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× A place for boardgame traitors.

Humankind

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01 Sep 2021 17:09 - 01 Sep 2021 17:10 #326167 by Gary Sax
Humankind was created by Gary Sax
I talked about this in the video game thread and mezike expressed some interest, so I thought I'd split it out.

This is the civ game from the Endless Space/Endless Legend people. It is extremely straight ahead civ. It's actually easier to tell you what's different from civ than what is the same. As I mentioned in the other thread, the front of the box feature is the changing civs each era, with a draft of civs so if you advance first you'll get your pick and if you do it later you'll be limited in what you can choose. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this, but I really like it. I actually have found myself switching civ type. In my first real game (I've played like 7 hours in three work day/nights, so it has me), I went heavy into money since I was on the coast and opened with the Phoenicians and Carthagians but then got into these protracted wars with some minor civs and fighting with the major civs in the frontier territories so shifted to a fighty civ. The civ choice really matters because their special buildings tend to be extremely consequential. Still not sure about their Wonders model---you have to claim them with influence so others can't build them, so you don't get into that frustrating race where someone else finishes something you were one turn away from building. But you can only claim another Wonder once you finish the one you have claimed.

Another aspect about it is that this game *specifically* doubles down on things that Civ 6 went in for hard, which was about specificity of tiles, growing cities through districts, and the importance of specific natural resouces. So if you did not like civ 6 but liked other civs, I would stay away from this.

My favorite little thing about this game so far is the extremely tight city limit and one city per defined territory limit. It's soft-capped, so you can go over it, it's just that you hemmorage influence if you do. The cap in ancient era is 2 civs. You grow to 3 or 4 through tech and civics in the classical era, and then again 1 or 2 more in the medieval era but that's as far as I've gotten. I have three cities and it is hitting my micro sweet spot. I'll report back if that cap goes up too high and it's just as annoying to micro as late game civ is. Instead you have to make little territory outposts which you can attach to your cities which throws their resources to that city. So far it's a great system to make expansion worthwhile but not force you to micromanage a ton of cities and I love it.

Oh, and my other favorite thing is that making units is really costly---you use a population point for any war unit you make. So when guys die in the field it's a whole population point that's dying. It's easy to replace those population points because the game doesn't really scale to the number of citizens in the same way that other games do, the underlying math is a little flatter and different on average, but it means your opponent is literally throwing people and production to you if they meat grinder at your cities which is a significant cost.

I really like it so far but it's a big ask at 50 bucks. If you see it on sale I can strongly recommend you get it, but before then maybe stay on the sidelines unless something you hear sounds especially good.
Last edit: 01 Sep 2021 17:10 by Gary Sax.
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02 Sep 2021 06:18 #326177 by mtagge
Replied by mtagge on topic Humankind
It just came out on GamePass Ultimate. I downloaded it and spun it up. Don't have the time right now, but Monday is a holiday and the kids are in school so that's my Monday plan.

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02 Sep 2021 11:09 #326186 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Humankind
This is absolutely worth your time on gamepass if you like civ 6, that's great it's on there.

Definitely do the mediocre tutorial and then restart, some of the new systems like outposts/territories are very good but need explanation.
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03 Sep 2021 06:01 #326219 by Erik Twice
Replied by Erik Twice on topic Humankind
I was extremely dissapointed with Endless Legends. It took me a long time to learn and, when I did, I realized the game was awfully balanced and the AI didn't understand anything of the game it was playing. For me it's the poster child of games I'm tired of playing in the computer when I can play well-made boardgames with real thinking opponents.

It also made me wary of online reviews as everyone lavished praise on it without mentioning its awful balance or dumb AI.

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03 Sep 2021 10:23 - 03 Sep 2021 10:25 #326220 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Humankind
I despised endless legend.

