I *hate* Barbarians in Civ IV

Argh. Is there any point to endless waves of barbarians in Civ IV? It seems that, inevitably, early in the game there’s a huge amount of warriors, archers, and axemen that have to be dealt with.

No kidding, in my current start up game (the East Asia scenario) I have three cities (6, 3, and 2 pop) and NINE barbarians of different types inside my cultural territory. And this happens all the damn time. Is there some sort of start-game limitation on expansion or growth?

The game is a cheating little shit when it comes to barbarians. Here’s what I know:

  1. The barbarian waves will not begin until after your third city is built.
  2. Barbarians will only spawn in squares covered by fog of war.
  3. They will attack intelligently, bypassing fortified troops and going after resources in an attempt to pillage them.

The ideal would be to fortify resource squares and towns with castles and troops, but decent fortifications usually aren’t discovered by the time city three is built. The realistic alternative is to build cities with an eye for defense: a perimeter of hills and forests is best. Horses are all but necessary in a barbarian game; they will allow you to build and deploy horse archers, which with a little luck can be used to establish an effective defensive line that also extends your line of sight and prevents barbarians from popping up a few squares from your cities.

Nowadays I just turn them off. I miss the animals in the beginning but it’s not worth the headache, especially when the barbarians don’t give similar trouble to AI players. Eff that. The only real downside is that you’ll never find that barbarian continent covered in black cities, and get to play conquistador.

Build chariots - they kill axmen extremely well.

Other options are:
Play as Mali - the skirmisher is excellent at fighting off axmen and archers
Build lots of the default fighters and uncover as much fog as you can
Build the Greatwall - Barbarians will not enter your cultural zone of control.

I’ve tried most of those (though I don’t have Warlords installed on this machine).

The problem is they eventually wear down my pickets and get through. And I can’t build as fast as they can tear down.

Is there some means of turning off barbarians? If so, I’ve yet to find it.

Create a custom game. That will allow you to control all sorts of things.

Go to Custom Game. From here you can muck about to your heart’s content. The middle pick list has No Barbarians as the 4th option. Good luck!

Hmm they can be annoying, but I don’t have that much problem dealing with them. They die fast. Then again, I don’t play above Noble. Maybe you’re on a higher setting?

What I do is make sure to have one unit assigned to Barbarian Killing around every town. If towns are close, one unit can serve two. Ideally this is a horse archer, but an axeman or even a couple archers can do it. When a barbarian shows up, make a beeline towards it and take it out before it can pillage that village or farm.

What I really want to know is how the $@#!# do the AI controlled players get so damn big and powerful when I’m doing all I can to just keep up. I know on Noble they’re not supposed to cheat, but sometimes I think they do. Fookers. And no, I don’t want a salad, even if you made it yourself.

Just wait until Beyond The Sword comes out. If the AI has been tweaked to make it more competitive, I’m willing to bet the barbarians are a little more varied as well.

As for me, I usually sentry a few mounted units and build roads to them. Worked for the Roman Empire, it will work for me.

Not barbarian-related, but privateers are making a comback in the next expansion.

I’ve been playing on noble too and there’s always some other civ kicking butt. One time the Malinese declared war on me and I didn’t know where they were. Loaded a couple of galleons with my best unit (knights), set off for Malinese territory looking for a little revenge. Unloaded my knights, who were promptly slaughterd by SAM Infantry.

Regarding barbarians, I’ve gotten where I make extra warriors just to spread out and lift the fog of war where I’m going to be sending settlers.

I tend to be aggressive about mapping out my continents, so I’ll usually have two or three scouts after I’m done with that. Since eliminating the fog of war eliminates barbarian generation, I find that they do great work on that. And if they’re forest-savvy, they’ll often survive attacks by barbarian archers - when they’re fortified in wooded hills, at least.

But, yeah, I really, really hate the way that the barbarians start swarming me and ignoring all the other civs (At least where I can see them.)

Once in a while I’ll come across a barbarian city, which I assume is a rival civ’s lost city. They don’t make their own cities, do they?

Actually, they do - I don’t know the exact mechanism, but when I leave a wandering barbarian alone long enough (he’s not coming into my territory, and I don’t have an offensive unit I trust to take him out.) I’ll go back to check and find that a barbarian city has been planted there.

