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Sid Meier’s Civilization series is the peak of the historical 4X hexagon genre. However, Amplitude Studio’s Humankind is the latest entry into the historical 4X strategy sphere. The aim for Humankind is to not only evolve the 4X tile-based genre but to compete against the Civilization series. Both Sega and Amplitude have set their ambitions high with a whole new take on civilization progression and warfare while sticking to what works well. If you’re interested to see how Amplitude aims to stand out in the upcoming Humankind vs Civilization battle, we’ve covered the similarities and differences between them below.
Civilizations Vs Cultures
The Sid Meier’s Civilization games have always featured the major historical civilizations as playable nations. These civilizations each have special units, buildings, and strengths and weaknesses based on their historical counterparts. For example, Britain is known for its modern era Navy, while the Romans are the martial gods of late antiquity. This focus on unique civilizations is something that Civ games have never deviated from (even with Civ 6’s leader taking the fore.)
However, Humankind is doing away with that concept to an extent. Humankind allows you to adopt different cultures from different eras. Each culture has unique bonuses, units, buildings and other facets of life. As you progress through the eras, you get to pick additional cultures until you might have a mix, say, of ancient Babylonian, medieval German and modern-day Japanese aspects. One of the more interesting parts of the gameplay is only one playable character can take a culture from that era, so there can be a race to the desired culture with other players.
Humankind encourages a more tactical approach by offering opportunities to pivot your strategy based on multiple factors, as opposed to picking a Civilization and sticking with it all game. This deviation from traditional 4X civ building is arguably the stand out aspect of the Humankind vs Civilization battle.
4X tabletop-like games are known for their rather repetitive style of gameplay, with units occupying spaces on the map. However, Humankind has slightly more depth than its Civilization counterpart. The key difference is Humankind’s unit size. Humankind can merge individual units into armies, which is more akin to Total War than a traditional 4X hex-based game. When battles commence, you’ll get to place army units on tiles near you to create some strategy on the nearby terrain. The strength of the army and counters remain an important part of the fighting, but there is more scope to outmanoeuvre your AI or human combatant.
Fighting isn’t the only key difference between the two games. Both recent Civilization games (Civ 5 and 6) utilize production to create units while taking your gold to maintain them. Humankind does things a little differently. You need spare population in the city the unit will be enlisted from to create a new unit. There is an essence of city management when it comes to producing units, which has some similarities with games like Northgard.
Lastly, Humankind’s warfare takes diplomacy a little further. Whenever you select another nation to enter in diplomacy, you can see each other’s war enthusiasm. War enthusiasm acts like a casus belli in one way, while being a resource that can end lengthy wars if your homefront becomes a broken mess. It’s a new approach to warfare – one that seems much more natural in its buildup. It adds a much better storytelling experience, akin to a Paradox game’s anticipation of war, rather than having Trajan from Civ 6 pop and call you a filthy barbarian for some randomly selected reason.
Avatars are a unique feature to Humankind, allowing players to create a character that will lead them through their campaigns. Furthermore, you can share your character with your friends and set their AI tendencies. These AI tendencies urge them to prefer specific playstyles. As you continue to play and earn in-game achievements, you can unlock new AI settings to further improve your avatar’s personality. If you want them to be war-declaring maniacs or peace-loving Ghandi-like characters in your game’s session, go for it.
While we have billed the Humankind vs Civilization battle as two very different beasts colliding, there are a few similarities. Humankind draws very much on the District feature from Civilization 6. Humankind allows you to build districts that take advantage of a tile’s geography to prosper your people’s industrial, scientific, cultural or agricultural output. The same can be said for awe-inspiring wonders of the world. You can’t just build as many as you want in a city without actually planning your city from day one.
Stability and Influence
Both Humankind and Civilization use a loyalty system to ensure you can’t rapidly spam cities. Humankind uses an influence system that you’ll need to earn before you can create an outpost, which can later become an extension of a city or a city in its own right. However, creating a new city or attaching an outpost creates a stability issue. The more cities you create and the more districts you place will cause your stability to decrease. You’ll need to manage this precious resource properly; otherwise, your distant cities or annoyed vassal states may rebel, claim independence, or join another nation altogether.
Humankind takes obvious inspirations from Firaxis when it first introduced the Loyalty system in Civ 6’s Rise and Fall expansion. The idea behind the loyalty system is to keep you from aggressively sitting next to your neighbour’s borders without proper border expansion. You will also need to properly support cities on continents away from yours if you want to keep them. Moreso, it makes for new opportunities to take over an enemy city without direct conquest. Either way, fans of Civ 6 will find even more crossover with Humankind.
Technology and Science are almost the same in both games. Technologies allow a civilization to begin building new buildings, units, and districts. Throughout the eras, there are different technologies to unlock that all do different things. Also, the UI for the technology tree and the Technology Screen is almost the same. There’s no reason to change what isn’t broken.
What do you think are the main differences between Humankind vs Civilization? Are you intrigued by the concepts in either game? Let us know in the comments below!