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

I was surprised at how much I liked this. I’m not a high score type of player and typically either like a sandbox or clear win objectives. Beating a high score never did much for me, which is probably why I never got into arcade games back in the day.

In any case, I went into it thinking Fame was just going to be that and it wouldn’t be something that clicked with me but I really like how it’s implemented in the game. In Civ or pretty much any 4X game, you want to tech up as quickly as possible. In Humankind, I like the tension of being able to advance to the next era but not necessarily wanting to pull the trigger, since it means you lose out on all the fame stars you haven’t picked up yet in your current era. You might race to the end and beat everyone to the space race but you might also find yourself short on stars and lose to another player who took the time to pick up some extra stars along the way.

On the flip side of that, there’s the tension of wanting to pull the trigger on advancing to the next era because culture X is really important to your strategy and you don’t want another civ to nab it first!

It’s surprisingly not bad, and I like it more than either Endless Legend or Endless Space’s attempts at combat.

Yeah, I didn’t even get into some of the smart things they did with Fame like the tradeoffs with moving ages quickly or the fame bonuses for whatever your culture’s theme is. I just like it thematically for a game about the sweep of human history. Having to laser focus your civ on a certain victory condition from the iron age on doesn’t feel very epic. Humankind gets that and encourages a bit of a reset each age as your people evolve and change.

Jumping cultures is a really cool idea that doesn’t work for me at all in practice. Or it half-way works. I think switching my culture up each era is a fun way to build my civ. On the other hand, having the other civs do the same thing means that I build no connections with my friends/rivals in the game. Rather, I’ll look up and think Wait a minute - where the hell did England come from? Oh, that’s just the red team. and that’s really dissatisfying.

I should really give Humankind another chance. I was real excited that the Endless Legend people were taking a shot at a civ-like, and ended up feeling like other than a few small things here or there, they played it way too safe and basically made a civ game. Which is fine – I like Civ – but Civ already exists and I’ve played way too much of it at this point. Amusingly, the 4x that released last year and was designed by an actual ex-Civ designer was the one that had the most interesting new ideas in it.

I haven’t played recently, but I believe they attempted to address this in one of the patches this fall. They were working to better connect the AI player and the names you see on the map or something like that. Pretty sure they fixed the notifications to also not just refer to the culture name. Honestly, I don’t know how that one made it all the way to release and then lasted another 12 months. Seems like something that would have been brought up by damn near anyone who played the game for multiple ages.

But yeah, Civ hit on something with recognizable leaders that fairly prominently feature as the representative of their faction. Humankind has generic AI avatars that really had no relation to what you were seeing in the game.

I always like Amplitude games in theory but the gameplay never holds me for long. I will try Humankind again with this DLC.

Sadly I agree. I love all the pieces but they somehow don’t come together into a cohesive whole that keeps me engaged.

Endless Legend is a game I have owned for years and finally gave it an earnest go. After I had defeated my only opponent on my continent there was no pushback from the AI, no tension simply hitting next turn as the remaining AIs and I raced for highest victory condition scores. I understand that you can ignore the turn limit and continue on but I dislike having a turn limit in my games.

How does an envoy “visit” a city? I’ve been marching mine all over the map, both to minor civs and AI players and can’t find a way to do it.

I have the game on Gamepass, but haven’t played it much.

It’s on sale on Steam, does the expansion improve the game enough that the expansion plus the sale make it worthwhile? Being able to play on my Mac is a bonus as well.

I still haven’t had a chance to try the expansion yett. I’m hoping to have some time to set aside for it over the Holidays.

Reviews on Steam are mixed, but so is the base game.

Wait, really?!?

That was not intended as a serious comment or prediction, though I would love if it were true. In fact I started the next sentence with “More seriously”.

That is… unfortunate.