Humankind has now been out for a while and players are starting to learn the ins and outs of the game, including some of the best culture combinations, the best units in the game, and general strategies that make Humankind (the max difficulty level in the game) a bit easier.
This list of 10 advanced tips covers everything from city management to dealing with pollution. We’ll also cover some advanced tips for combat, culture conversion, and how to read your empire to make the best choices when it comes to collecting fame and switching cultures.
Updated on September 13, 2022 by Matt Arnold: Humankind has seen a dozen cultures added in the year since launch, but the overall strategy remains the same. The maximum difficulty is still an onerous challenge, even with new strategies available thanks to the Cultures Of Africa and Cultures Of Latin America DLC packs. We’ve added some new tips for battling the game’s ruthless AI empires that any build can put to good use.
Set Your Tribal Units To Auto-Explore
Playing on max difficulty means your AI opponents are going to start with some big advantages, that’s just how it works in 4X games. You’ll find your territory getting encroached on right from the start of the game. Stick your Tribe members on auto-explore (yes, the glitch that means your units know where all the curiosities are is still in the game at the time of writing) and try to expand your population fast.
Place down your first outpost as soon as you get five influence. Any spot will do – this won’t necessarily be where you evolve your city – but try to aim for somewhere with at least +6/+6 in Food and Industry. You’re just claiming territory for later on. This stops your neighbors from grabbing your land.
Claim Territory With Outposts First, Attach Later
This tip does come with a bit of nuance, inasmuch as there are situations where attaching is actually more beneficial than using your influence to continuously place down Outposts. Generally speaking, though, claiming territory is more important than scaling your cities very early on.
Pick up the civic (Customary Laws) that reduces the cost of placing outposts first, then later revoke it and activate the attach civic cost reduction. We’ve got a more in-depth look at attaching outposts here. This leads us on to our next tip.
Spend Influence To Construct Artisans Quarters Before You Attach Outposts
You want to keep your Outposts as Outposts for just a little while longer. While in its Outpost form, you can purchase Artisans Quarters for Influence rather than using up valuable production time in your capital city. Grab these resources early and you’ll get access to passive buffs that apply to your entire empire, and you can even start trading luxuries with neighbors.
Keep your Outposts for longer and you can use Influence to unlock other districts, like Harbors and mines. Keep an eye on your city stability before attaching, too, as building multiple Makers Quarters and Farmers Quarters can cause a pretty substantial dip in stability at the beginning of the game.
Pay Close Attention To Diplomatic Changes
Establishing a close relationship with another empire can be vital to your success; even if they don’t come to your aid when an aggressive neighbor declares war, you can still get extra resources from beneficial treaties. The Diplomacy screen is also a great way to assess the world situation and get a heads up if trouble is brewing.
Look for sudden shifts in the diplomatic stances of AI empires – at maximum difficulty, even the friendliest AI will put a knife in their allies’ backs if it means they’ll get ahead. A troublesome neighbor suddenly distracted by a war is a much easier target, and allying with a recently-freed vassal can help shift the balance of world power.
Use the trade screen to assess possible opportunities as well – if a nation suddenly doesn’t have as many resources to sell, it’s probably because they’ve lost some territories. It’s a good idea to snatch up their remaining land – for the protection of the people, of course. After all, life under your enlightened rule is surely better than under those other aggressive conquerors!
Cultural Conversion Is A Big Problem, Focus On Influence If You Can
If there’s one thing we’ve noticed after a number of Humankind difficulty runs is that cultural conversion can turn into a nightmare. Nearly. If you aren’t producing enough influence in your empire, your neighbors will try and claim your territory. This can lead to early wars, which, if you’re not prepared, are literally run-ending. For more info on Cultural Conversion, check out our guide here.
A good way to get some decent early influence is to focus on your Emblematic Districts. Like the Pyramids as Egypt, for example. If you haven’t selected an Ancient Era culture that provides Influence then you will have to rely on these to provide a buffer against cultural conversion. You should be focusing on Emblematic Districts anyway, as you lose the ability to construct them when you transcend to the next era. As a tip, as long as you’ve put a single turn into construction then you will be able to continue constructing the district into the next era.
Grab Nearby Independent Cities Before They Can Build Troops
Want to expand your empire fast but don’t have the Influence to evolve one of your Outposts? If you can manage to snipe an Independent city on the first couple of turns you can grab a second city very early on. You will likely have two city slots, and having two production centers right away is a game-changer.
This is better than waiting for assimilation later on. You can share production on an early wonder to give you a big head start. Check out our list of the best wonders in the game for some tips on what to aim for. Definitely worth keeping in mind if a city spawns close to your borders.
You Probably Won’t Get The Culture You Want
This is true throughout the entire game. The Humankind-difficulty AI will almost always beat you in terms of era stars, so you might just need to accept that you won’t get the culture you’ve been eyeing up.
This is actually fine. It’s more important than you earn fame via completing era stars. Hang around on 10 stars for a few more turns to complete the last stages of era stars. You can track your progress towards the next stars via the empire screen or the bars on the top left of the screen. Fame is how you actually win the game. Culture decisions come second.
Spend Money Aggressively To Keep Pace With The AI
For the first several eras of the game, the AI empires will produce you in nearly every category. They’ll have more advanced technology, bigger cities, and stronger economies. Since the AI will already be off to the races by the time you get your initial build online, you’ll need to find ways to catch up.
Money solves a lot of problems in Humankind. It can be used to instantly complete a city’s current production, used to hire mercenaries and bribe Independent Peoples, or put toward establishing trade routes for new resources. All of these are necessary if you want to reach a point where you can compete with the AI in the mid and late game.
Combat Tips For Successful Warfare
Combat makes up a huge part of Humankind, probably more so than in other 4X games. Grabbing a few extra cities early on from a weaker neighbor is a surefire way to boost your mid-game. If you are planning on an early war, beeline the organized warfare tech. This allows you to bring reinforcements onto the battlefield, pretty much essential if you are going to be fighting.
Other combat tips include: auto-battling is actually very effective if you go into manual mode. Our experience shows that this is often a better way of dealing with fights, although the AI did receive a mild buff in the first major patch for the game. If you do fight manually, use the movement trick to navigate your troops around the battlefield. Your soldiers can move right through nearby friendly units without using movement speed.
Managing Pollution In A Max Difficulty Game Is Much Harder
Pollution probably does need a rework in Humankind. It’s the kind of thing we’d expect to see changed up with future DLC and patches, but for the time being, pollution can be an extremely destructive force. It’s pretty much a 50-50 whether or not the AI in the game are hellbent on destroying the planet or go slowly on pollution, but ultimately it’s up to you to manage pollution levels in your empire.
Although many techs and districts can give you massive boosts at the cost of pollution, adding +1 pollution to all your Makers Districts and Farmers Quarters can be, well, totally apocalyptic. Strike a balance between production and food output and heading towards techs that reduce overall pollution, like Nuclear energy. Planting trees might be time-consuming, but if you factor in a couple of forests here and there as you move through the Industrial era, you might be able to keep it balanced. maybe
NEXT: Humankind: Beginner Tips