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My first 'won' session in Humankind, or alarming account of how extreme snowballing is in this game

Krajzen

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Humankind does many admirable things. It is beautiful, it clearly has a heart and soul put into it (those cinematics for new era and culture are great and narrator is dometimes unfunny but otherwise builds atmosphere very well), it has a great combat system, many very original solutions, and many great little touches I have always missed in civ (since medieval era new cities get instant bonus population in buildings, so they are worth it; artwork of techs and era transitions is multicultural, not just white men past classical era). It has IMO a terrible learning curve, interface, and rotating cultures bring some issues with the identity of yourself and opponents, but I kind of got used to it already. There are many small frustrating things, bugs and things I'd implement, but they are nothing too big to me.

What is big is that I have never snowballed as hard and out of control in any Civilization game as here, and that's very bad. I'm not sure what went wrong (or too well actually) - I have a Nation difficulty IIRC so like 4/7 - but I have absolutely didn't expect to dominate so hard in my first real attempt at this game, when I have no idea what am I doing half of the time and how mechanics work. I didnt even play betas after combat one, I was just asking the forum here the most basic questions regarding game mechanics. Maybe I hit some super rare jackpot or what?

Now, the important thing is, before you'll say 'well you should just try higher difficulties with better AIs', the problem is not that I have just crushed AIs (that too) but the game itself. To a degree that doesn't give me satisfaction but instead a powerful feeling thst something is fundamentally wrong with the game. Let me explain.

Here's the situation. I have played as Egyptians, Romans, Umayyads and then just began as Joseon. From the very beginning I was doing well, as Builder affinity together with a production heavy start had allowed me to build stuff, unlike during my first miserable game as Babylon. I have expected a 'good start' like sometimes in civ5. I did not expect to hit a freakin Technological Singularity by the early medieval age. The turn is 147, but honestly all this applied already to some degree since turn 100.
1) I have literally tens of thousands upon thousands of stockpiles of cash and influence, which make any choice involving those currencies, all narrative events, and new incremential sources of income - utterly insignificant. Like seriously, events and curiosites give me mow like ninety influence when I have twelve thousand.
2) In fact, I have hundreds of yields per turn everywhere. I can build and research everything in like 2 - 3 turns in every city. In my capital I have built everything possible already, and I am almost instantly building new suff from technologies. There is no even a point in doing this now, why bother with +5 production from a new building when I have like four hundred?
3) I have twice the fame of the best AI, 'much stronger' than it, the difference is increasing very quickly (I had it roughly equal just like forty turns ago)
4) The entire continent is my zone of influence. I have also beaten three cultures at once on three front war due to the fact I can basically spawn infinite armed forces instantly.
5) I am great in every category to the degree that I have filled my medieval era stars like a dozen turns after entering it and I could already go into early modern. As I have entered EM, some civs are in classical still.
6) I am so great in fact, that after discovering another continent all cultures beg me to be their friend as they feel greatly inferior.

Is this normal on Nation difficulty? :) Because it really shouldn't be achievable for an accidental first noob game, I have never dominated so hard in civ5 even at Prince, even with a ton of experience, even in my best starts and sessions (like "Poland + Lake Victoria + early wonders and CS")

I don't know what to think about this, because if I had to extrapolate from this session I'd have very bleak reflections on not even the balance but design of the game, if yields can get so much out of control that almost everything in the game loses its value because of sheer yield inflation. I mean, what's the purpose of developing anything if I have basically every need of my cities instantly covered?

I suspect the reason for this madness may be essentially unlimited amount of workable tiles for cities (due to the way regions and tiles work) and too slowly increasing cost of buildings and technologies. In civ5 tight mechanics of the game were acting as natural limitations - there were very few tiles, extracted by very few precious citizens, struggling to get (very few) buildings running; there was always a lot to improve and optimize, and next ages would bring few buildings but hard to establish in all but the very best cities. That's what I have kinda expected, it was an excellent pacing and constant challenge to grow. I have never felt too rich in civ5 even if I was richest civ in the world, there was always so much more to do, even on Prince.

