Humankind
Maximum PC|November 2021
Human kind. Bear ferocious. Egyptian chariot terrifying.
IAN EVENDEN

YOU CAN’T WRITE about historical 4X games without mentioning Civilization, and yes, Humankind is, on the surface, a bit like Civilization. There’s a hex grid you can hide, you start in the stone age, and given half a chance, your neighbor will move its tanks into your capital even though you’ve been trading resources amicably for years.

One major difference, though, is that there’s only one way to win a game of Humankind. Another is that it’s a race. Humankind differs from Civilization in that you don’t play as the same culture all the way through (unless you want to), but pick and choose from available societies depending on what your aims are in the next era. So a good solid foundation in food and population growth in the Ancient era as the Harappans (who get food-growing bonuses) can see you pivot to industrial expansionism in the Classical era as you become the Maya.

That is if someone else hasn’t got there first. We said it was a race, and the first to win seven stars in the current era gets to leave it first and has first pick of the cultures available for the next one. No two cultures can be the same, so if you desperately want the Medieval Franks with their influence bonus (useful for founding new settlements) then you have to get there first, or it might not be available when you do.

This is hugely frustrating if you have a plan, but leads to some delicious U-turns and reallocations of resources when you have to settle for second best because the Hittites discovered more curiosities (interesting things scattered around the world to be discovered by mobile units in the early phase of the game) than you did.

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