Humankind: How To Play, Earn Influence, Conquer Armies, And Survive

Humankind: How To Play, Earn Influence, Conquer Armies, And Survive

Amplitude’s new 4X game Humankind is very complicated, and while there’s plenty of in-game guides and prompts to help you along the way, it’ll still take a good chunk of time to really understand what you’re looking at and how to play. Overarching concepts are explained in the game’s narrative and you’ll learn basic gameplay quickly, but you’ll only really know what you’re doing once you hit your second or third era.

If all that sounds a bit tedious and you want a head start on your adventures, these tips should help you on your way to becoming the next great world conqueror. Here’s every bit of wisdom I can give after a good few hours with Humankind.

Combine units to form more powerful armies

When your army units start out in the Neolithic age, they’ll be nearly powerless but as you gather more food and resources, you’ll also gain new army units to command. Separated, they’re fairly weak and will have trouble tackling enemies.

But if you combine them by moving them into another unit’s space, they’ll have double the firepower and the ability to take on greater enemy numbers.

This tactic will serve you well as the world of Humankind grows around you.

Turn on auto-explore after 100 turns

humankind 4x game tips
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

When you kick off a game of Humankind you’ll be in charge of multiple different army units, and you’ll need to control every one individually. While you can turn on auto-explore straight away and let them roam across the lands wherever they please, you should start by manually sending them out to explore.

With auto-explore on, armies can wander aimlessly and not unlock anything, but if you guide them in the first 100 or so turns you’ll be able to uncover the edges of the map, understand what terrain you’re playing on and send them where they need to go.

After that 100 turn mark, you may start to get exhausted or run out of exciting new goods to find — and at this stage, you should toggle on ‘auto-explore’ to make your experience more enjoyable.

Make sure each of your Humankind cities have enough food before anything else

City growth depends on your people having enough food to survive, so you’ll want to focus on building out this capability first. You can amp up your food production by building Farmers Quarters, and also by re-allocating population to produce food (by clicking into the city menu).

You never want to have your food production in any city on a minus number — this can lead to widespread death.

If you have a low population, focus on food before anything else.

Science is the next most important endeavour

After your food production is stable, focus on building your scientific capabilities. The more science you gain per turn, the faster your research will be able to unlock new technologies.

These can provide new methods of transport, new buildings and faster construction time, so they’re well worth investing in and are arguably more important than generating money or industry.

Focus on building structures that’ll give you influence

humankind influence city
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

Influence is a major currency in Humankind that determines how far your empire can spread and how many cities you’re able to hold at once. It’s important this continues to grow steadily throughout your reign, otherwise you’ll run into major political trouble.

While the best way to earn influence is to implement civics, explore new lands and discover technologies, you can also gain influence by placing buildings in strategic locations. Amphitheatres can generate influence every turn, as can plazas and other structures.

When you head into your construction menu (via the city menu) you’ll be able to hover over each construction project and see how much influence you’ll earn from it. Pay attention to this and build based on what resources you need to grow.

You won’t be able to build everything you unlock, so choose wisely and focus on the benefits and resources you’re currently lacking.

Don’t expand your territory while your influence is low

You have a set city limit in each era which means you can only establish a number of cities before your empire starts losing influence.

You can usually have one extra city over your limit before this starts to drop but if you expand too much without establishing stability and civics in your chosen cities, you’ll lose major points of influence every turn.

Once you’re at minus influence, your people will lose faith in you and your empire could crumble.

Wait until you earn at least 100+ influence points each turn before you establish an extra city outside of your limit, otherwise you’ll risk losing everything at once. (If you do establish a city and it destroys your influence hoard, you can always load your last turn’s save file.)

Build a harbour as soon as possible

In the second era, you’ll be able to unlock technology to build a harbour if you have a city near a river. Research and establish this as soon as possible — it’ll unlock nearby lands and eventually let you transport your armies to new continents.

To expand your harbour’s capabilities you’ll need to invest in the technology track beginning with Carpentry and City Defence, then Sailing and Conquest.

After you get your first vessel, you’ll need to continue investing in sea-based technologies until you unlock larger ships capable of transporting your armies.

Don’t try to get every era star in Humankind

humankind city building issues
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

In the Neolithic era, you’ll have few options for establishing and growing your army, but as you enter the Ancient era and beyond you’ll have a range of new pursuits you can pursue to earn ‘era stars’ and advance your culture.

The Classical era, for example, has 18 different era stars to gain by researching, finding new technologies, growing your wealth and building your influence.

You only need seven of these to advance to the next era and while having more will net you extra fame points, it’s unnecessary and can hamper your progress. It also means other players (including the AI) can snatch new cultures before you’re able to pick them for yourself.

The best practice is to pick which stars you want to go for, advance your city as much as you need, and then head into the next era with your chosen achievements.

Know your world power, and when to back off on demands

humankind game world relations
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

When you enter the Ancient age, you’ll start to encounter other cultures who may have just as much or more influence than you. Treat them well, and you’ll be able to forge an alliance with them — but treat them badly and you’ll have an all-out war on your hands.

As you get to know the other cultures in your game world, you’ll be able to open up trade routes or form agreements over specific things like sharing scientific discoveries or managing trade routes together. Sometimes, they’ll refuse and you can place a demand on them to give in.

If another culture has more influence or is larger than you, you’ll have trouble getting your demands met and it can cause friction that leads to war. If it looks like a culture isn’t budging and you don’t have the firepower to back yourself up, back off. If they don’t, feel free to leave your demand on the table and see how they react.

Humankind operates in a very risky political sphere, so you’ll want to know what you can bring to the table, and how your assets can benefit your total domination.

Humankind is heading to PC on August 18, with a Mac release planned for a later date.

Hopefully these tips will get you well on your way towards navigating the big, wide world of the game.

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