Barbarian Clans is the seventh game mode in Civilization VI, introduced in the February 2021 Update. It expands the abilities of the Barbarian tribes, allowing diplomatic interaction with them and even granting them the ability to civilize and become city-states. It is available to all players, regardless of their ownership status of the expansions and the New Frontier Pass.
This mode makes Barbarians even more interesting! Instead of being just an annoyance, and a major disruption force in the first turns of the game, Barbarians can now be used strategically, both to aid a player and to hinder his enemies. You can now interact with Barbarian camps diplomatically, enlist their help, instead of just fight them. What's more, Barbarians now realize that there is a path forward different than total war!
Every Barbarian Camp is now considered a separate Clan - a minor political entity with its own command structure and progress. You will notice that each camp now has a banner, similar to these of cities. Each Clan has its own name, and belongs to one of 7 possible types (more on this below). All units belonging to this clan also bear its name, to facilitate their distinction not only from other clans, but also from rebels and Free cities' units.
Apart of the 'normal' units Barbarians have access to, each Clan can now claim and produce a unique unit from a major civilization not currently present in the game. These units will appear only when the world reaches the necessary Era to which the unit belongs. Other than that, each type of Clan prefers different types of units - see below for more details.
Barbarian behavior still obeys the same rules as before - if no interactions have occured between them and a major civilization. That is to say, Barbarians will produce scouts and explore the land, then produce units to raid nearby civilizations. There is one major difference, however - Barbarians now strive to become civilized!
Maybe the coolest feature in the Barbarian Clans mode is the new civilizing mechanic, through which a Barbarian Clan could turn into a full-fledged City-State! This is accomplished by accumulating progression points by each separate Clan. Each turn the Clan gains certain amount of points as slowly the most enlightened Barbarian thinkers realize that endless war is not the way. A civilization's interactions with a given Clan can also add to or subtract from its progress. Should a given Clan make full progress towards civilization, the Barbarian camp will disappear, and in its place will be a brand new city-state! Of course, the new City-State is one of these not present in the current game.
As an interesting side effect, we may note that in a game with this mode enabled there will always be more City-states than there are in a 'normal' game. This is because some Barbarian camps always spawn in far away areas where players and city-states tend to leave them in peace. This way they can naturally progress towards civilizing, while the 'big guys' are occupied with more important matters. A wise player could use this - explore as many remote areas as possible to discover remote Barbarian camps which remain hidden for other players. When the Barbarians found new City-States, these will automatically appear in your list (and you may even gain the free Envoy for being the first to meet them!). You can then easily turn their Suzerain and gain special bonuses without competition.
Maybe the most interesting part of the mode is the new interaction possibilities. To interact with a Clan, you simply need to discover their home Camp and click on its banner - this will bring up a menu with interaction options, which are described below.
Expanded Barbarian interactions
- Bribe. This action costs a modest amount of Gold, and keeps the Barbarians of a given Clan from attacking your cities for 20 turns. It adds 8 points towards civilization, because it shows the barbarians that peaceful cooperation is possible with other entities.
- Hire. This action costs a moderate amount of Gold, and causes one count of the Clan's unique unit (if available) to appear under your control on the outskirts of one of your nearest cities (hired naval units will choose a location with coast or lake). It adds 5 points towards civilization, as well - the barbarians feel honored that a major civilization values their miltary might enough to hire it. This can only be performed once every 15 turns.
- Incite. This action costs a lot of Gold, and causes the Clan to attack a nearby civilization or city-state. Thanks to plausible deniability, your relationship with this target is undamaged. This causes the Clan to lose 5 points towards civilization, because it feeds their frenzy and their belief that the only possible way forward is war. Can only be performed once every 15 turns.
- Ransom. This action costs a large amount of Gold, and can only be undertaken with a Clan that has captured one of your civilian units. The clan will relinquish control of that unit back to you. This also causes the clan to lose some progress towards civilization, as they are encouraged to continue their violent ways.
Dispersing vs. Raiding
Should you defeat a Barbarian camp in this mode, the choice becomes available to you whether to Disperse the camp or simply to Raid it. Dispersing it will cause the camp to act like a defeated Barbarian camp does in the base game - the Clan will disappear, you will gain any Historical moments and benefits related to this, but you will not gain Gold! Instead, the unit doing the action will gain 10 XP. Raiding the camp leaves it intact, simply capturing a sum of Gold from it. The raiding unit will be ejected from the camp on the next turn, when a new barbarian unit appears there (this is called a 'Reprisal attack').This action does, however, set back that Clan's progress towards civilization, and can only be performed once every 10 turns. Raiding an empty camp along the coast with a naval raider unit will disperse it, rewarding the unit 10 XP.
This mode includes seven types of Barbarian Clans. Each clan type has its own preferred range of units to field and requires a different set of map conditions in order to appear. In addition to their normal units, clans also have the ability to field unique units from civilizations that were not selected during game setup.
- Flatland Clan – Prefers to place their Outposts in open terrain away from woods and hills. They prefer a balance of melee units for attack and ranged units for defense.
- Woodland Clan – Prefers to place their Outposts in or adjacent to woods and rainforests. They prefer greater numbers of ranged units than melee units and use them for both attack and defense.
- Hills Clan – Prefers to place their Outposts on open terrain with hills. They strongly prefer melee units, even to the point of excluding ranged units completely.
- Rover Clan – Require a nearby Horses resource and prefer to place their Outposts in open terrain away from woods. They prefer as many mounted units as possible, using both light and heavy cavalry for attack and defense.
- Chariot Clan – Require a nearby Horses resource and prefer to place their Outposts in the desert. They prefer mounted vehicles and light cavalry in all roles, rarely using ranged units at all.
- Jungle Clan – Requires a nearby Ivory resource and prefer to place their Outposts inside rainforests. They prefer a mixture of light and heavy cavalry units supported by foot and ranged units.
- Seafaring Clan – Always place their Outposts on coastal plots. They defend their Outposts with land-based anti-cavalry units, but otherwise they exclusively use naval melee and naval ranged units for scouting and attacking.
Ransom 5 units from Barbarian Clans in a single game.
Hire, Bribe, Incite, and Raid the same Barbarian Clan.
|Civilization VI Game modes |
|1 Requires a DLC|