Humankind can be an intimidating game. So can the entire 4X strategy genre, for that matter.
However, once you learn the basics, the game flows naturally and it all becomes a matter of carefully choosing your next steps.
With so much information available and so many choices to make in every turn, it’s not unusual to feel lost in a game like this.
For this reason, we’ve rounded up 21 beginner tips for Humankind players that want to learn and improve to beat the AI and other players online.
And here’s a bonus tip before we even get started: always try to pick the best Culture (as long as that Culture fits your gameplan).
Move 1 Tile at a Time With Your Hunting Party
This is a quick tip, but a useful one.
When moving around with your Hunting Party, you cannot afford to waste movement so that you can claim territories faster than competing Empires. Make sure you know how to claim your first Territory in Humankind.
Before moving your Hunting Party, look around to see the closest location that has the food icon and go there. If you can’t find any, move carefully — 1 hex at a time — and let the map reveal itself to you before taking another step.
Please note that even though mammoths, bears, and dears count as food, mammoths can be very dangerous for a single Hunting Party unit. Make sure you have at least two units and a tactical advantage — such as a higher ground — if you’re hunting mammoths during the Neolithic Era.
Separate Your Units During the Neolithic Era
You most likely won’t need more than two units for combat during the Neolithic Era, but you will undoubtedly need more units to quickly explore other areas of the map. Scouting at this stage is vital.
Having all units moving together might cause you to lose essential Territories, starting the game already behind the Enemy Empires.
To separate your Units, click on an Army on the map once they’ve gathered 20 food.
A window should show up on the right side of the screen and reveal the units within that army. Click on the unit and then on the hexagon where you want it. This will make the unit move away from the army.
Check the Tiles Surrounding Your Outpost
When placing an Outpost in a tile, players will be able to see what the adjacent tiles provide to that Outpost. Early in the game, the bonuses will be on food and production per turn.
It would be best if you tried receiving at least six of each, but always try going for the best possible combination of food and production, as long as you receive a decent amount of each.
Pay Attention to Other Cultures
You can see what cultures your adversaries chose in the pop-up messages that usually appear at the bottom of your screen.
It is important to pay attention to this because good players and AIs might want to take advantage of what a culture is good at, which can give you an idea of what they might be going for.
Not only that, having a rival Empire choosing an aggressive culture should be enough to let you know what they might intend to do in the future.
Look for the Enemy’s AI Traits and Behaviors
If you’re not playing against humans, checking the AI of the enemy might be a great indicator of what to expect when engaging with other Empires.
On the top left of your screen, you will see little icons that represent each Empire you have discovered so far. Clicking on one of them will bring you to the Diplomacy Screen.
On that screen, your avatar will be on the left, and the enemy’s one on the right side. Hover your mouse over their avatar to reveal details about their AI, such as being trustworthy, having grievances, and so on.
Humankind has six different eras. Each will present diverse cultures and demand an amount of Era Stars before you can progress to the next Era.
The Neolithic Era is an era of hunters that looks exactly the same to all players. Once players advance to the next Era, they will be able to choose a culture.
As Eras advance, so does the chance of adopting new cultures and adding new technology to your Empire.
Choose Your Culture With Purpose
Each culture has a unique Legacy Trait that players get to keep even if they change to a different culture when they progress to the next Era.
Players can start as Babylonians for their Astronomy Houses, for instance, and then move to the Olmecs for the extra food they are able to produce.
There are many valid strategies and combinations of unique buildings and units, but an Empire might collapse if not well administrated, so choose wisely and have a purpose for your culture choice in mind.
Cultures also have unique affinities. However, unlike the Legacy Traits, they are lost when you adopt a new culture.
Go for the Era Stars Within Your Affinity
Use Manual Battles
Unless victory is guaranteed, you should always be using Manual Battles. Especially when your chances of success are less than 50%, and you have no choice but to fight.
The game’s AI is not the smartest one, and sometimes other players might not be the best tactician. Well-controlled and well-positioned units can overcome stronger enemies during combat, so you can actually outplay a stronger army.
Go for the Stars Associated With Your Affinity
There are many Era Stars, and you need to collect them for Fame and to advance to new Eras. However, the ones that are associated with your current affinity will grant you a lot more Fame than any other.
Acquiring these stars is just a matter of doing whatever happens on that screen when you click on the circle that is on the top left of your screen. It should reveal the current state of your Empire.
