This is mostly for those who want to play defensive or just as Gaul or as Roman, but as very active and doing it well.
All those playing just for a temporary time or for curiosity should avoid this thread and this guide written here.
If you don't play seriously, then let your villages to be open to raids.
I won't talk much and I write what I consider myself to be the most important or essential to know, mostly for the newest in game. I say these from my perspective and from my experience. Some players will be angry on me because I put a bit more details here, and while you play in game all your enemies want that you will be a weaker target for their plans.
A guide for Gaul starters is also at Beginner's Guide - First week as Gaul about the first week as Gaul.
A guide for Roman starters is also Guide to "lazy romans" Don't have much time but want to play? this is for you!
First of all, if you are a new player in game or don't know too much in game, my recommendation is that you should think on your strategy before to start playing on a server. Don't play on too much servers, or at least if you really want more than just one server, you should play on very few servers, no more than 2 or 3, and that only if you have enough time to be very active on them. Because this is a war game and you won't succeed too well in defense or offense operations without your implication in proper time. I recommend playing mostly on a single server than many.
When start on a server, choose your tribe as Gaul if you play defensive, or Roman if you can use more time in offense troops, and be careful on the directions / coordinates on map which you choose to start, and also choose playing as Governor.
Why playing as Governor, but not as King ?
I recommend you to read wiki about Governors and Kings. But you should know that it is most easier for you to play as Governor and with more advantages at beginning. As a governor you have beginner protection which means you can’t be attacked right now, and don’t need to worry about defense for a while. The beginner protection will expire after 7 days or when your village reaches 200 population.
Kings are limited by the number of tributes and influence. You can play as King after you know the game very well and when you have friends to help you for that, because the villages where kings and dukes have open treasuries are prior targets of attacks by any other foreign player or kingdom, and by enemies.
Think careful about your position on map and neighboring kingdoms, talk from the start to kings you may trust and search for a best kingdom. Many Kings may tell that they're there for long journey, however only few really do. Mostly later in game are seen those who will play till the end.
On many servers join pre-made teams of players choosing a wonder area, so you have a chance to find one of them around a nearest wonder to your location. However, many of them accept the joining of new players in the first weeks or in the first month, but they are closing the recruitment or stopping the joining of others later in game. I recommend to join on a server in his first days and keep your personal diplomacy on.
When joining to a kingdom, talk in the kingdom's chats/messages and to your closest partners from kingdom, also try to attract on your side other players surrounding you (neighbors).
You can also to relocate yourself on map if your king or kingdom don't seems competent, only if you have only 1 village and if you have an open option for relocation.
Hopefully soon a Menhir feature could be added in game by game developers to help new players moving to desired kingdoms from the start. About that Menhir will appear a new guide in wiki or in Help sections IF that will be implemented.
If that proposed Menhir feature (now being tested by mods) won't be implemented, and if the relocation don't help you, then you could use the common strategy of settling fast a 2nd village in a chosen location and destroying the first village after settling the 2nd.
First Villages and Troops
Your first village will be a bit mixed in defense and offense because of robber hideouts. About them you can find details in Wiki, Help or other guides. Attacking robbers in the first times will help you to get resources. Later you will need more offense troops to hit well these growing robbers.
How you build the first village will be essential for building the second one in short time, even without the use of gold, and without to lose the Beginner Protection. For doing this you need to be sure first of your chosen area on map, because you should get most of your villages close to each others and to be sure of your future into a competent kingdom or a one with more chances. This is recommended for beginners. Also be careful where you settle the 2nd village.
For building the first village in a good way for settling a 2nd very fast, then you should consider the Quests Book from the shown menu in game.
Read from the spoiler:
If your first village is indeed in a good area since the beginning, or even inside a big / stronger team surrounding you, then you don't need to demolish anything in the first village. You can settle in less than 48 hours even without using gold and without to demolish buildings. You really need to stay active on server for doing that. So, if you are fortunate along a good team/kingdom, you can even choose a 3w/3c/3i/9c (9 croppers) valley for your second village to settle. Remember that all these 9c and 15c are the most wanted in game for feeding more troops. As Gaul, or even as Roman, I recommend you to take mostly 6c, 7c or 9c (cropper valleys) for settling villages, being defensive, while each 15c ( 1w/1c/1i/15c valley) is moslty used by offense players, like Teutons and even Romans.
Best (first) defense
In the first villages, as Gaul, after you solved with a fast settling, from the beginning build a Trapper and as many Crannies you can use. Each Cranny should be at maximum and it would help you to keep your resources safe from raids/attacks. And if you have villages within any kingdom borders, build a Hidden Treasury. Also build a Wall at a higher level. No one will be interested to raid you again if they don't get anything. Later you will be attacked for other reasons and Crannies won't be useful more longer while your development is growing, so later in game you will need to demolish Crannies for to empty spaces to other buildings. Remember that only the Gauls have Cranny at 2000 resources, all other have at 1000 res protected. Romans don't have a Trapper building.
