Humankind - a Historical 4X by Amplitude (Endless Space, Legend, etc.)

I’ve got into this game recently.

I haven’t played Old World much yet (feels like a daunting experience, will have to reserve a lot of time to “get” it). I’ve got Civ6 for Switch recently and it’s a nice experience. No 4X satisfies me as Amplitude games do. Those numbers go up in an interesting fashion and it tickles something inside my brain. In Civ6 I feel that every city I start has a perfect district setup based on terrain, and my task is to come as close to this perfect setup as possible. And the growth and the result of good decisions never feels impactful. I put this average campus there and it gives me +2 science per turn. A perfect one would give me +4 science per turn, which is cool, I guess, but it’s kinda lost in a grand scheme of things. And then if I want more science out of town there’s exactly one thing I can do: build more buildings in the campus, and there’s a clear progression with only one building available at any time (OK, I can also build specific wonders and make the environment around the campus give more bonuses, but it’s not a useful decision).

In Humankind I have a lot of interesting decisions to make. There are buildings that give science per population - and note that no other resource has a similar “per population” building. There is a building line that improves the output of scientific quarters and their neighborhood bonus. There’s a building that gives more scientists slots (which is very desirable when your city is big and some people have no jobs) and improves the performance of scientists. There’s a building that gives flat science percentage bonus. There’s a building that gives a percentage bonus based on the amount of specific strategic resources you have access to. I know that those are all really simple math problems and every time there’s a clear mathematical answer to which building would be the most beneficial at this specific moment, it still captures me.

People have many issues with the game. I myself had an infuriating bug with never-ending turn resolution that botch one game (might have been patch conflict as I started the game right before the recent Leonardo patch). A lot of people have issues with cultures morphing one into the other, but I discovered that I ike this approach a lot more than traditional Civ one. AI personas with specific agendas and bonuses work for me, civilization-building on the go is great cause it always felt awkward how modern 4X contenders have decided their whole playstyle before they’ve even started the game. And even with agendas Civ6 is cryptic about their AI attitudes. I can guess how warlike they are but I’ll never notice their other inclination. Here AI qualities like “forgiving” or “isolationist” go a long way to make the planning interesting. I like combat: it’s exactly complex enough to make me understand what happens and why it happens, to use terrain and all that. AI is not bad at combat too. Endless Legend had overdesigned combat - it’s like empire builder devs feel obligated to make this part of the game as customizable and complex as possible even if it’s less important that the other parts. Endless Space 2 combat just happened and usually, a bigger military power number indicated that I’m stronger, but I don’t think anyone knows what happens there.

Now I’m in a honeymoon phase. ES2 felt like the best 4X to me too, right up till the point I’ve realized it has no challenge for anyone who understands basic mechanics. I’ve never beaten any other 4X on the highest difficulty settings, but with ES2 I’ve started as a faction I’ve never played before, didn’t really understand their signature mechanic, and still by the end game I was powerful enough to decide which type of victory do I want. In my last Humankind game (third one) I’ve been a great empire, launched a late-game conquest and almost beaten the empire with the highest Fame, but I still got second. It was a difficulty just above normal so I have high hopes for this game to keep me on the age of my seat for a long time.

Amplitude games have sort-of simultaneous movement, so it would effectively change some fundamentals of their game engine in order to do that.

I was all set to go launch a game of Humankind, due to all the bumping of this thread, when I saw this tidbit about what’s coming to the next update:

" Urban Planning Made Easy

Developing your cities is a core part of playing Humankind. But while expanding your cities with new districts would give you immediate feedback and even suggest good spots, the benefits of improving your cities with Infrastructures were less obvious. Many times, you’d act on a gut feeling about how many relevant tiles like forests or rivers the city already had. No more guessing, though: With the Bolivar update, the game will do the counting and math for you and display a preview of the yields a new infrastructure will give you. You can also check what an existing infrastructure is giving you at the moment."

I forgot about how much the lack of this annoyed me and I think I’ll just wait until they address it in the next update.

This certainly sounds convenient. I enjoyed eyeing my city and deciding which infrastructure makes more sense but of course, I never did the actual math. My first thought was that it might make the choices less interesting but now that I think about it a lot of impacts comes from the future planning, like some improvements give immediate effect and others only get better with time, so it’s still good.

