Earlier in our Humanity Beginner's Guide, we discussed basic concepts such as tile resources / yields, outposts, Era stars, and exploration during the Neolithic. Now is the time to talk about what you can expect when you're ready to take the next step. Here's our Humankind Ancient Era guide to help you with the new mechanics you need to consider, such as cities, districts, and the early game of Harappan Runner.
Humankind's Guide to the Ancient Era: Cities, Areas, Stability, and Getaway of the Harappan Runners
I've divided this guide into two parts depending on what you come across in your Humankind walkthrough. Think of it as small steps:
Ancient era of humanity
The Ancient Era of Humanity is very important as you try to gain a foothold after the exploits of your tribe during the Neolithic era.
From one era to anotherIn any case, once you have acquired the Star of the Era, which is necessary to transition to the Ancient Era, you can choose a unique culture. Our guide to civilizations and cultures already discusses all the symbolic (i.e. Unique) quirks inherent in each culture, as well as similarities or archetypes that provide more bonuses and additional opportunities. Here I'll just give advice on my ideal choices.
As practice shows, the cultures you have chosen have the following features:
Symbolic units are unique units that will be present throughout the entire campaign unless you get a direct upgrade. For example, Harappa runners can be recruited until you learn the Horse Warfare technology, which forces the Horsemen to replace the squad.
Symbolic Districts - These unique districts provide powerful bonuses, including neighborhood gifts. However, they can only be built in the current era.
Traits - These perks will remain in effect for the rest of the game, even if you change the culture in subsequent eras.
Note 1: You can also adhere to the same culture by "going outside" in later ages. You will receive a 10% bonus on all your Fame Points earned.
Note 2: Only one era star is required for the transition from the Neolithic to the ancient era of humanity. However, in subsequent ages, you will need seven. You can get them through various actions like joining more outposts (expansionist), increasing population / units (agrarian), killing enemy units (militaristic) and the like. However, completing the affinity / archetype count of the selected culture earns more Fame points.
Ancient Era's Choice: Harappans - I'm a big fan of Harappans in Humanity. The reason is that in all other cultures, the Neolithic tribes will turn into ordinary scouts. In the meantime, the Harappans will turn the tribes into runners (additional combat strength and point of movement compared to the scouts). While runners cannot fight face to face with other token units from other civilizations, they can easily defeat the scouts that other factions have. Moreover, they do not require strategic training resources.
If you play your cards right in the Neolithic era, you may have over half a dozen runners by the time you move into antiquity. This will allow you to do the Harappan Runner Rush, in which, as the name suggests, your runners wade through weaker enemies. It is actually possible to crush a neighboring empire in 20 or so moves, lifting you to the top of the leaderboard.
The Harappans also have other powerful unique items:
The Canal Network is a symbolic quarter (district) that adds +3 food, +3 food for the neighboring farmer's district, and +1 farmer space in a city or outpost at the cost of -10 stability.
The Fertile Floods inherited trait adds +1 food to all tiles that produce food, and +1 food to all river tiles.
Needless to say, the Harappans will help you expand your empire significantly in the early stages of the game and beyond. These traits are very important as units require population and citizens can also be transferred to key areas (e.g. food, industry, money, and science).
Note: I would advise you to leave at least two outposts that are not attached to cities. I'll explain more in our classic era guide.
What about other cultures?
Be careful though, because the AI likes to pick Harappans. After you acquire the Neolithic Era Star, you must decide if it is worth spending a few turns to get the Neolithic Legacy Trait, or if you want to capture the Harappans now. This is really a race against your opponent, because the high difficulty AI with a huge population will be very difficult to stop.
In any case, other worthy peaks in the Ancient Era include the Babylonians (+ science), the Olmecs (+ influence), and Egypt (+ industry). The Mycenaeans and Nubians receive honorable mentions for their good units (Promach Archers and Ta-Seti respectively). Additionally, Zhou can help increase stability, and their Symbolic Quarter adds science (although this is very situational as it needs to be close to multiple rock tiles).
Finally, if you are faced with numerous opponents who have already chosen good options (see below) and you only have Phoenicians or Assyrians left, it might be time to restart your campaign. I personally have never been successful when choosing these two, as their capabilities were insufficient.
Ok, let's move on to the next part of our Humankind Ancient Era guide to talk about other tidbits like cities, neighborhoods, and more.
Additional Tidbits for the Ancient Era
There are other aspects that you should consider in the Ancient Era of Humanity. Choosing your first culture will result in a new mechanic.
The most obvious feature is your first city. Any outpost that you build can be converted to your capital for free (you will need to spend influence on each subsequent outpost that will be promoted to a city).
Cities have the following notable mechanics:
Note 1. The bar at the top of the screen shows the population of your city that is tasked with producing food, industry, money, or science. The maximum distribution depends on the existing slots (usually increased by building districts or emblematic districts of this type). You can also change the city's politics from balanced to other aspects that you would like to focus on. This will automatically reassign your population according to your needs.
Note 2: There is a city limit limit in the upper right corner of the screen. If you exceed this limit, you will lose influence per turn. Luckily, you have ways to increase your City Cap through events, civics, and technology. Examples of technology include philosophy, foreign outposts, theology, maritime administrator, supply lines, mercantilism, and urban planning.
Note 3: Military architecture technology allows cities to be connected. This will take into account all areas and improvements, which means that consolidation into a metropolis can be very costly.
Districts: neighborhood and stability
In the early stages of your Humanity campaign, you can only build Farmer's Quarters (food) and Creator Quarters (industry). Later, after learning the necessary technologies, you will have the following:
Suffice it to say that these early game options can make you wonder about the stability of your city. In general, most districts you build and the additional outposts you attach will cause stability reduction. The newly conquered cities will also revolt. You can use extractors on luxury resource nodes or build garrisons (Ancient Era: City Defense technology). Luxurious resources and garrisons increase stability, and the latter also serve as fortifications. Another worthy use of garrisons is that they can be spawn points for units (just select a garrison and click the sword icon).
Note: The civics / ideologies you have selected also have a slider. A more balanced approach will ensure the stability of your empire. You can learn more about this mechanic in our civic / ideology guide.
Additional technologies in the Ancient Era
Apart from the technologies I mentioned above, there are a few more that you would like to learn as soon as possible:
Civil law and religion
Civil law is a select ideology that propels your empire forward in Humanity. You will discover new ones depending on your generation of influence, as well as all territories that are in your sphere of influence. Religion also has a similar concept, except that it focuses on the generation of your faith and all the followers of your state religion in the population of the world.
The spread of your ideologies and state religion tends to be very passive. But this would run counter to the beliefs of neighboring empires, which, in turn, could lead to diplomatic consequences. We will discuss these factors in more detail in our separate guides related to civic principles / ideologies, faith / religious principles, and grievance / war assessments.
In the meantime, we move on to the next part of our series of guides on humanity to talk about ideal choices for the classical era, as well as information related to diplomacy, trade, free peoples and the early games.