Axe vs Chariot isn't that bad. On the right terrain Chariots still suck against them and you don't need to defend a city against Chariots. Just keep it empty and park a guy or two next to it in a forest, and sweep any chariots that take it back. Sometimes it's even preferable for AIs to build Chariots instead of Archers with you having pure Axe. Having to tech Hunting without camp resources does indeed suck.