Yeah, that information is all there, it just had to be calculated manually. The real killers for me were the buildings that boosted specific types of tiles. You’re either guessing based on what you remember about that city or you have to start counting map tiles.

That’s a really nice UI improvement.

Buckle up!

They responded graciously enough:

Still, it’s a disappointing sign of their inability and/or unwillingness to process feedback. I’ve Tweeted a few things about Humankind lately, including wildly positive stuff like this. Yet the only interaction from Amplitude’s Twitter account is to tell me that I’ve missed a setting when I mentioned the animation speed. The setting I had supposedly missed doesn’t exist, so the next interaction with Amplitude’s Twitter account was them telling me no one has ever complained about the issue?

Yet there are threads on Reddit going back two years to when the game was in early access complaining about this issue exactly. Say what you will about their game design – I’m certainly a fan! – but whoever is running their Twitter account doesn’t seem to take his or her job very seriously.


I’m a bit surprised at the tone of their response.
“youre the first one to complain…”

I would think that the name “Tom Chick” and QT3 should set up flags that said “this guy is publisher of one of the largest, most established gaming sites around, so lets make sure we respond accurately”.

But nope, they respond just like some dude named Frank Gorch asked them a question.

I’m thinking that Amplitude needs to up their twitter response team.

Back to the game. Bought it when it first came out, but fairty quickly switched to Old World (GOTY for me). But I’ve been meaning to get back to Humankind. Maybe after this next patch.

I’m really glad to hear this! I was able to do the math in the early game, but by midgame I’d give up and just go with my gut. There’s something to be said for intestinal decision-making, but by and large I’d rather use my eyes and brain. :)

They also change how the war support wars. A lot of people had problems with that. I think it was a good system. How it works is every war is put on a timer with war support of both sides going down with time. Winning battles and capturing territory improves war support and vice versa. Once anybody’s war support is down to 0 the war ends. If you won you can only ask for stuff you’ve captured or you demanded during peace. It makes diplomacy more interesting, I think. But it can be strange when you’re not ready for the war. In one of my games AI has invaded me twice from another continent and I didn’t have time to go back and beat him at home, so wars ended with just reparations.

Now they make it so that you can delay peace, but your global stability decreases. A nice compromise.

They should respond the same to any customer.

I agree, but more to the point, they shouldn’t say things on Twitter than are demonstrably false. When they do it in a conversation with a larger following, it’s even stupider. And while I don’t have a large following by any modern metric, it’s large enough that they should have been more careful to actually read my Tweet rather than dash off a response as if it were someone who couldn’t figure out the settings screen.

Which is what they did for a couple of Tweets before deciding to change tack and take me to task for assuming there’s an “omniscient Ampli-brain that knows all the feedback [they’ve] gotten everywhere”. That’s a half-assed mea culpa that just make them look petty, and if it’s responding to, say, Frank_Gorch and his 28 followers*, who cares? But instead, they decided to do that in front of someone with a couple thousand followers. That’s a rookie Twitter move for someone supposedly conducting PR for a major publisher. :(


* Apologies to @Frank_Gorch, as I don’t actually know how many followers he has.

I’ve been wanting this since either Endless legend or Endless Space. People say how good their UI is, but I always found it lacking because I couldn’t get info like this. Not sure if it will be enough for me to give Humankind another try.

I’m not interested in participating in the community events that Amplitude loves to have, but I am interested in them adding more cultures! Mississippian seems like a good one that I’m not sure I’ve seen in any other games but certainly seems like a worthy addition.

Bolivar update is out today along with a new Latin America culture pack!

These DLC are a bit expensive for me, but I may pick it up for completionism. Although that means I have to buy the Cultures of Africa pack too, so maybe I’ll just wait for a sale on those.

I’ve been waiting for this patch! Didn’t know it had an associated DLC. I’m in for six new cultures and a couple wonders.

It seems like both DLCs have been surprise drops.

EDIT: I also forgot to mention in my original post that they included the Mississippian culture that community “unlocked” in the patch too. Pretty quick turnaround time for that, it’s almost like it was guaranteed to happen.

That’s true. I’m all down for that, I kind of hate when something cool is announced and I end up having to wait a year or more to actually play it. I’d much rather have a surprise drop. :)

As the game improved significantly since release? I wasn’t too enamored with it when it launched on game pass, but if they’ve made any significant changes then maybe it’s worth another spin?