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Video Game / Humankind

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A game from Amplitude Studios, the makers of Endless Space. This game follows human history, similar to the Civilization series, but with a different set of mechanics.

Starting in the Neolithic, you guide your civilization from their start as a nomadic tribe, through history to modern times. Unlike similar games, instead of choosing a single culture and playing all the way through, you are given an option each age to choose a new culture, representing the change of culture over time. As you play, performing certain actions (building big projects, conquering other cities, growing population, and such) builds fame, and whoever has the most fame at the end wins the game.

It released on August 17, 2021, with two "Open Dev" beta demos prior to release day.


This game provides examples of...

  • Alliance Meter: Several meters for diplomacy, such as War Score (representing the population's willingness to fight), and diplomatic attitude (how one civilization views another).
  • Alternate Timeline: The setting for the game is an alternative version of human history.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Subverted. While being on the warpath is a viable playstyle (which military and expansionist cultures lean into), the game disincentives the "stomp everyone into dust before the other victory conditions are relevant" playstyle often seen in other 4X games.
  • A Commander Is You: In game cultures are divided into Militaristic, Scientific, Expansionist, Aesthete, Builder, Agricultural, and Merchant. In addition to telling you the kinds of bonuses they give, each of these divisions has activated special abilities.
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  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Zig-Zagged. Some random events and civics imply this, giving scientific or production bonuses when an "old superstition" is removed, or when religion is reduced or open to change. Sometimes the opposite happens, where religious tenets and buildings generate more science. Religious tenents are possibly the weirdest example of this, because your religion can in the same time be about pursuing knowledge and dropping orthodox dogma.
  • Black Vikings: Very much possible with choices of cultures, which could combine ancient, classical, medieval, etc. cultures from different parts of our world. For actual black Vikings, for example, you could choose Nubians (in ancient times) and/or Aksumites (classical), then pick Norsemen in the Medieval period.
  • Blessed with Suck: Unless highly-specific circumstances happen, Militaristic cultures of Ancient and Classic eras are completely useless, since there might be nobody to conquer or fight with in the extent that non-Militarists can deal with, while Militaristic cultures receive no bonuses to peaceful development. In later eras, their war affinity is far, far more useful, just not so much in early game.
  • Boring, but Practical: Makers quarter. At first glance, every other resource is more important, especially money and science. But to get those, you need a reliable industrial base.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Cultural Transcendence allows you to move from one era to the next while retaining your current culture, foregoing any new bonuses gained by switching. You also get a bonus to your fame (the score that determines final victory), but if you can win the game while voluntarily handicapping yourself in this fashion, you clearly didn't need the bonus.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: AI empires on all difficulties get a couple of "perks" that synergize with their playstyle bias to give them an advantage. These are visible to the player as soon as they meet, making it more honest than some examples.
  • Culture Chop Suey: A big part of the game. You can combine any culture from one age with any other cultures from another age. City names and special buildings stick around, and cultural bonuses stack, implying that you are combining the cultures in question. The game further enforces mix-and-match approach, as sticking to your culture from previous era offers no real benefit.
  • Comeback Mechanic: If an empire falls a full era behind others, they will receive "Competitive Spirit" era stars, giving them a let up to reach the next culture choice and its tier of bonuses. It's also possible to automatically crib off the research of a superior neighbor under certain circumstances called "technological osmosis".
  • Common Place Rare: Both strategic and luxury resources are tied with terrain types and climate. As a result, they are more likely to spawn in their "proper" latitudes, and in the same time near-impossible elsewhere.
  • Company Cross References: The Mass Entertainment technology is represented by a picture of two kids playing Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Easy Communication: Like most such games, you have no problems ordering anything to do whatever you want it to do. Even in Neolithic times with spread out tribes.
  • End Game Results Screen: Shows the winner, and which ages the winner and runners up got their fame from.
  • Explosive Breeder: This is a desirable situation - to produce enough food to get new pop each and every turn in that specific town.
  • Fictional Earth: The planet has earthlike features and you're controlling human empires. But the blending of civilizations and random geography put it well into this trope.
  • 4X: Plays many of the conventions straight, but given some flavour carried over from the Endless series, such as tactical battles on the world map and its implementation of Variable Player Goals.
