Civilization V: The Swedish Saga, part 1 (4000 B.C. to 430 A.D.)

T.J. Hafer at

Brave new world

3975 B.C.: Stockholm is founded near the mouth of the Snowrun River in the lush forests once home to the disparate tribes of proto-Norse hunter-gatherers.

Not a bad start at all. I'm near a coast and a river, and there's gold right in my back yard. The region I've spawned in, which I'm calling the Snowrun Peaks, has lots of impassible mountain tiles to defend me from invasion.

3900 B.C.: The Swedes war with the various barbarians of the Snowrun Peaks. By 3635, most of them will have been conquered and unified under Swedish rule. Word begins to spread of the Swedish warchiefs and their skill in battle. The tribes of the Stockholm Valley are forced to either submit or retreat further into the mountains.

3500 B.C.: The Swedes have developed an honor culture, where deeds in battle are said to bring good fortune to one's tribe and family.

It's very, very rare that I don't go Honor first in policies for that early military bonus. Being able to knock over barbarians like poorly-balanced bowling pins and accrue experience just seems way more valuable than, say, going Liberty first so you can expand to a bunch of cities that you probably can't defend.

3325 B.C.: The Swedes make contact with their cousins, the Danes: another group of Norse tribes which has organized and conquered a large swath of land. The Danes claim the coastal plains to the southeast of Sweden. Neither tribe feels overtly threatened by the other, leading to peaceful relations.

Story-wise, it's cool that the first foreigners I meet are my historical neighbors and cousins. I'll have to keep an eye on them going forward, though. Denmark is a pretty aggressive civ with strong Medieval-era units. The fact that we're separated by land and not water will benefit me, considering they can't make use of their civ power that improves embarked land units and coastal raids.