Build all walls up to a level 15-plus and keep 1 spearman, and 1 slinger in each town. Have 1 war ship in each port. A speedboat is the best for this purpose. It costs only 5 gold per hour and it is never destroyed in an attack, it just runs away if attacked by a navy. If you can afford it, put 12, 18, 24 or 30 rams behind a wall with a single spearman and slinger. The number of rams you can fit on a battle-field depends on the level of your Town Hall. If a looter attacks, your 30 rams will take out 30 of his hoplites per round. Plus each section of the wall still standing will also take out 1 enemy unit out. In 2 round-battle it will be at least 61 enemy hoplites annihilated. Then you rams are scattered for 4 hours with no losses. If the looter attacks with mortars, steam giants and balloons, some or all of your rams may be destroyed. But rams are cheap to replace. Besides on new servers most players initially do not have mortars and steam giants.
In practice, if your wall is high enough and the opponent does not have enough siege engines, you could inflict a crushing defeat on them with hundreds of his hoplites lost versus no loss to you.
Ikariam can be played as a war game, and many players chose to do so. They often complain loudly in forums about the Ikariam being Simkariam – in reference to Simcities populated by meek builders. But it is the builders that will inherit the world of Ikariam. While warmongers clash and waste time and resources on conflicts, the builders steadily build and become more powerful. And of course a sufficiently provoked builder can become a fighter – a large account of a builder can support a larger military than that of a persistent warmonger. The same player can be a builder, trader or warrior at different times, depending on how much play time they have and what takes their fancy. This guide is designed to help you build an economically strong account. Some war-oriented players get two or even three sulphur towns and would swear that it is absolutely essential to have a high level barrack in each city. They are of course wrong. In the long run it is the player with stronger economy who wins. Once you get a lot of gold and you don’t know what to do with it, build a strong navy. While this may seem controversial and some would scoff at the idea, this is actually a very good strategy. Most aggressive players develop large ground forces and have little gold left for navy. You could easily inflict a number of embarrassing naval defeats on them, and permanently blockade one of their sulphur cities. This will severely hurt them as they would soon run out of wine in that city. They will not be able to produce troops or sulphur. Their gold income will decline, their army will start deserting. You can even sail around and capture all of their ports, leaving 1 or 2 ram ships in each. Then you can start peace negotiations. Offer to remove your blockades if they promise not to attack you again. When negotiating, be polite, do not gloat at your victories and do not demand that they return what they looted from you. Even if they manage to break the blockades and defeat your fleets it will be costly for them. You would have earned their respect and they will be unlikely to attack you again. You may even become friends later.
And most important: don't run out of gold - use our award-winning Ikariam army upkeep calculator.
Just as real life Ikariam is a game that rewards patience and good forward planning.