Sometimes I take them, sometimes I burn 'em. It depends how large my civ is, and how resistant to being stifled by over-expansion.
But if you play on a “terra” world, it’s fun to go play conquistator with the “New World” barbarian cities…

I haven’t played Civ 4 in a few months now (eagerly waiting for BtS), but I don’t remember the barbs as being that much of a pain, unless you were alone on a large island or semi-continental mass.

Even then, just build some chariots (if you have horses) or archers (if you don’t). You’ll obviously need more archers than chariots, but it can be done.

Plus, I love getting units up to 10XP quickly - especially if I’m playing a Charismatic civ (with the decreased XP required for promotions).

I echo what the others have said…
Now I play using the Warlord extension (which I thoroughly recommend), but I’m sure most of this still applies:

  • clear the ‘fog of war’ away and have a couple of units constantly exploring for new barbarian cities (because that’s where barbarians come from)
  • use ‘custom game’ settings (changing one thing at a time) to make sure you both enjoy the game and learn how to play better
  • try to get to copper or iron quickly, because you get better units
  • study the relationships between units (axemen +50% v melee; chariot +100% v axemen; spearmen +100% v mounted; crossbowmen + 50% v melee) and have a selection of such units ready to take on the invaders
  • build roads to connect your cities and have a mounted patrol ready to speedily go where needed
  • have at least one city build barracks (stables too) and churn out experienced military units (Vassalage - reached via Feudalism - will give all your new units +2 XP as well)

The barbarian problem will vary with level and especially if you choose ‘raging barbarians’ :eek: from the custom screen.
I’m currently playing a Warlord extension game on Warlord level against 3 AI (all automatically set to Noble) with ‘raging barbarians’. It is now 1800 and there has been no end to the waves of barbarians throughout the game. But, after some previous practice, I’m actually enjoying it. :wink: Certainly the AI are suffering - you can see their roads and special resources being pillaged. One AI even lost a city to the barbarians! :smiley:

P.S. It helped me a lot to play the Warlord extension scenario ‘Barbarians’.
You start with a budget and a single special barbarian unit called a ‘camp’, which is well defended and can produce new units when you pay for them. But that’s the only way to get reinforcements, because you are always at war with all existing AI civilisations, and must always raze their cities (in fact, that’s how you win).
So while your AI opponents make discoveries and build up their towns, you trundle round pillaging and razing. :cool:

It’s really disheartening to see the first barbarian axemen show up. Warriors are easy to deal with, archers aren’t so bad, but generally the barbs get axemen before you do. So you really have to have a couple of chariots waiting. Chariots are +100% against axemen. If your cities are roaded, and you don’t let the axemen camp on wooded hills next to your cities you can take out waves of axemen with a couple of chariots. Keep your chariots out patrolling the borders, but keep them on the roads. And keep them close enough together that they can back each other up…nothing worse than losing a battle and the enemy unit is down to 1 hit point, but you’ve got nothing to hit him with. If you’ve had a few warriors out exploring, bring them back and promote them to axemen, especially if they’ve got woodsman II. They can zoom around the woods while the barbarians are slogging along. Wait just out of range until the enemy jumps onto a clear tile to pillage a farm or road, and take them out. And if the other civilizations are pretty closely packed and your borders start to meet, just a few patrollers can eliminate fog of war areas entirely, which means no more barbarians. But those barbarian cities can be a quick way to add to your empire without the risk of attacking another civ.

They are good for one thing, and one thing only: experience fodder for your troops, so that when a real enemy shows up you’ll have some battle-hardened troops to fend them off with.

Yes, the whole point to the barbs, actually (besides just simply making the game harder for you). Roving barbs have been a staple pain in Civ since the beginning (I preferred the Alpha Centauri incarnation of the mind worms).


I actually like the barbarians, because it enables me to fight some fairly nasty little wars without incurring the wrath of the real powers. You can end up with some pretty buffed up units if you play your cards right, and the barbarian wars tend to be running, wide-open battles that are quite entertaining. They’re never really a HUGE threat, but are challenging enough to make you have to think out a strategy.

It also adds a realistic historical flavour to the game. Nomad armies, after all, WERE a pretty big obstacle for the rise of civilization.

If you install Warlords you can build the Great Wall, which stops barbarians from entering your cultural boundaries. I feel your pain, though…the GW is a must have because of the barbs for me.