In the first weeks you can focus on resource fields, while you did the first defense structure, but don't forget on military development too. All resource fields at maximum levels will help you to build Barracks and Stables faster at highest levels. Romans don't need Stable as much as other tribes.
Your first village or where your Hero is located to as a Capital village, as Gaul, you will have mixed troops: Phalanxes, Pathfinders, Swordsman and even Theutates Thunders, mostly used against Robbers. Every player by each tribe will get robbers at his capital or at his first village.
In the 4rth village you will focus on Druidriders (and Stable obviously at maximum). In all other villages you will focus on Phalanxes. Also Pathfinders to every village against Scouting.
3 villages should be focused on resources, while all others focused on defense at the maximum levels.
Gaul units in defense are the best in game. Phalanxes are cheaper and faster. Each Druidrider use 2 population and with a defense power similar to a Phalanx, however cavalry is used for long distances.
For Romans the best use of troops are Legionnaires and Pretorians as defense infantry. Training thousands of them with non stop production with a level 20 barracks will take less weeks. Cavalry is used by Romans mostly for attacks/raids. Infantry is cheaper, easier and faster. And you don't need to focus on Stable as Gauls do, unless you choose to play offensive.
In attacks Imperians are good, however a good amount of Legionars/Pretorians is also good in attacks on small targets.
Focus on iron production first, Romans especially, so you can start upgrading that Barracks and Smithy as soon as possible. It shouldn't be hard to get a village upgraded to a city with a level 20 Barracks and a level 20 Smithy (buildings).
A good defense will be based mostly on infantry, horses are too expensive since you look for speed which you don't need as a true defender. Horses (cavalry) are used mostly for sending defense on longer distances in a shorter time. As example, the most Gaul and Teuton offensive armies will contain more infantry than horses. Therefore infantry defense is worth a bit more than cavalry defense. As I know Cavalry defense is best used as standing defense since standing defense is primarily used to prevent quick sneak attacks by enemy cavalry.
The most of tribes can support 24/7 production of defense infantry from a level 20 Barracks in a city (with all resource fields at level 12).
For Romans that means 408 Pretorians (with iron oasis or 5 iron fields) or 444 Legionars per day.
For Gauls 594 Phalanx (with clay oasis or 5 clay fields) per day.
For Teutons 551 Spears (with wood oasis and 5 wood fields, or with 2 wood oases) per day.
And, each Scout of a Roman or of a Teuton consume only 1 Crop and cost 250 resources to train whereas Gaul scouts cost 270 resources to train. Romans need Horse Drinking Through level 10.
Teuton scouts would be best for blocking enemy scouts and Roman scouts would be best for scouting the enemy.
Don't forget about Crops to feed your troops all the time, otherwise your troops will "die" by starving. For this you will need more oasis in Embassy, even if before or while you upgrade your villages to cities. Assigning crop oasis are the best choice with an Embassy at maximum level. For Gauls and Romans a oasis with 25%clay + 25%crop or a 25%wood + 25%crops is also a good choice, more than just 25%crop, mostly when you don't have 50%crop oases available to you. Also, compulsory to build those buildings which give bonus in crop production. See them in Wiki.
If your village and your assigned oasis are inside your kingdom borders, then you can send a specific amount of troops (Phalanxes or Legionars) in these oasis for to activate a crop bonus.
And all Crop fields should be at maximum levels in villages or at the highest levels in cities. Remember that villages could be upgraded to cities when and if you have enough culture available (mostly a bit later in game).
Wild animals are also a good choice for to get a free additional defense. Animals don't cost crops, however the best animals in defense are the most rare and you need cages for them. When you get cages (from adventures or from auctions), you can send your hero equipped with cages in attack on the oasis from where you want to take animals.
After you researched Phalanxes, Swords, Pathfinders, Druidriders, Haeduans, Rams and Chieftains (even Catapults if needed) in Academies and when you no longer need the Academy for new other buildings, then you can demolish it. You can do same with Smithies after you had upgraded all units to maximum tech levels. The same you can do as Roman (of course, about your specific characteristics).
At beginning you will train settlers and most of your villages will be always requested inside kingdom borders. Later you will be able to train chieftains for to conquer inactive (gray) villages inside the kingdoms borders or close to you. I mean, not villages with lower population. For to succeed well in game, your villages or most of them will be closer to each other, mainly because of travel distances for troops.
However, if later in game you would want to resign or to leave the game, it would be better for your allied partners to give them your so well developed villages, more than by settling again or by conquering weaker ones.
Playing as King
If you choose to play as King, then you will need a group of friends playing and helping you.
Most of all, at the beginning you will need 2 or 3 kingdoms lead by you and your friends, such as it is written in Wiki, and each King and Duke need at least 1 dual and 1 sitter. Read the Rules about Duals and Sitters for that you will not confuse between features.
After 1 month playing, you and your friend king could choose to create an Union (united kingdom) together, which will result in 2 leaders and 4 dukes.