  • Geo Effects: Plenty, as fits this type of game.
    • Different terrain produces different resources, and how much nearby and on terrain districts produce.
    • Battles are fought on small sections of terrain, similar to Endless Legend. High ground, forests, and other effects change how combat works.
    • Too big a height difference cannot be traversed, and higher ground offers farther vision to units.
  • Historical Domain Character: Boudica, Edgar Allan Poe and, through the Notre-Dame DLC, Victor Hugo are available as avatars if you prepurchase the game, other than that you can create an avatar that resembles any real-life historical figure, such as a nuke-happy Mohandas Gandhi.
  • The Horde: The aptly named Mongol Horde unit. It turns ransack into food, and said food into more of itself - all while receiving a bonus to the amount of ransack generated. When facing them, it is paramount to kill them quickly, or they will snowball into massive armies.
  • Human Sacrifice:
    • One event has you decide whether to do this, substitute animals, or do no sacrifices at all.
    • The Aztec special building lets you do this, sacrificing some population to gain happiness for a few turns.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Subverted. Unlike other Amplitude games, there isn't one, except perhaps conquering all civilizations while ahead on fame. Otherwise, you play to the end, and whoever has the most fame wins, no exceptions.
  • Karma Meter: Your ideology is represented with four Karma Meters measuring your empire's attitude to social matters: Collectivism vs. Individualism, Homeland vs. World, Liberty vs. Order and Tradition vs. Progress, with civics and narrative choices pushing the meters in an appropriate direction. Staying in the middle increases your stability, but if you go to any of the extremes, you will get a significant bonus to resources.
  • Land of One City: It's possible to do in gameplay by merging all territories onto a single city.
  • Lemony Narrator: A snarky, British one who comments on almost everything you do with some degree of skepticism but also notes of admiration.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: Doable if you pick the Mayans, Aztecs, or Inca and keep them to modern times instead of switching to a different culture. It is however highly counter-productive.
  • Money Is Not Power: It plays close to no role in the gameplay, rendering market quarters and Merchant cultures near-useless. Short for paying unit upkeep and buying resources from the market, cash has no use. It technically allows to buy-rush structures (but they are prohibitively expensive) and to add new territories with money (which requires in turn a specific, late-game civic). The small amount of money each city, administrative centers and harbours generate is more than enough to cover the needs of any given faction.
    • Further rendered useless due to omnipresence and importance of influence as a currency used for things that normally cost money in 4X games.
  • Morale Mechanic: How Wars work. Instead of all out war until one side gets conquered or players agree to a peace treaty, civilizations have a "war score" against each other. This increases with success in war, insulting actions/grievances (like advancing too close to the other's territory or cutting trade routes) performed by the other civilization, and decreases with the opposite of these things. When war score gets too low in one civilization, it is forced to make peace. There's also the usual "happiness/unrest' found in similar games, determining how productive your population is.
  • No Points for Neutrality: Averted. Riding the middle of an ideological axis grants an empire extra stability, which can be every bit as helpful as the bonuses on the extremes.
  • No-Sell: Expansionist cultures can completely ignore another players borders and walk in unimpeded, open borders or no. While this may invoke a grievance, it's preferable to the alternative being open war.
  • Non-Entity General: Played with. No one in the gameworld is commanding the civilizations. However, the other players are represented by avatars which are seen in diplomacy and score screens. These avatars look the same throughout history, but are dressed as the most recent culture's they've chosen. Computer controlled ones have a certain programmed personality.
  • Not the Intended Use: If the global pollution level reach critical levels, it's a Non Standard Game Over. However, it still counts your Fame in such cases, meaning the best and fastest way to finish the game is to pollute like crazy while ahead in points. This also makes Joseon and French cultures both broken and having non-intended use. As Scientific, they can research things from the next era and pollute even more with the new inventions.
  • Pretext for War: Indirectly. Grievances against another civilization can be leverage for reparations, and if those demands aren't met, it builds War Support for the aggrieved party.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Any culture with Merchant affinity. Their Legacy traits are usually centered around earning and using Money, they get cheaper trade deals and can resell bought resources at a profit, or outright buy resource extractors in other player's territory.
  • Proud Scholar Race: Any culture with Scientist affinity. Their Legacy traits generally offer significant Science bonus, they can turn their cities' Production into Science and they can research technologies from an Era later than they are.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Any culture with Militarist affinity. Their Legacy traits generally improve their units, they can instantly spawn an army of Militia-type units in any city and have higher Warscore resting point
