes it easy to generate a large raiding income, funding the high-speed training.

    Large (preferably Unique) cata-scatter artefact plus Small speed artefact (or vice versa)

    Also well-suited to the aggressive player. The speed artefact makes it difficult to catch his hammer on the move; the cata-scatter artefact makes it hard to catch his hammer or damage his hammer village at home. As a variant, try the scouting artefact instead of the cata-scatter – this will often help reveal any significant threat to the hammer village.

    Artefacts for World Wonders

    It is not possible to build a Treasury in a World Wonder village; hence a World Wonder cannot hold a Village-scope artefact. However, if a World Wonder player holds an Account-scope or Unique artefact, the benefits of that artefact include the World Wonder village, and may be compounded with it. Useful Large artefacts for WW holders are:

    The Crop Artefact

    WW villages already consume half the usual amount of crop for their reinforcements; but this effect is compounded with the effect of any Large crop artefacts. So, for example, a WW village with an Account-scope crop artefact will consume x = 3/8 of usual crop; with the Unique crop artefact, x = of usual crop. Now, this should not be seen as a means of making crop management easy for WW sitters; rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to feed double the WW defence for the same amount of crop. This will slightly more than double the effective strength of your WW. An additional fringe benefit to the account is that it becomes easier to defend your WW building plans, and of course the crop artefact itself. This makes the Unique crop artefact probably the most desirable artefact for a WW holder.

    The Building-Hardening Artefact

    Note that the building-hardening artefact strengthens your buildings, and your walls; but not the World Wonder itself. However, this is still a considerable benefit: experienced World Wonder campaigners know that it is more efficient for small-to-medium WW hammers to target Great Warehouses than to target the WW itself; however, with the building-hardening artefact, this is no longer a viable option, and WW hammers are compelled to take the (often less efficient) option of targeting the WW directly.

    In addition, the wall-hardening properties of the building artefact reduce troop losses (and hence WW-hammer effectiveness) and time lost in rebuilding wall levels. One may even consider the option (as we did on a previous server, with great success) of choosing a Roman as WW holder: an artefact-hardened Roman wall will prove just as durable as an ordinary Teuton wall, with 81% bonus to your WW defence instead of 49% (and the Roman double-build capacity will shave several hours off your WW building time with crop fields).

    The Cata-Scatter Artefact

    With a Large cata-scatter artefact in effect, opponents will be unable to target anything but the WW directly. This may seem like an advantage similar to that described above; in reality the advantage is not as great as it seems, as the opponent may still choose to try and target a GW, with a pretty good chance of hitting a critical building (GW, GG or MB) purely at random. Only if he hits the Rally Point or the Marketplace, will he have lost out. On the upside, though, the Unique cata-scatter artefact would also make it very difficult to capture either building plans or the artefact itself. Nevertheless, I would only choose this artefact for a WW-holder if I were unable to get a crop or building-hardening artefact.

    Here endeth Aesculapian’s Artefact Guide. Comments, criticisms, compliments and corrections are gladly welcomed, and will be incorporated where relevant.
    Last edited by aesculapian; 5th January 2011 at 01:42 PM.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    12 Aug 2009
    Great guide thank +rep

  7. #7
    The Insanity Project Mwesty's Avatar
    Join Date
    1 Jul 2009
    Dunedin NZ
    Clearly you just need to play again Aesc.

    Need to spread rep.
    Au2 (Rd 1) Mwesty | Au3 (Rd 1) Mwesty |Au1 (Rd 2) Mwesty | Au2 (Rd 2) Settas |Au1 (Rd 3) El Sancho | Au5 (Rd 1) Swordax IV | Au1 (Rd 4) Electron
    Au2 (Rd 5) CodeSlave | Au3 (Rd 5) Hamish&Andy | Au4 (Rd 4) Factory | Au1 (Rd 7) .Q. | Au3 (Rd7) Quantum

  8. #8
    Blades's Avatar
    Join Date
    1 Jun 2010
    Awesome guide Aesc!

    As a part of the team that successfully implemented both the Restaurant and the Training Tag-team strategies, I add support to your guide.

    And yes, one of the sweetest movements of the server was our counter-espionage strategy which captured an artefact by persuading our opponent to move it out of safety, into the village where the real attack landed mere hours after it's relocation!

    Great guide ... pretty excellent recall particularly as you're not playing anymore!

    Rep +

  9. #9
    kurt11's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Aug 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Awesome guide Aesc!

    As a part of the team that successfully implemented both the Restaurant and the Training Tag-team strategies, I add support to your guide.

    And yes, one of the sweetest movements of the server was our counter-espionage strategy which captured an artefact by persuading our opponent to move it out of safety, into the village where the real attack landed mere hours after it's relocation!

    Great guide ... pretty excellent recall particularly as you're not playing anymore!

    Rep +

    Hey Blades, it's Kurt here, sounds like you've done a lot in your Travian life.

    + Rep to Aesc
    Last edited by kurt11; 10th January 2011 at 12:08 PM.
    Thanks Coca ForThe Siggy, you're

  10. #10
    John Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    13 Apr 2009
    Someplace around 4ly from Alpha Centauri
    Well done, a very helpful guide.

    In regards to chiefing artefact villages, the player shouldn't need to leave the alliance, the pushing rules say that artefact villages are always chiefable.

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