Going for the Stars associated with your affinities will grant you a lot more Fame, which will help you secure a victory in the long run.
Do Not Stay in an Era for Longer than Needed
When you advance to the next Era, you get to pick a culture or remain with yours.
Since players cannot pick a culture that someone else already chose, you might want to advance to the next Era quickly if you have a specific combination in mind.
However, you shouldn’t rush to advance to every era either. It’s important to strike a balance between growing and progressing.
Do Not Forget to Extract Resources
It does not help much to go for military units and farms if you are never advancing in any way. Having metal, copper, and other resources will make a massive difference down the line.
In fact, Iron mining can already give you a significant advantage during the medieval Era. So make sure you have an outpost that is near enough to a resource tile so you can mine it.
Mobility is Important
Road technology makes it quicker for your units to move around. It even makes bridges that allow your units to move over rivers without spending their whole movement.
Note that units can only heal when in friendly territory, and sometimes exploring might cause them to face a strong patrolling army.
When those situations happen, it is vital to have a way to pull your units back as soon as possible.
Your Population Can Be Used to Help You
When you click on a city, it will show up what it is producing on the right side and what the population is doing on the top.
You can rearrange the focus of a population when pursuing specific goes. For instance, a food shortage might make you move people into the food section, while moving them to money might be an excellent way to cover the expenses of a war.
Actively Work to Have a Stable Empire
Stability represents public order in Humankind, and it can go from 0% to 100%. Each city has its own Stability value. An unstable city has from 0% to 29% stability and cannot build new Districts. The population will leave the city, and it can cause many adverse effects.
Pay attention to the stability icon when you’re building new structures, and make sure you’re not sacrificing the effectiveness of your city when occupying more tiles.
Do Not Attack Every Other Culture You Find
You can actually go through an entire game of Humankind without ever being at war with other cultures. Also, Empires might remember an attack and retaliate when you’re most vulnerable.
Sometimes, it is much wiser to make an ally than an enemy out of your neighbor.
Politics Can Take Down Empires
Civics & Faith are essential parts of the game. They will be triggered while you’re playing a game of Humankind, and it generally only asks you to choose between two options.
Removing the religion of a people or giving them the ability to trade freely will affect what happens to your Empire, so every time you have an opportunity to make a choice in this context, make sure to read the options carefully since some options might cost you a lot of money.
Also, please note that since making a decision costs you influence, you can just ignore it for a while and go to the bottom left of your screen when you’re ready to choose an option.
Hover the End Turn Button When You are Stuck
If you can’t pass your turn, hover your mouse over the bottom in the bottom right of your screen. It should display a text that shows what else you need to do before ending your turn.
If you have units that haven’t moved yet and haven’t been given the command to be stationary, clicking on the button will take you to one of those units.
It also happens when you’re not producing anything in a city.
Place Walls to Protect Your City
Fighting from within City Walls gives a huge bonus to your army. Besides, wheeled units cannot climb walls.
Enemy Empires will be forced to count on ranged and short movement melee units during the battle. Make sure you have ranged units and a strong frontline. This will make the invading army’s work much harder.
Always Check the Competitive Deeds
Competitive Deeds work a bit like side quests. Upon completion, they award Fame. However, there is a catch. Only the first Empire to do it receives Fame for completing a Competitive Deed.
When working towards your own goals and Era Stars, chances are you will be working towards some Competitive Deeds as well. Make sure to try to get some of them since Fame is never too much.
Shape Your Populations Beliefs
Tenets are unlocked every time there’s a significant increase in the number of followers of your religion. When that happens, you can pick a tenet that will shape their behavior and provide bonuses to your Empire.
For instance, by not letting your population spend their wealth on decadent feasts — the Eschew Gluttony tenet — they will spend it on holy places, giving you +5 Money on Luxury Resource Deposit and +1 Maximum Number of Holy Sites.
Start at Lower Difficulties
When learning this game, chances are you will be overwhelmed with information. There is a lot to learn, and that’s okay. The game does its best to give you as much information as it can.
However, it isn’t unusual to get lost in a sea of windows, treaties, conflicts, and so on. Start with a smaller map and fewer enemy empires. Make a test run of the game and go through it to assimilate the mechanics instead of trying to win.
You can also set the game to end in only 75 turns. This should be enough for you to get a sense of how the game works before trying really hard to win.
Once you get the basics figured out, including how to win a game of Humankind, then select a bigger map, a higher difficulty, and try again.