All Kings and Dukes should be most active in game.
As King, and also your dukes, should ensure that all members joining in your kingdom will settle/take each valley inside kingdom borders. Doing this, you will get more tributes from them and sometimes more treasures. Recruiting players to your kingdom indeed will take more time and more talk. Most common are the recruiters doing this job, even on the server or even before that server starts.
Read the wiki about treasuries and influence and a guide about a wonder. Settle and occupy areas close to a wonder desired by you or which is close to you. Plan on the valleys where the villages with active treasuries would be and that these would not override on each other's influence. My advice is to build 2 villages each to the valleys with planned treasury, ones for villages at maximum extend (those with 3 tiles of influence at 500 population) and ones for future cities (those with 4 tiles at 1000 population), from the early beginning in game, because Treasuries should have a distance of 6 - 8 valleys/tiles between them and all of them should connect with the King' Treasury. In this way you can cover more valleys on map within your kingdom. Only a mistake could break your plans on this.
Every time a Treasury is a wanted target for attacks and raids from foreign kingdoms. Like in this image:
Every influence depend on the population of your village, or even of a city.
Diplomacy: Remember that as King you will need some relations with other kingdoms in order to fulfill your missions. It depend on how you choose your strategy to be and on how good you are or your diplomat is in negotiations. Not all kingdoms will be open to diplomacy, but most of all not opening chances in diplomacy much later in game. If you chosen a wonder (or not) and you found a neighboring kingdoms same stronger as you or more than you, you can try make deals. As example, you can think to a NAP, to a Confederacy or even to an Union with that king. If you are unlucky to find a rival kingdom which is stronger and his king don't agree any deal, then you should alert your own and try to rally other kingdoms on your side and against the potential enemy. Your enemy surely will take actions against you.
However, remember that in some kingdoms are joining other kingdom. If you got a pre-made kingdom as a potential rival, you may be indeed unlucky. Sometimes best options may be showing to be the joining into a stronger team than yours, but not before to be sure that that kingdom will not be one disappearing over night or one without good members. Or you can choose not to join.
If you find active players with a not so active kings or not so happy in their kingdoms or even who may consider joining to yours, then take this chance and try to invite them.
Communication. Not all teams use in-game chats, however a Secret society is open in game to be build for private/SS chat messages. Some kingdoms are using SS chat more than a kingdom chat. Rarely may happen that they don't use any in-game chats, but on outside sites. However, kingdom members need to communicate each other and even with the King and his dukes.
Remember, those who don't care of your kingdom affairs or not interested to give any help to you, they won't be worth to keep them inside, but rather to conquer those who defy you, otherwise they may become your source of enemies.
Sitters. You should ensure that all your kingdom members would have active sitters and that those sitters are based on close trust. Also put your close friends to keep their eyes on them as sitters, and even on their communications. Those hiding some of their messages from sitters could be suspicious or even spies sometimes. Your trustful friends should not be only your dukes or your undercover allied dukes. Every stronger team sees and know what their members are doing through sitters. No exceptions.
Mark tiles on map. You can mark valleys, players or kingdoms with different colors or flags, and short messages on them, also sharing those marks to your kingdom or to a secret society.
Organize battle officers. Surely you will need to organize military actions. A chief for defense and a chief for offense are the most common. This depends on you how you decide to be. You will know how this could be done after you played before as governor into a good kingdom or at least a competent one.
Every team in game is planning a defense strategy about their villages or cities with Treasuries, Hammers ("hammer" meaning Offense army, (primarily in 15c or 9c valleys and upgraded to cities for Crop fields), Scouters (villages with Scouts primarily) and other villages/cities inside or outside the kingdom borders.
Standing defense will be a priority for each Treasury village/city hold by king or dukes.
Wars. Every war has targets prepared before that war starts. The most common wars are on wonder areas and on players. Hammer attacks are the full offense troops from a village/city developed generally at maximum, for cleaning enemy villages from any defense, and before these attacks usually fake attacks are started for to annoy and to make confusion among enemies. Hammers also contains catapults and rams, attacking specific buildings. About these hammers and tactics used surely exist more info in another guide. The most common targets for hammers are Treasuries from kings and dukes, especially. After hammer attacks may follow conquering attacks with chieftains. The purpose of these wars are to destroy the enemy targets and their villages in a way that they cannot strike back.
A well done hammer attack can clean an entire village of troops and also destroying defense buildings. Many use catapults against Crop fields usually. Even the wonder has in fact a village in it.
Don't worry, this is a game. Even if you lose once, you will get more experience for the next time.
Oh, I was to forget, buying Gold in game sometimes it is recommended, even as king, because it would help the game. And game developers would expect for that. However, no one is forced to do, so it is not compulsory to buy Gold or Gold Premium, but it is nice to mention this. You can also to exchange silver to gold, thankfully, if you know what or how to do with.
I recommend to use some gold in game for to open 1 more space for buildings in construction progress.
If I forgot something, please, feel free to complete info details in it.