I've seen a lot of posts complaining about barbarians, but I rarely have trouble with them. Very odd. At most they're an annoyance. There are a few things to consider: If you start with city-states nearby, they will actively hunt down and take out barbarian camps for you, and barbarians are as likely to raid them as you. In this situation, barbarians are rarely much of a problem. A barbarian scout will retreat if confronted or attacked by a military unit. In this way, even if you can't kill a barbarian scout, you can often prevent it from returning to its camp. Position your unit between the camp and the scout and your city should be safe. Once you have the +5 strength against barbarians policy, even an early scout can contend with barbarians well. I mean, I hear a lot of "open with 3 slingers", but I rarely do this. In 4/5 games I will open with a scout, get a slinger, then a builder, then another slinger, then a settler, THEN get my third slinger. And it's fine. I'd say the only real problem with barbarians is when you are on a higher difficulty level and the full 30 strength horsemen are spawning in the first 20 turns (horsemen spawned before any major Civ has Horseback Riding are only 20 strength, not very threatening). With that said--I think it was better in the older Civ games where you had a grace period before barbarians would start spawning. It was nice to have a good 15-20 turns or so before facing off against real barbarians (remember barbarian animals from IV?).