What's the craziest for me is sheer contrast with my orevious Babylon game where I have felt I cannot build anything even after 60 turns, because I had no builder affinity and bad luck regarding terrain production yields. Back at the time I thought the pacing problem of the game is "too slow production compared to science", same as civ6. It seems the real problem may be an ability to exponentially skyrocket yields with barely any limits and struggle - if you manage to get out of the initial bottleneck (in which many AIs seem to be stuck forever).

Has anybody else experienced something similar?
 
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I suspect the reason for this madness may be essentially unlimited amount of workable tiles for cities (due to the way regions and tiles work)

That would go back to the stability system, which should be the limit and pacer of yield development. I think it's too generous currently. But I've seen some player complain vigorously about it in the final beta, when it was a bit toned down with luxuries being 3 stability each.
 
The safeguards preventing from such scenario are too weak, imo.
There is a city cap - but the penalty it gives is laughable if you are rocking hundreds of influence per turn.
Stability should be main stopper - again, penalties for quick expansion are too small.
Plus the buy-out mechanics is completely broken. I mean it is even unrealistic - you get districts and armies in 1 turn. No need to upfront thinking.
And last but least - everything is a bit too cheap in later eras. The first 2 are pretty well balanced then after approx turn 100 you start snowballing.

So, I would postulate for:
- bigger penalties related for a city cap
- bigger penalties for quick expansion
- buy out should be limited to e.g. some percentage maybe half of the cost
- stability should influence more fims, like linear penalty to fims
 
The safeguards preventing from such scenario are too weak, imo.
There is a city cap - but the penalty it gives is laughable if you are rocking hundreds of influence per turn.
Stability should be main stopper - again, penalties for quick expansion are too small.
Plus the buy-out mechanics is completely broken. I mean it is even unrealistic - you get districts and armies in 1 turn. No need to upfront thinking.
And last but least - everything is a bit too cheap in later eras. The first 2 are pretty well balanced then after approx turn 100 you start snowballing.

So, I would postulate for:
- bigger penalties related for a city cap
- bigger penalties for quick expansion
- buy out should be limited to e.g. some percentage maybe half of the cost
- stability should influence more fims, like linear penalty to fims

Honestly, I don't think harsher city cap would solve anything, I don't even go past it because I don't need more cities at all. I have hit the singularity already when I had just three cities, with the third being not very important, so essentially with two cities. In fact, I have a suspicion that the problem is exactly opposite. The fact that you attach multiple territories to a single city combined with lack of civ - style "to exploit tiles you need pops" means that a single city is completely unctrontrollable in how high its yields can get, and sooner or later it reaches the point when it has hundreds of production and food, so it can build everything instantly, so it reaches "singularity" when all its needs are infinitesimaly cheap to fulfill.

I think such extreme runaway would be immediately much less possible if there was one city per territory rule, as a singular city would have much less land to exponentially exploit and it would have to struggle much more with its initial infrastructure, financed only by its own territory and slow infrastructure growth, instead of very cheap hyper boosts of quickly attaching a new territory and having instant great yield flood. And every infrastructure boosts all those territories at once!

Another problem are luxury resources. Instead of being local yield bonuses that apply to one city, telatively cheap and instant access to them covers the entire empire at once and bonuses are multiplicative, making singularity even crazier.
 
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Well… there is an achievement Gigapolis (?) for making a city with 30 territories. Looks like OCC should be easy in HK :)
It‘s not easy per se, as influence can be troublesome until Ming, and you need a lot of that, but it‘s incredibly fun. All those per Pop and per territory districts… uuuh that‘s really district porn. makes me want to do it again.
 
Quick expansion should be limited by stability, just as @Elhoim mentioned. It is true that attaching more territories explodes fims, hence the need to have e mechnic that would make player to think if attaching is a good idea.

