The title of this game should have given it away to me. I should have known that the barbarians were going to be rampant due to the little notes Sirian put up on the Epic4 info thread. But I had seen Deity barbarians before and they weren't THAT much worse than Emperor ones, so I didn't worry too much. With what came after me, I felt like I was doing an "always war" game.
I had taken the usual steps against barbarians. I had two warriors out scouting and one back in Rome to prevent a sacking (I got one from a goody hut). Normally barbarians don't start to crop up until 3000BC or so. But they were present much earlier than that in this game, and in large numbers. I noted that in 2710BC I was already under assualt from three barbarian camps, with a warrior or a horseman coming after me every single turn! I did an OK job of fending them off, but there were so freaking many of them that I couldn't stop them all. My scouting units were killed (or died trying to destroy barb camps) and then they went after my city.
Rome took a beating from barbarians. A bad one. As bad as the real Rome took in the 5th century AD. It was sacked in 2470BC, and again in 2430BC, 2390BC, and 2350BC. What could I do? I had 0 units at that point! (except for the worker). The granary in Rome helped my population regrow faster, and quite probably saved my game from being destroyed by barbs before I even met anyone else. I think it would have been better though to use those 60 shields on a settler and a barracks. Still, I was glad to have it. Thank goodness Civ3 barbarians can't capture cities like they could in other Civilization games!
I had never seen so many barbarians before. It really bothered me too, because the game was on "restless" barbarians, not even "raging hordes." There was a good reason for this though, as I found out when I got the world map for the area. I don't have any pictures from this time because, well, I wasn't exactly in the picture-taking mood. I was ready to quit this game at least 5 separate times, like in 1950BC when a barbarian (conscript) horse attacked across a river and killed my veteran spearman, sacking Rome yet again and leaving me without defenders. *sigh* In 1950BC I did get my second city up though, and my earliest picture is from that date:
This was just after Rome had just been sacked. It's interesting to note that I put my second city in a location very, very close to where Sirian put his first. I suppose that getting that grasslands wheat into play was just too important to ignore.
Naturally I wondered about how far behind I was, since I had no contact with the rest of the world. I learned in 1790BC that Egypt had completed the Pyramids, which was a rude shock. Oh yeah, I was behind all right. I was hoping the first wonders wouldn't be build until 1500BC, but the AI was just too fast. I built my third city in 1525BC, the same year that China completed the Colossus. Just great; here I am getting raped by barbarians while the other civs are probably already into the Middle Ages. It was going to be quite a hole to climb out of.
Actually, the odd thing was that I hadn't made contact with anyone yet. With all the free units the AI gets on Deity, their scouts or warriors tend to find you very quickly. But it was past 1500BC and I hadn't seen a thing yet. Was I on an island? Possible, but it really didn't look like it from the way the land extended south as far as I scouted. In 1325BC, two massive barbarian uprisings occurred on the same turn (of course; the game is programmed so they always occur together) and ripped my border towns to shreds. My mood was rather low. The comment I have written in my notes is "I can only imagine how far behind I am."
But on the very next turn (1300BC), I spotted an Aztec Jaguar Warrior and made my first contact of the game. As expected, they had many more techs and 3 contacts: with the Chinese, Indians, and Egyptians. I coudn't afford any of the contacts, and didn't want to pay anyway since I knew their warriors would be coming by soon enough anyway. Buying techs when I didn't have contact with the others would have been foolish. But since I was losing any money I made to the barbarians anyway, I traded for the Aztec world map at a nosebleed rate. It was probably the best move I made in the game. Instantly I understood why I was getting hit so hard by the barbarians, and why it had taken so long to make contact. This was the map:
I was getting hit so hard because there was NO ONE around me. I knew right away that this was great news. Oh, the early game sucked bigtime with all the barbs. But I would be able to get enough land to form a decent core of cities, and having a strong core of cities would allow me to have a chance to win. If I had started in China's location, there would have been virtually no chance to win the game. From this point on, the landgrab phase of the game was on; I had to secure the best locations before the AI civs could get to them.