The three moves ahead podcast of this game was pretty lukewarm and mentioned the need to crank the difficulty from the person who liked it.
Last edit: 03 Sep 2021 10:25 by Gary Sax.
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05 Sep 2021 18:33 - 05 Sep 2021 18:34 #326270 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Humankind
Still really enjoying this one, still has all the excess problems of civ 6 with some of them improved and shaved off. There's still late game sprawl and micro, but I've only gotten to about the 1800s techwise. The tech system is still just pouring things from the tree on top of you as you hit each research. The techs are often quite meaninfull, but the tree system sometimes feels like who cares go for the cheapest one. An old civ problem for sure. Do not play the base difficulty they suggest, too easy. The choices only get hard in this game when you're under real pressure.

My favorite thing about the game so far is the territories system, I think. It makes going tall with a civ feel good and not disadvantageous at all. When you make an outpost claiming an area, you don't have to build it into a city. You can "attach" that outpost to a city. Then it throws its resources back to the metropole and the metropole can build stuff in that territory attached to that city. It even lets that city build multiples of things that are "one per territory" which some of the special districts are. I love it.
Last edit: 05 Sep 2021 18:34 by Gary Sax.
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06 Sep 2021 18:43 #326290 by mtagge
Replied by mtagge on topic Humankind
Ok gave it a try. I actually spent most of the morning playing Hades since that requires the TV and only got to it after lunch, but anyway.

First impression is that I'm not a fan. It seems a bit excessively fiddly. I played two games, one to completion where I was on a continent by myself so played an entirely peaceful game with one failed foray into invasion forty turns from the timer end. The second one I started on the same small continent as another player and it was clear I'd have to wipe them out.

In the first game I was able to toggle between all the types of builder civilizations to try and build up. One major annoyance was an outpost I had in a tundra. Apparently it was at it's population limit so on even numbered turns it would hit me with an nag telling me the population grew, on odd numbered turns the nag said the population fell. The auto-explore AI was garbage and I had to manage all my caravels manually. Later in the game I had peace, trade, and research treaties with all other nations. Then alliances with other nations and had two continents all to myself. Just for fun I decided to use my advanced tech and units to take over another city since I had an available one in my city cap. Taking the city was no problem and almost immediately I got a warning that I could only build stability buildings until stability had recovered, this despite having 100% influence in that city (with my overwhelming culture). It wouldn't let me actually build anything or look at the city. So I took my army and marched over to their other city and the turn before I could attack the game forced me to declared peace and give them back their city. Still I won a score victory pretty easily. I was frustrated that I was always short of culture.

The second game I had some good luck finding mammoths to hunt (each victory gives you another unit in the first era) and was able to advance to the city phase really early and had a sizeable "military". Problem is there was another civ nearby and if I was to grow I needed to wipe them out. So I sent my army destroying their scouts, and razing their outposts. I beelined for the archery tech and pumped out two archers (at a cost of two population and eight turns of production) made a four unit army (two cannon fodder veteran scouts, two archers) and declared war. Marched into their territory, razed their horse tile, one more outpost and attacked their single city. I survived with a single archer. The next turn they surrendered to me and the game forced me to give them back their city. There was some weird interface with some numbers and a list of demands I could make, but whenever I tried demanding their city or their remaining outpost which was under the war support value it grayed out the accept button so I had to accept their surrender for a princely sum of 180 gold (less than the 450 I spent rushing the second archer). Tried reloading and changing things up a little and couldn't alter the outcome.

Perhaps I just can't figure stuff out, but I couldn't figure out how to turn on the governor to auto build with a focus on production then science. There was a lot of micromanaging things that didn't seem to matter at all. The popups and notifications were more annoying than useful (for example the turn I finished building my 15th farming district I got a cute quote with subtitles that filled the information bar at the bottom of the screen hiding the notifications until they got done reading the quote, building a new district the game only highlights the highest yield tile even if it involves building over another district such as a hamlet that has no production but allows more citizens in the city, population fluctuations with no easy to find stop growth feature, etc). War was nonsensical to me. I don't see the point of the first era at all running around with the hunting parties. If you want to give some variability to starting cities, give a special screen of a wider area and allow people to choose the location from several blocks.

