Civilization Wiki

The Barbarian civilization (Barbarians) is an NPC civilization in Civilization II. They are playable only through modification of the game files but, because they are not designed for human play, numerous bugs may result.

Barbarians do not function as a regular civilization. Instead, their role in the game mirrors the nomadic hordes; bandit, pirate, and rebel states; peasant, slave, and ethnic uprisings; and chichimeca of human history. During game setup, the player must select the level of Barbarian activity, from Villages Only to Raging Hordes. Every 16th turn or 4th Oedo year, during the 8th turn segment, Barbarian units appear on the map, in either unoccupied land or in ships at sea that make landfall, alarming nearby citizens. During other players' turn segments (human or AI), some goody huts unleash hordes of Barbarians!


The Barbarians are the only red civilization and go eighth in turn order.

Barbarian Leader[]

A unit specific to the Barbarian civilization is the "Barbarian Leader". The Leader takes no action apart from following its horde, usually stacking itself under an offensive unit. If another civilization can kill the Barbarian Leader by itself, it receives a "ransom" of 150 Gold. However, once a Leader's escort is destroyed, it will usually attempt to flee; if it can reach an area far enough away from other civilizations' cities, it can disband itself prior to capture.

If a Barbarian Leader is bribed, it turns into a standard Diplomat, regardless of the player's technological level.


The Barbarians are almost mindlessly aggressive, but will often agree to spare an undefended city in exchange for a bribe.

Instead of developing or trading for technology, the Barbarians roughly match the tech level of the other civilizations. Near the beginning of the game, they will attack with Archers and Horsemen from Triremes; they quickly get Chariots and Legions; during the Renaissance, they gain Frigates; and, by the end of the game, they use Cavalry and Partisans.

City list[]

Barbarians do not build cities but they can capture them, which then fly a red flag. A Barbarian city will only produce more of the military unit that captured it and experience very slow growth. However, there is a list of Barbarian city names in city.txt that consists of the names of various peoples of antiquity and the early Middle Ages who were often regarded as barbarians. A name will be chosen at random from this list to describe a Barbarian unit's tribe in the dialogue box that pops up when it is about to capture a city and offers the chance to ransom for its safety instead.

  1. 17
  2. Huns
  3. Visigoths
  4. Ostrogoths
  5. Sueves
  6. Angles
  7. Saxons
  8. Franks
  9. Jutes
  10. Burgundians
  11. Avars
  12. Vandals
  13. Alans
  14. Bulgars
  15. Magyars
  16. Frisians
  17. Picts
  18. Langobardi


Barbarian units can be bribed to defect. This is the cheapest way to obtain troops, as the bribe cost is lower than the given unit's build cost. This occurs because the formula for calculating bribe prices factors in the target nation's gold reserve and distance from capital. Since the Barbarians have neither, the costs for bribing their units will always be lower than those of other civilizations.

Barbarian units often outclass the Warriors that maintain order in many players' early cities. Instead of allowing the Barbarians to attack and win, reducing the population of the city each time, it can make more sense to have the city garrison flee the city or disband itself. The ransom the Barbarians demand from an empty city depends on the amount in the player's treasury, so it also makes sense to buy production or give gifts until the treasury has a value between 50• & 74• (any more and the Barbarians will simply take it anyway; any less and the Barbarians will simply sack the city rather than ask for a ransom). Similarly, if it turns out that the Barbarians cannot be reasoned with or destroyed in time, it makes sense to sell off the most valuable building in the city before it is taken. If a city does not have many buildings to lose, it is often cheaper in the early game to allow the Barbarians to capture it and bribe the entire city back afterwards than to pay the city's ransom or to purchase each of the attacking Barbarian units individually.

The Barbarians cannot be contacted by the foreign minister, but a Diplomat or Spy can establish an embassy at a Barbarian city once during the game, revealing interesting factoids such the Barbarian civilization's leader being Attila the Hun. As soon as that window is closed, it cannot be reopened or recreated.

Civilization II Civilizations