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Tribal Wars - Leadership basics
Leading a strong, effective and efficient tribe is difficult. Make no mistake, it is incredibly hard, and there is only a small part you can actually effect. Its the starting members that decide your tribes ultimate future - they are the building blocks, and the main ingredient. You (being the duke) are the cement, and you are the herbs and spices that make the tribe taste good. So, lets look at the basics to tribal leadership:
The experienced, arrogant members of the Tribal Wars will tell you to stick to a small shot 30 or 40 members. The new, uneducated users will do what they can to fill up their member count, and keep it topped up. But as usual, i disagree with the majority, and i like to stick to the middle, although, this does tend to be a personal call.
If you are extremely active, are willing to put a lot of time in your tribe, and have a lot of faith in general human nature - i would go for a big, almost filled tribe. But still, i don't suggest the typical 'Mass recruiting' method into this. Instead, recruitment should involve sending a mail to every player that looks like they could be decently dominative in their 7x7's (the villages you see when you click 'map'), and actually answer your mail with a message that seems relatively intellectual... Far too many times have i been in tribes with non-English speaking members, or 9 year olds who might as well not be English from the way they type. Quite obviously, a few support requests of 'Plz h3lp!' slows the tribe down significantly.
If you do get a good reply, invite them. The mail doesn't need to ask them any questions, just expand on 'Do you want to join us, and our active, helpful tribe', as im sure if you are aiming at having a big tribe, you will be inviting a few people that are new to the game.
If you do end up with a high amount of 'Noobs', you can simply write a few guides for them, or use mine if you wish. 'Farming' and 'What to do when under attack' have been the most helpful to my tribes so far, as they give the new users of Tribal Wars that introduction of the 'Tribal Wars way of thinking' that a while of playing ends up giving you. Educating the newest players in the tribe is an essential part of the general flow - if you don't have time to do it yourself, get a council member/baron to do it instead.
If you are on the other side of the spectrum, and you don't have much time for the game, then... Well, don't be a duke. You will probably end up getting overthrown by your council members, and that wont really be a good feeling.
But, if you do have time for the game, yet don't feel like having responsibility for 100 members, or whatever the worlds member limit is, then you should go for the smaller tribe. And of course, going for a smaller tribe means you need to make sure all your members are in top shape. Consider the smaller tribes the highly trained Special Forces, and the bigger tribes being the average infantry. The main reason countries don't just use Special Forces as their main armed forces is that they require a lot of time (and money) to get them ready for war. So this fits into the Tribal Wars setting perfectly - unless you have a massive council full of members who can teach every complex method to every member, and spend 12 hours online every day to keep activity up to check, and keep informing members of new changes, you cannot have a tribe above 50 members that has good, active and experienced members.
I find myself in the middle. I gather a solid group of 20 or 30 players that know what they are doing, and add as many active and willing to learn noobs as i can to the recipe. This means the noobs learn fairly quickly, and of course can be replaced easily, and the experienced members can form a difficult force to go to war with, and teach the noobs.
If your a tribe that reaches, or almost reaches the member limit on the world - you have a key to a bad tribal representation. Meaning allies with any sense will be hard to find, and experienced players will run in the opposite direction. I have seen tribes with unique names, an attractive profile and with a good external forum personality fail, because they got trigger happy with the invites.
But of course, you can always twist things like this in your favor. Like getting good external forum representation will allow you to make people believe your tribe is full to the rim of experienced members, and therefore will scare any premades, family tribes, and so on.
The key to good representation on the external forums is simple; get an avatar, speak in full English, maybe get a decent signature, and act like you know what you are doing. That will get you a small group of people who admire you, possible want to join you, and may even invite you into a premade on a later world. Never burn your bridges - you never know when you will meet an old friend in a new world who is closeby, and how you left off is probably what will decide your survival.
Diplomacy is simple. Don't ally with a tribe much better than your own, or much worse. Stick to a tribe that is similar to your own.
A tribe that's better than yours will use you as a meat shield, and a tribe that's worse just wont help you. A tribe the same size will seek your assistance from time to time, but apart from that you are able to stay happy, and most likely become continent dominator's.
Make sure your allies aren't too close by - you ultimately want to be continent dominator, so you wont want to share it, will you?
Finally, don't throw merges away as soon as they are mentioned. If a merge into an ally will help your tribe, then do it - don't run away from the concept because you might not stay duke. You can earn that back when you get over there if need be. Remember, its better to be a member of a good tribe, than a duke of a bad one.
Thanks for reading, and have fun!