I suspect there is a good game in there if someone really spends some time to memorize the interface and min-maxes the war support dial. I liked the map chunking to determine a city's workable areas and the linking of outposts into a mother city. I like the idea of mini projects to permanently increase a city's resource generation. I like the "army management" with a unit limit based on tech and choices. It's just a hard pass for me at this point because the negatives far outweigh the positives. I'm glad I didn't drop a fifty on this gem in the rough.
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06 Sep 2021 18:48 #326291 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Humankind
It has a paradox style war system, with claims and such. All outposts should be available to take by default, but the cities require claims iirc.

Yeah, I think it's a wait till it's on a big sale for most people. Too similar to civ.
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07 Sep 2021 04:39 #326303 by mezike
Replied by mezike on topic Humankind

Gary Sax wrote: It has a paradox style war system, with claims and such. All outposts should be available to take by default, but the cities require claims iirc.

Yeah, I think it's a wait till it's on a big sale for most people. Too similar to civ.


I think those two sentences likely sum up the disconnect - it looks/feels similar to Civ but everything I've read or watched leans it more toward the Paradox 'grand strategy' style of play. Warfare being a tool of the nation state rather than a straight method to gain more territory, so you need the diplomatic factor as well as a big pile of units to support aggressive expansion. Manipulating all those levers in order to generate casus belli and such. I watched a bit of someone playing and he made a big deal out of provoking some minor raids and skirmishes in order to push up war support before launching the big assault that he was plotting.

I believe the intent of Humankind is to tell the story of a nation over time and the growth of it's national identity rather than a bee-line up a tech-tree or land-grab in order to trigger a victory condition. Could be a video game parallel to Oath maybe where what is in the tin is not what you assume from similar products on the shelf and there is ensuing frustration when it doesn't work out as expected with the approach players feel it should require, a problem stemming from it looking far too much like an entry in the Civ franchise. Definitely seems to still be in a fairly rough patch of development and there's a really Marmite reaction to it. I'm still intrigued but I couldn't get into Europa Universalis so likely going to wait out for a sale as I figure there is a likelihood I'll also bounce off this one despite it looking far more accessible than Paradox titles.
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16 Jan 2022 17:36 #329851 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Humankind
I returned to this game this week and I still really like it. My best overall descriptor on it is modular civ 6. That doesn't sound like that big a deal but it lets you change directions and stack bonuses in a really fun way as ages go on. I recommend it on sale, and I'm actually pretty happy with it at the full price I got it.

Also, the outpost/territory system with low early city caps is just a godsend.
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17 Jan 2022 23:13 #329863 by san il defanso
Replied by san il defanso on topic Humankind
I keep tracking the price of Humankind because I'm definitely interested as a Civ VI player, but after spending some time with both CKIII and Stellaris, I think what I actually like about Civ VI is that it feels a little more like, well, a game. A board game, to be specific. It's gamey-er tendencies are well documented, but I think that's kind of a common thing with every Civ game. I'm not sure I want something that leans in a more grand strategy direction.

Still keeping an eye on it, and I might chase it down eventually.

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18 Jan 2022 03:23 - 18 Jan 2022 03:26 #329865 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Humankind
fwiw, Humankind is very board gamey, nothing like a paradox grand strategy. Moreso than civ 6 in some ways, your score is tracked by earning "stars" which are like achievements in a variety of areas (war, expansion, population, etc). Basically VP.
Last edit: 18 Jan 2022 03:26 by Gary Sax.
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29 Jun 2022 20:08 #333961 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Humankind
I'm back into this game, they've smoothed out some stuff. I really like the base game still, it is very straight ahead extension of civ 6 but I enjoy being able to juke my strategy every age. And the territory system that reduces city numbers early while still allowing for territorial conflict is top stuff. End game is still civ end game problems.

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