My son is off to Boy Scout camp next week, and he has asked me to “sit” for him on Travian while he’s offline for a week. This was the strategy he related to me today in his instructions for his “sitter.”
Technically I am going to be logging in on his Travian account rather than “sitting” for him, since sitters have their own accounts and are authorized in the user settings to have limited access to someone else’s account. Basically as a sitter you can do anything except use “gold,” which is purchased with real money.
Alexander commented yesterday that he had been raided by some players who are active at night when he is asleep, and he suspects they live in Australia or elsewhere “on the other side of the world.” That was the case when we played Travian together last Spring. It was advantageous to have “sitters” who were in Australia or New Zealand, since they could be active on your account during the night when you’re sleeping. It is going to be fun to “sit” for Alexander next week, but I’m sure I’ll waste a fair bit of time taking care of his Travian village as well.
If you’re not familiar with Travian, WikiPedia provides a good overview:
Travian is an award-winning German massively multiplayer online browser-based strategy game developed by Travian Games GmbH.
The game’s developers drew roughly from Classical antiquity and particularly from the Roman Empire to create a predominantly militaristic real-time strategy. Along with three English versions, and the original German version, the game has been translated into over 40 other languages, and has over 3 million players and over 250 servers worldwide. In 2006, it won the Superbrowsergame Award, in the large games category.
Travian is programmed in PHP and runs in most modern browsers (such as Camino, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari). Travian was also the first game of its type to be playable on mobile phones. When played on a mobile phone, it uses Java.
Alexander would likely point out that the game can also be played on the iPhone’s Safari web browser, as he frequently borrows my phone when we’re out / away from home and he wants to do some field upgrades, build a new building, or train some new Travian troops. The real-time aspect of the game makes it both time consuming and rather addicting. I find it amazing my son is engaged in a role playing game that will probably last six months, with people all over the world who he will never meet but who share a similar passion as he does for games like this. As I noted in January 2008, Travian does provide excellent opportunities to learn about Internet safety, and I’m sure we’ll have some more interesting conversations along those lines in the weeks and months ahead.
For more about Travian and our past learning experiences together playing the game, check out the following podcasts:
- Podcast296V: Introducing and Explaining Travians, A Free Online Simulation Game (by 11 year old Alexander) (a video podcast, Dec 2008)
- Podcast240: Travian Tips and Lessons Learned After Four Months Playing Online (audio-only, March 2008)
- Podcast209: A 10 year old discusses Travian, an online simulation war game (audio-only, Dec 2007)
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