You've just come out of protection. You've got a sturdy little warband. Your army is getting restless. You feel the need to prove your worth and strut your stuff.
To impress everyone, you'll need to grow; to grow, you'll need land. You could get it from scouting, but by attacking, you can get a lot more while using fewer turns. Besides, attacking is a lot more fun!
Wait! Before you go out and start attacking, remember that, as a general rule, the larger the warband, the larger the army. A larger warband will also tend to retaliate; sometimes brutally. A good idea is to be careful while attacking. Don't attack one person too much - they'll get peeved.
There is no "magic number" of troops that will be able to succeed in an attack. It depends on quite a few factors; most especially turn speed and the age of the round. If the current round is halfway though, don't expect easy fights. It's best to be there for the start; many players will be weak in at least one troop type.
How Many Times?
You know to expect some retaliation, and you're "cool" with that. You've also trained an army that you feel can win. Now, how many times should you attack someone? Under normal conditions, any warband can have 21 attacks on them by all enemies combined. After that, a warband is "maxed" and can't be attacked until some time passes. Every hour, 1 attack is subtracted from their maximum total. Every time they attack another warband, they "lose" two attacks from their maximum. Before you go out and attack someone 21 times, remember that 21 is a maximum, not the only amount. Most warbands don't like getting attacked 21 times. Attacking online is also a bad idea. It is considered very rude and will tend to evoke a strong, perhaps even emotional, response.
If you attack someone too much for their own liking, you will face retaliation for more than just your enemy's lost land. They will likely try to do some serious damage, which could end up with irrecoverable damage or perhaps even the destruction of your warband. The acceptable number of attacks varies between servers. 5–6 is always a safe bet, but on many games/servers more will be tolerated. A good idea is to watch how many attacks others make on a warband and adjust your strategy accordingly. You can also ask one of the stronger players in the game or post a topic on the forums. Plenty of friendly forum-goers will be willing to answer questions; all you need to do is ask.
Who should you attack? It's best to take the most possible land per turn used attacking. This generally means the person with the most land that has a similar Networth to you. If you haven't covered Networth, a short summary is provided here:
Networth is a measurement of a warband's total power. It is the combined value of the army's troops, resources, and land. Generally, the more networth, the stronger the warband.
A person close in Networth to you will have a similarly sized army to you. It's best to attack only within a range of 2.5 times your networth. Anyone higher might be far too strong.
Before we continue into each type of attack, we'll need to talk about the concept of Health. When you start out, your Health is at 100%. When you attack, that number will decrease by 6%. As your health gets lower, your attacking power will weaken. Once you get down to 20% health, you can't attack until you bring your health back up.
You can do this in one of three ways. When you use turns, your health increases by 1% every turn. When you spend turns "Healing" (Click Heal on the Sidebar under "Use Turns"), you get a 2% increase in health per turn. When you use the spy mission "Medical Attention" (On the "Spies,Peaceful" page), you will get 10% health for the two turns spy missions require.
Finally, you'll need to know what kind of attack to use.
First off, we suggest you read the Troops section of the game guide before continuing. This will give you a basic overview of your troops, which will help you quite a bit in understanding this section.
This attack sends all four troop types, pitting your entire army against your opponent's entire army. The main disadvantage to this is the fact that it uses all troop types. This requires you to have a larger number of every troop type, instead of just one type. It is, however, effective against people with large amounts of Towers since it pits all your troops against the enemy. It is also a good attack to use against someone who amasses only one type of troop. You won't be able to break them in the specialized attack that uses their favored troop type, but with a Standard Attack you can break their defenses and cause major losses in their massed troop.
On the War Of Ages server, you must Standard Attack any warband under 500 acres.
This sends all four troop types like the standard attack, but grants an 18% attack bonus, costs a 25% health penalty, and causes 50% more troop losses. It also prevents troops shared in mutual clan defense from helping your enemy. This attack is generally not worth the penalties, although it may be useful for going up against a member of a strong clan that is sharing forces. However, in normal situations it simply isn't worth the costs, which are so severe that once you've launched two or three, you need a bunch of turns to recover. Only use this attack if you are fairly sure you will succeed and know you will get considerable amounts of land from it.
This attack uses only militia units for both offense and defense. This is a good attack to use if you have at least a decent amount of infantry. Infantry are cheap, and can be easily bought or produced. They have a 2:2 attack:defense ratio, so you will need slightly more mice then your opponent to win (A defender has a 5% bonus).
This attack uses only defensive units. Bombardment units have a ratio of 3:5 (attack:defense), so you need quite a few more than your enemy to succeed. However, because of the low attack power of defensive units, some people have only a very small number of these. With a modest number of units may win quite a few battles if you pick your targets carefully.
A frontal assault uses heavy units. These units have a 5:4 ratio (attack:defense), so they have an offensive advantage. If you have more than your opponent you will usually succeed. These units are the most effective troop in the entire game; easy to acquire, and quite strong. However, everyone else knows this as well; you may encounter many armies that are too powerful for you to break their defenses.
Boats, like fast units, are better on offense then defense. With a 7:6 attack:defense ratio, you should use it if you have slightly more boats then your opponent. Boats are much more expensive and harder to get than Hares, but not too many people have large armies of them. Essentially, they are powerful because few people use large quantities of them.
This is a combination attack that pits your infantry and boats against your opponents. Very few players use this attack, because it is relatively new. This attack works in the same sense that Standards do. If you have both infantry and boats, and the defender has only boats, they will lose more.
This is yet another combination attack that uses defensive units and boats. Because you are using defensive units, you will need a large amount to break through and get land. Very few players use this attack as it is relatively new as well.
Espionage is a powerful spy mission that will tell you what troops your enemy has. It is a very useful tool, and you should never omit to espionage your enemy before planning an attack.
Overall, it is best to amass a single troop type then attempt to use all of them at the same time. This way you will be able to break the defense of at least one warband at any time.
Since infantry and defensive units can be replaced quickly, either produced by barracks or bought as mercenaries, they have an advantage over Heavy units and Boats early on. For that reason, they are a good choice for new players. Once you are larger and have the capacity to produce your troops more quickly, Heavy units or Boats might be a better troop to switch to. Heavy units and Boats are lost slower than Infantry and Defensive fighters; you can go further with less.
Of course, you'll want some troops other then your amassed type, so you can defend yourself from the attacks of others. However, this isn't very important, as someone almost always have more of at least one troop then you do, this is minimally important. You generally don't need to worry about this until you're in the upper ranks. If you can get enough land to put the game in a choke hold, you'll want to, and be able to, defend it. Until then, don't bother. Being able to get land is most important. Being able the keep land is nice, but rarely attainable.
As a general rule, attack with a Militia Strike, Bombardment, Frontal Assault, Naval Battle, Boarding Attack, or Navel Bombardment, depending on what troop(s) you are strong in. If you fail, try with a different troop type. Standard Attacks should only be attempted when you are truly more powerful than your opponent.
Just remember, never give up!