It‘s not easy per se, as influence can be troublesome until Ming, and you need a lot of that, but it‘s incredibly fun. All those per Pop and per territory districts… uuuh that‘s really district porn. makes me want to do it again.
Oh, this certainly IS going to be fun and I for sure will try it :)
 
I think such extreme runaway would be immediately much less possible if there was one city per territory rule

You can give it a try, but it's actually more OP jajaja

Basically, many of the stability bonuses are per city, so you'll have enough stability to fill every tile with a district. Also, district cost scales with the amount, here, by being low, you don't need as much industry, so you'll be filling territories with districts at 1 per turn. And 10 cities would produce things much faster than a single city with 10 territories, as they will be producing them simultaneously, vs a single queue. So you'll fill the map with quarters way more easily with single cities than with a mega one. Sure, local industry and food might be lower, but the global yields (money and science) will stack much higher.

And for the love of God, if there's something I never want to go back is managing lots of cities in a 4X :p
 
Snowball in my first/current game - Nation difficulty, after spamming Haudenosaunee Plantations in every territory (20-50 food each).

It seems like every era is a choice of which OP strategy you want to go for, and the skill is to pick the best one for your situation and then execute it well (spam those districts in the right places). Choice is about alternating F, I/M, S, or Influence focus to avoid bottlenecks which are the only thing slowing you down. If it's reasonably balanced and if the AI can play then that sounds really fun, but looking at AI district layouts I'm not sure it's going to do it well.

Spoiler :


 
Snowball in my first/current game - Nation difficulty, after spamming Haudenosaunee Plantations in every territory (20-50 food each).

It seems like every era is a choice of which OP strategy you want to go for, and the skill is to pick the best one for your situation and then execute it well (spam those districts in the right places). Choice is about alternating F, I/M, S, or Influence focus to avoid bottlenecks which are the only thing slowing you down. If it's reasonably balanced and if the AI can play then that sounds really fun, but looking at AI district layouts I'm not sure it's going to do it well.

Spoiler :



Where did you get this stats screen, at the end of a game?

You can give it a try, but it's actually more OP jajaja

Basically, many of the stability bonuses are per city, so you'll have enough stability to fill every tile with a district. Also, district cost scales with the amount, here, by being low, you don't need as much industry, so you'll be filling territories with districts at 1 per turn. And 10 cities would produce things much faster than a single city with 10 territories, as they will be producing them simultaneously, vs a single queue. So you'll fill the map with quarters way more easily with single cities than with a mega one. Sure, local industry and food might be lower, but the global yields (money and science) will stack much higher.

And for the love of God, if there's something I never want to go back is managing lots of cities in a 4X :p

You may be right. Maybe the problem is more general, that there is just too much of everything in this game - too much yields rising too quickly and exponentially with no limitations, too overpowered cultural bonuses like this Iroquis food, and once a particular nation hits the right spot - it flies away and no one can ever catch it.

A depressing thought I have is that this game seems even more runaway in its victory conditions than civ. In civ you have those several very specific victory conditions, and even if there is an empire dominating global economy, you can win against it with diplomacy, culture, religion, or optimizing science output. You can also invade someone to stop him, or use espionage, or buy off people to attack him.

In Humankind fame accumulates over the entire game basing on the very general "big empire" stuff, the bigger empire - the more fame it gets, you cannot win against it other than being the big empire yourself. And the most hilarious part is, as some reddit post pointed that out, you can lose the game against dead empire with a lot of fame, so you literally can't stop runaways past some point. The only way to stop runaway here is to become a bigger bully yourself very fast.
 
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There are some fundamental things wrong with the game. Things like stability certainly should cause more issue. I was playing to get 3 aesthete stars in each era… try it. It’s not so simple and you need to keep stability high. And after all the wargamers just roll it all up, there should be revolts, when you are faced with troops behind you that are stronger than the enemy you start to think harder about what you are doing. This should not be a game about face rolling all over the maps with elephants, there is no domination victory conditions… and even Rome ran out of decent people to man the empire.
Golding everything is a giveaway, even before I played it was the first thing I read and my first response was…. There is a reason in civ that you cannot buy districts. The trade routes for gold thing is just OP. Happiness and diplomacy are enough, not moar money as well, surely, but no.
The % they use is a step back, once again, look at civ, they learnt… not many % benefits, carefully used and toned down as well in patches. This area is a hard snowball.

it’s like they have built a beautiful game with good mechanics and just have said do anything and have lots of stuff if you do this. OP is fun!

