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[BtS] Bronze Age & Indo-European migrations 2018-05-03

Author: Maciamo


I have been playing Civilization since the first version in the 1990s, but this is my first scenario. Some of you may already know me as the Admin of the Eupedia Forum dedicated mostly to history, archaeology, linguistics and population genetics.

As a historian and population geneticist, I have created two scenarios (and a modpack) for Civilization IV (Beyond the Sword version) in which I attempt to recreate the context of the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age in Eurasia and North Africa.

The default games of Civilization (whatever the version from I to VI) start in 4000 BCE. The problem with this is that all teams found their first city in 4000 BCE and it takes many centuries before we can found a second city. By the time we reach 2000 BCE, most of the map is still empty. Furthermore, players have to discover some Palaeolithic "technologies" like fishing, hunting, archery, sailing and mysticism and Early Neolithic ones like agriculture, animal husbandry and pottery.

In reality, by 4000 BCE agriculture had already spread all over Europe, North Africa, West Asia, the Indus Valley and parts of China. To remedy this, the game starts with Europe, the Middle East and the Indus Valley already filled with Neolithic settlements, which I divided in cultural groups (represented by the 'civilizations' in the game).

For both scenarios I looked up the name of major archaeological sites from around 4000 BCE to name each of the city/settlement in the game. When I couldn't find any, like in northern Russia, I used geographical names (e.g. Ladoga, Onega and Pinega lakes for Uralic settlements).

Scenario Old World map with 16 civs

This scenario uses a hug map of Eurasia and North Africa. It is focused on the Indo-European migrations, which started with the expansion of the Yamna culture in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe around 3500 BCE.

Ancient DNA tests have confirmed over the last few years that the Steppe population descended from the Yamna culture overran most of central, northern and western Europe between 3100 and 2200 BCE, replacing the biggest part of the Neolithic farmers that lived in those regions. This was possible because the ancestors of the Yamna people had domesticated horses (around 4000 BCE) and discovered how to make bronze weapons before everybody else. The Yamna people were speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language and their migration to central and western Europe would give rise to the Celtic, Italic and Germanic languages.

The Northern (satem) branch of Yamna in the forest-steppe conquered the Baltic region, Scandinavia and Germany between 2900 and 2500 BCE. Their descendants became the Slavs and Balts (and partly the Germanics). The chariot was invented in the Steppe c. 2000 BCE and they then expanded east and south across Central Asia between 2000 and 1600 BCE, invading Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and NW India. This branch went to become the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians/Persians.

The game starts in 3700 BCE, right at the onset of the Bronze Age.

I indicated the main Y-DNA haplogroups (ancestral genetic lineages determined by ancient DNA tests) linked with each proto-civilisation. These are:

- Nordic farmers (Funnelbeaker culture) => G2a and I1
- Atlantic farmers (northern Megalithic cultures) => I2a
- Iberian farmers (southern Megalithic cultures) =>G2a and I2a
- Anatolian farmers (with derived groups like Starcevo, Cucuteni-Trypillian, LBK, as well as the Greek and Italian Neolithic) =>G2a
- Caucasian farmers in the northern Fertile Crescent and Caucasus => J1, J2 and T1a
- Sumerians => ?
- Egyptians and South Levantines => E1b1b
- Iranian farmers (which I have called 'Gedrosian farmers' as the term Iranian sounds too Indo-European) => J2 and L1
- Harappans => L1

In Russia we find:

- Uralic tribes => N1c

- The satem branch of IE speakers in the forest-steppe zone. => R1a
I called them 'Aryans' as it is what they called themselves, at least in Asia. I chose the name Darius for their leader as it is both an Iranian and a Slavic name. I chose Alexander as leader's head as I find that he looks East Slavic with some Indo-Aryan traits.

- The centum branch of IE speakers in the Yamna and Maykop cultures. => R1b
I chose Brennus as leader as he looks both Celtic and Germanic with his reddish blond hair. I called the R1b tribe the 'Albans' (meaning 'White' in PIE) as it is what many ancient centum people called themselves. It is a term that we find in :
- Albania : Albanian is a centum branch
- Alba Longa, the first capital of the Latins before they founded Rome, as well as the Alban Hills and Lake Albano near Rome.
- Alba, the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland.

For the sake of thoroughness I also added the following civs, although they aren't protagonists to the main plot.

- Mongolian tribes (C2a and Q1a)
- Chinese farmers (O2)
- Ethiopian tribes (E1b1b)
- Niger-Congo tribes (E1b1a)

When the game starts, the R1b tribes are already at war with the Anatolian farmers, so they are ready to attack the Balkans, while the R1a tribes are at war with the Nordic farmers (Corded Ware expansion) and Gedrosian farmers (Indo-Iranian expansion). I tried to give the farmers enough defence so that each region is conquered more or less within the historical time frame.

Scenario World Map with 18 civs

This scenario uses the same civs on the standard world map that comes with the game. There are about 3 times less cities than in the previous scenario as Eurasia is smaller, so the game is faster. I added the Mesoamerican (Aztec), Andean (Inca), and Austronesian (Khmer) farmers. This way all the major civs are present with a realistic level of development/technologies and number of cities to start the game in 4000 BCE. I removed the Sumerians as there was only space for one of their cities on the map.

This is the way all games of Civilization ought to start if the start is 4000 BCE. It should be played in normal speed mode to get the techs around the same time as they were discovered for real.


To play in the best conditions, please also use this mod with the scenario. Here is what the mod does:

1) A completely redesigned tech tree that is more logical and historical. There are no new techs. Just the tree schema and pre-requisites per tech have changed. Here are examples of changes:

- The wheel now requires horse riding first as it enables chariots.
- The calendar appears much earlier, directly from agriculture and sailing (early navigation with the sun and stars).
- Bronze working leads to metal casting, which leads to iron working.
- Priesthood leads to writing and monarchy because the first cities (in Sumer) started with a temple and a high priest, who later became a priest-monarch, and writing developed around these primitive temple-based cities.
- Writing is obviously required to develop the code of laws, mathematics and the alphabet.
- Currency evolves from monarchy (+ mathematics) as kings develop new ways of collecting taxes (and use their heads on coins).
- Civil service develops from currency, as monarchs need an administration to manage their empires and tax collecting.
- Mathematics + masonry lead to construction.
- Copper working (to build spearmen, chop down trees and enable slavery) is now a prerequisite to bronze working (to build axemen). This way Anatolian, Caucasian and Gedrosian farmers already have copper working to protect themselves more efficiently against steppe horse riders, but steppe people can build axemen against spearmen.
- The technology of the wheel is split in two: the wheel for road building (available from the start) and the chariot to build chariot (requires horse riding and bronze working)

Here is an overview (click twice for full size).

2) No more maintenance cost for the number of cities, as it was too penalising for large civs and downright unplayable with the Indo-Europeans when they started taking cities in the Balkans.

3) New unit strength/range. Horses and chariots now have a range of 3 instead of 2. Chariots being a later tech, they have a strength of 7 instead of 4. I adjusted the strength of all later units accordingly.

4) Cow and horse pastures produce one extra gold per turn (in compensation for the lack of farms and luxury resources in the Steppe).

5) I changed the personality of some leaders (R1a and R1b become imperialistic, while Atlantic farmers become spiritual and financial).



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