Barbarians in Sid Meier’s Civilisation VI have never been anything more than that—violent clans of bandits out to make your early game a living hell. This month, a free update finally gives some depth to these raiders, letting you bribe, hire, and incite one of six new clans.
Introduced in a Firaxis dev update, a free update on February 25th will add an optional Barbarian Clans mode, introducing six new clans with their own unique specialty unit and terrain preferences. While these new units will make Barbarians tougher to fight, eradicating their camps from the map is no longer the only option you have for dealing with them.
See, Barbarians now have a progress tracker before turning into a City State, and you can either help or hinder them on this path. Rather than eradicating a camp, you can choose to simply raid it, stealing its gold and knocking it down the progress tracker. On the other hand, you can pay clans to stop attacking you, or even hire them to pester other factions, with those acts of commerce pushing them towards statehood.
Granted, Barbarians have long been symptomatic of the series’ kinda messed-up approach to the concept of “civilisation”—a relentless forward march that paints the raiders as uncultured brutes beyond redemption, lesser to your proper, civilised state. This update gives you more options beyond simply kicking their heads in, but there’s still an uncomfortably imperialist bent to the idea of elevating these barbarous primitives.
This month’s update also adds a leader pool, letting you filter out factions you don’t want in your game. AI players will become more involved in air combat, making it harder to roll over them with bombers in the late-game, while plenty more balance changes are coming to natural wonders.