Here is a summary my history professor provided, from the class Civilization and the City, about early human settlement (I’ll identify the texts used at the bottom):
"By 8000 BCE, some communities at the eastern end of the Mediterranean numbered 1000-2000 (today called ‘proto-civilizations’), a clear sign that agricultural techniques had developed to a point that a collection of centralized fields could support a very large population in a small place. Irrigation, canal, and dam-building methods were also becoming highly sophisticated, ensuring water control. In theory, many communities of this era could have continued to grow into very large settlements—well over the 5000 today used to identify a true ‘city.’
However, these early communities consistently resisted growth beyond 1000-2000. When they reached these numbers, they split their populations by founding colonies, usually fairly close to the home settlement. They seem to have been trying to avoid breakdowns in organization that could occur in large groups, at least in groups using traditional hunter-gatherer organizational methods. Humans are mentally predisposed to work in smaller groups; they have considerable trouble even in groups of more than 150. Rather than solve the problem with social experimentation, perhaps the invention of some new modes of organization, these communities chose to reduce their numbers to a manageable size. The deadly consequences of a failed experiment seem to have been their concern here; these communities relied on tried and true methods as much as they could."
This is definitely something that should be in the game. if your community reaches 1000-2000 people you should be forced to split your population else experience a breakdown in societal organization. We don’t see the first true city until about 4000 BCE in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley. This was primarily due to overpopulation, which forced them to colonize the violent banks of the rivers. A large population was required to build and maintain the canals, dykes, levees, and dams that kept the rivers from flooding and wiping out everything in the valley. Typically this change of organization came in the form of the theocratic ruler who governed in the name of the gods.
I’m also curious about small scale warfare between villages. As there was small scale “empire building” going on before the bronze age. Egypt was unified in 3100 BCE under Menes after a war between the ruler of the north and south. This evidently shows that villages were conquered by each other to a certain degree before the advent of bronze. Of course we don’t see major empire building until then, but there was small spats and takeovers going on. It would’ve been difficult to keep control of another village without properly promoting religious “similarities” to create a “common culture.” This period was however known for and dominated by proto-civlizations and city-states, once they came on the scene, bar Egypt.
Texts summary references: