Strategies for Non-Aggro Civs with Raging Barbarians?


Mar 27, 2023
This post is inspired by this post. The post and the replies focused on those civs which benefit greatly from raging barbarians, specifically the Aztecs. The post actually encouraged me to play with raging barbarians on, which I have found to be quite fun, even though I have lost more than one city to the barbarians early...

As the title of this post asks, how does your early-game and/or mid-game strategy change when playing a civilization which has no synergy with raging barbs?
I'm talking civilizations like Brazil, the Dutch, Korea, Morocco, India, etc. - civs which don't usually go Authority and don't gain any goodies from dropping extra bodies.

For me, at King level, my strategy early changes in the following ways:
  • Military: I produce units early until I hit the supply cap. I place a lot more importance on getting archers and occasionally do not upgrade warriors into spearmen because of the warrior's boost against barbs. This leads to a lot more unit maintenance in the long run. In a normal game, I usually never hit the unit supply cap until renaissance or later, which usually leads to me losing wars, so this emphasis on building units is a good practice to be forced to do.
  • Economy: The extra tax on my economy means I prioritize markets and gold a lot more so as not to go negative. Despite the need for money, I usually de-prioritize international caravans unless I'm within 5-6 tiles of the target. Specialists become a lot more important and ITRs become less important (unless my UA uses them). I find my economy is also boosted by clearing barb camps. I have a lot more reason to destroy them now than without raging barbs and the extra 50-100-150 gold is a nice reward.
  • Exploration: I explore less with my pathfinder so he doesn't get jumped. I (hopefully) get him home safe and then use him to scout ahead of settlers and the small army I send with them (usually 2 warriors and 1 archer). Settling is a much slower process as bands of barbs are fought off.
  • Empire Planning: Speaking of settlers, I also plan my settler routes more carefully, looking for the shortest distance from A to B. I tend to prioritize small distances over long distances. Without raging barbs, I usually try to throw cities out far and fill in the gaps later; with raging barbs, I find I leap-frog cities outward.
  • City Planning: Any new city has walls queued within the top four buildings unless special circumstances are in play. Walls are literally a city-saver with raging barbs. Additionally, extra growth buildings like herbalists, lodges, or granaries are postponed in favor of production buildings or military units.
  • Religion: Both raging barbs and the priority of walls makes God of War and Goddess of Protection much stronger pantheons than they would be normally. They are always contenders even if they are not chosen. Once religion comes around, Orders are great, as is Ceremonial Burial and Hero Worship.
  • Wonders: Unit supply cap increasing Wonders are suddenly far more valuable than normal. An extra 3 or 5 units can secure a new city or provide extra security for existing cities, especially those with nearby barb camps.
  • Culture & Science: Usually trade routes boost my science and/or culture, but I don't have near as many as I did before. This makes culture/science buildings/specialists even more important than normal to fill that +4-8 science/+1-3 culture hole my ITRs have left. My culture and science, along with everything else, is a lot slower overall.
Even as authority I settle more tight both with and without raging barbs, you dont want them to run around pillage or eat your trade routes.
You still get gold from barb camps as trad/prog.
No warrior bonus however makes it rough, as authority you can usually stay on warriors and skip spears because of the barb bonus but tradition/progress then you need to upgrade > spears.
Archers and war chariots are nice, skirmishers are a bit so so , and then heavy skirmishers are great.
New patch orders is no longer king you now need to make a choice (synagogoes also nerfed).
I am excited to try the different religious buildings, especially now that orders have been split over three different buildings. The gold from camps is such a nice income boost too, especially early.
I always try to clear as many barbarian camps as possible regardless just because of the gold. So my strategy doesn't really change all that much from being Authority or something else, it's just easier and more beneficial as Authority.
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