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Barbarians encompass various hostile groups unaffiliated with either civilizations or city-states. They are based in encampments found within unclaimed territory, and their colors are dark red and black.
Barbarians come from "outposts", which may appear randomly in any tile that cannot be seen by a unit. Each Barbarian unit belongs to its own home outpost. There are three types of Barbarian outposts: Naval, Cavalry, and Melee. A civilization will earn a Gold reward for dispersing a Barbarian outpost, in addition to the benefit of stopping it from spawning more Barbarian Units.
Unlike in earlier games, barbarians have a more devious play-style. Like other civilizations, barbarian encampments will send Scouts to survey the land. If the scouts find a city, they will attempt to "report" back at their home encampment; if successful, the encampment will launch a wave of Barbarian raiders that will attack the city.
Encampments are further affected by nearby strategic resources. For example, an encampment near a source of Horses will employ mounted raiders in their assaults.
Naval Barbarian outposts on the coastline can create naval units (equal to those that can be created by the civilization with the most advanced tech). These units will menace your coastline, destroy naval improvements and attack hapless land units which stray too near the coastline. It's important to maintain a navy to keep them off your back, but the best way to stop these attacks is to destroy the coastal outposts nearby.
If a city's Amenities becomes too low and goes into Revolt status, various barbarian units will spawn around the city limits until its condition improves.
Every outpost will first generate a Scout, searching for targets. If you're spotted by a Barbarian Scout, it will return to its outpost and begin building units for an invasion or raid. Watch out, because you're going to be the next target. If you don't move fast, you'll soon see a party of Barbarians at your borders, ready to destroy your improvements or conquer your city. This is why it's important to periodically survey the land around your civilization, destroying outposts before they become a threat.
Historically, barbarians came in two types: those who wandered about and those that settled down. The latter became "civilized" and built cities, empires and such. The former plagued the latter, raiding the borders and upsetting the empire's citizens. Generally organized along tribal lines, these barbarians – far from the "noble savage" stereotype, most of them really were brutal, cruel and warlike – were nomads, establishing temporary outposts from which to attack civilization and each other as well. When the fun of all that rampaging wore off, or when an organized army showed up and thrashed them, the surviving barbarians would pack up and move on, to establish another outpost sometime later somewhere else. Since it was generally a good idea – if one were a barbarian – not to be easily found by the civilized, the outposts over time were located in more inaccessible (and defensible) places ... until, of course, there were no such places left.
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