  • Pyramid Power: The Great Pyramid is a cultural wonder, and the Egyptian and Nubian cultures gets smaller pyramids as a district.
  • Random Event: An entire slew of them, usually dedicated to resolving some triviality, but with lasting effects on how your culture and thus civilisation develop. Aside the instant pay-off from picking different reactions, they also affect the civic sliders ever so slightly.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: The map is divided into territories, with one outpost or city per territory, which define a civilization's land.
  • Scoring Points: Fame is the score. Whoever has the most at the end wins.
  • Settling the Frontier: As in most 4x games, you'll do this early game, and when you get sailing to reach other continents. Territories are claimed by having units found outposts, and cities grow by building districts on terrain. Turning on the New World game mode puts all civilizations on the same continent and leaves the other one filled with only small, independent cultures for both players and the AI to interact with. And if more than 2 continents are spawned, one of them will be empty of any human presence, including even an achievement for being first human to set foot on it.
  • Shout-Out:
  • So Last Season
    • The Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors goes right to the bin in Early Modern period, where units with "Gunner" trait start appearing. Prior to it, units could be either melee, cavalry or ranged, each countering each. Gunner units have no melee penalty, while having even better offensive capability and range.
    • That same era makes outposts redundant as a way of building cities. Instead, a new unit, Settler, allows to pluck down new cities whenever you please, instantly, with all buildings from previous eras already in. And Settlers themselves get later update into Construction Team.
  • Tech Tree: Opens new units, buildings, etc. A normal tech tree for this sort of game.
  • Technology Levels: An integral part of the gameplay. Whatever you are doing, you are locked to the technologies of your current era and in case of Scientific cultures, the next one. If you want to continue with the research, you must advance to higher age and switch (or retain your current) culture.
  • Tutorial Failure: If you played Endless Legend, then you should be fine. If not - good luck figuring out how half of Humankind even works, because the tutorial sure as hell won't explain it.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Nomadic Tribe play as exactly that - a moving unit. You don't build anything, you don't research anything, and the goal it to simply scout the map and find good (and preferably best) spot for your first city. And you can't die, so even if your current unit gets killed, next one will be spawned. Also, gathered food transforms into more of said nomads.
  • Unstable Equilibrium:
    • As a whole, the game tries to avert it, by having ever-increasing upkeep and production requirements, so in theory, your civilization never should achieve the point of unstoppable snowball. In reality, the in-game inflation is not even half of the needed values to balance things out, so once the ball starts rolling, it won't stop.
    • Research. In Ancient era, unless one picks a culture with emblematic district offering science, it's nearly impossible to gain any. In Classic era, research districts are the last priority, behind money, production and possibly even military. But keep picking Scientific cultures or at least those with science-generating districts, and by Early Modern you should be generating enough science to research 1 tech each turn, which completely sweeps the tide of the game in your favour. This is particularly prominent if in said era Korean culture is picked, as the culture-wide bonuse doubles the research rate, while offering access to Industrial era technologies. The trick is to not get conquered early on, while chasing after science, but if one survives till Medieval era focusing on science, the game is pretty much decided.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Any culture or building that gains +x to something that depends on mountains being nearby. It's perfectly possible to generate an entire continent with maybe 5 mountain tiles on the whole of it, not to mention the general lackluster effect of all those +x bonuses.
  • Variable Player Goals: Zig-zagged. At first there seems to be less of this, since the only victory condition is to have the most Fame at the end of the turn count. However, the many way of earning fame reward prioritizing a few specific methods, so one player might be chasing science and wealth while another is focused on population a military, and both are almost tied for fame.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: "Stability" is tracked on a city- and nation-wide basis and represents how well the people are cared for, and effectively the administration is being run. While there's no serious consequences for neglecting it until you get seriously low, going out of your way to make them happy will cause Random Events to come up favorably far more often.
  • War Elephants: Unique units for several civilizations use these. Including one with Gatling gun.
  • We Have Reserves: It's certainly possible to get into a situation like this, but since military units cost population to recruit, it requires investing heavily in infrastructure first.