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Social cohesion and tribal breakdown

In order to create an extra layer of difficulty in the mid to late game i believe a good addition to the game would be to introduce social unrest and power dynamics. If things are going badly within the tribe than some might split off and cut their losses, or if you incorporate too many outsiders within your tribe factionalism may occur resulting in gang violence. Maybe a new cult demands forced conversations and human sacrifices…

On the other side of this, the tribe should be rewarded for developing a strong social contract via family links, religious unity and technological advances. Perhaps with an increase in productivity and so on. Thoughts?


@Icewolf It is a good idea but maybe a bit early for the time period ? I think it fit more in the bronze age with bigger settlement. Before that the population was too small too creat “factionalism” (which is link to the lack of resource). With the nature threat cohesion is easier to atchieve (a common cause to fight). It is only when nature threat dicrease in the bronze age that turnoil happenned. However I am not a specialist and I can be wrong.


Hi Louis,

I think to a large degree it depends on how pop growth will work in the game, but there is no reason why there wouldn’t be infighting at this age. Indeed there is proof that the further you go back into our history the more violent life was, according to this chart: violent death in a tribal cultures happened to around 10 percent of people.

@Icewolf It is every hard to give a percent for violent death in Paleolithic/Neolithic period : the sites are scarce and each community behave differently. Moreover, mass grave are “easier” to find than small one which can false the data. Finally, only forty/fifty site for a 10 000 years long period is not statisticaly significative (some region like middle east are missing).

However I do not say that violence was no presente, I just say that there is not concrete proof of “organized” violence (of course in archeology, abscent of evidence is not evidence of abscence :wink:).

I think this feature must be kept for time period were these phenomenons are attested


Even without direct evidence one way or another on organised violence you are going to get power dynamics and factionalism within any society, ask yourself who get to be the leader of this tribe. There is no law, no hereditary right, proto-democracy is not even a thing (most likely), so what happens when a young strong male challenges the older leader. They aren’t going to debate it out, violence or at least the threat of violence will conclude the dispute. So how can the older leader prevent the younger man taking control? He recruits a group of loyalists whom he rewards for their support.

Political scientists Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith provide a really good foundation of power dynamics within dictatorships in their book “The Dictators Handbook” if you are interested.

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I like this idea. In the Late Neolithic, in some parts of the world, settlements got very big indeed: up to thousands of people in places like Catalhoyuk and Ain Ghazal in the Near East, or the Trypillia mega-sites in Europe. But this way of living didn’t last very long, and one theory is that they collapsed into smaller groups because people simply didn’t yet know how to cope with large numbers of people living in the same place.

I agree it is hard to say how much violence was involved in this process. To take your scenario, it’s possible that the young leader simply leads his followers away to start a new settlement elsewhere.


@Icewolf Thank you for the reference. I am alway skepical when we apply “modern” vision on past even so if it is well documented that okay :wink:. The question is the population cap for this phenomenon occurs, 10? 100? 1000? I have not idea, thought?


150- Dunbar’s number, the limit to which humans can maintain social relationships so roughly the size of a small village. I think this would be a good jumping off point. Source:’s_number

Obviously for gameplay reasons you might adjust this it really depends on how they model pop growth.

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Sounds like populations in the 100s to 1,000s are intended for mid-late game, and certainly enough for crime and factionalism. Trade and exchange of ideas can spur social upheaval. Old gods vs new gods. Eras of progressivism followed by revival of traditions. Civilization has never been a steady march forward, advancement is not inevitable, and many cultures languish and collapse or are absorbed. Even in modern times we still see the specter of regressvism and the false promises of nationalism in many western countries.


Completely agree Nuloon, this is a time of huge amount of trial and error with lots of wrong turns.

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I’m all in for political fights (meaning a wide range of action, from verbal disagreement to limited/widespread violence) in the tribe. Any society knows them, whatever then number of members included.

Who never saw a school class slowly descending into internal struggles as the year passed on? As a teacher, I’ve even see a class of 22, 11-year-old pupils being divided between three competitive groups that could use every event in the day-to-day life to turn that into real “political” infighting, sometimes using violence, psychological pressure, etc., and even in a few cases trying to gain to their causes some adults to protect the “clan” and win in influence in this competitive rivalry. In the case of the election of the class delegate, I had to deal with public contestation of the results and to recount the ballot papers in presence of one member of each group :unamused:

And this is not the proper of human: there’s just to look at any wildlife documentary to understand that politics happen in every animal society. The designation of a dominant male is not only a question of strength demonstration and brutal force, but also of who may win support of some important members of the group.


Sound really good! Reminds me of another topic, concerning intra-tribal delineations:

And I think that is precisely the stimulus in the initial phase of the game. It is hard to say how long this alone carries, and whether it does not limit a re-play worth. Although, with AoE, I see the problem only minimally. It would be fantastic if the game mechanics would support all the game strings (including the dead ends). Then one could see how the development could have gone, deviating from the current state of knowledge.[quote=“Icewolf, post:5, topic:723”]
There is no law, no hereditary right, proto-democracy is not even a thing (most likely)
…and yet this development must have assumed some form. Would be nice, if one could also play this phenomenon.