I have 100% avoided playing gold in my games bar in one era I took the Dutch. That was enough for me but even then, playing aesthete, it’s a harder game but snowballing science is just too easy and that’s a killer part that gives you more cities, OP armies, more snowball effect, everything… so science … and Egyptians just rock…. So it’s not about one area… it’s the % and the stability and spamming districts. But I hope they do not reduce stability buildings they have, or the aesthete gameplay will suffer and I am enjoying that, it feels better than the other ways having to keep to 91% stability but buying OP troops in the thousands must be fixed.
 
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Where did you get this stats screen, at the end of a game?

Yep, save and Resign Game and you get the stats graphs.

But I hope they do not reduce stability buildings they have, or the aesthete gameplay will suffer and I am enjoying that, it feels better than the other ways having to keep to 91% stability but buying OP troops in the thousands must be fixed.

If stability can be fixed just by building more building/districts then it's just an additional I/M cost for building/expanding, which is a non-issue if you have enough I/M, which it's very easy to get from Medieval Era. It's a very small braking effect rather than actual limitation. Maybe it needs some hard caps on stability buildings able to be built, so that large cities are dependent on resources / trade partners / wonders. I like the idea that things could collapse very quickly if you lose a couple of key trade partners or have your new world resource links plundered etc, but at the moment it seems like if that happened you could just 1-turn build a few extra stability districts.

Golding everything is a giveaway, even before I played it was the first thing I read and my first response was…. There is a reason in civ that you cannot buy districts. The trade routes for gold thing is just OP. Happiness and diplomacy are enough, not moar money as well, surely, but no.

I've barely used Money.. after Medieval Khmer Baray spam (+50-odd Industry each territory) every city can 1-turn build everything with production and I have permanent overflow...
 
If stability can be fixed just by building more building/districts then it's just an additional I/M cost for building/expanding, which is a non-issue if you have enough I/M, which it's very easy to get from Medieval Era
Exactly… from the Medieval. The game is OP from that point. Ancient and classical are where it’s trickier. But even then, just get the luxes, they are broken too, severely.

Maybe it needs some hard caps on stability buildings able to be built,
The luxury stacking seems to be the main issue. Once again, civ has learnt the lesson but not HK.

and I have permanent overflow..
Exactly what I found, a tonne of gold = troop spam.
 
I agree, the balance is completely out of control. And reduced the choices you have to make.

They should need to limit number of territories to connect to a city, limit number of districts and not let you buy them.

Change trade with Luxuries and Resource work, everything scales way to easily throwing the balance completely off.

I think it needs a lof of work, the game has lot of potential, but not sure what they where thinking with these mechanics.

Back to a flawed CIV6 but way more balanced.
 
In my first game I think it's the same, though not as severe, because I know almost nothing about the game. Anyway, stability didn't give me the challenge that the designers/developers thought it would.
Personally, I think ideology should be linked to stability so that when you make decisions that change the direction of ideology or move it very far you get amounting stability problems. And also significantly raise the costs of covering for the events.

In any case, it's not unrealistic given human development that we see nations doing really really good and some struggling heavily. The problem is that it's just too easy to be among the really good ones (or the game is light on you the first time you try it)
 
@Don Andre Stability IS linked to ideology. When you are in the middl on the axis, you get +10 to stability, when you are half-way to one of ends, you get only +5 and when you are at the end, you get 0. So, the idea is that the more you „radicalize”, the less stability there is. The idea is good, but again - the penalties are too weak to be actually meaningful.
 
My experience so far is that Stability might as well not exist. Even if you never build any Commons Quarters and spam districts everywhere it feels permanently locked at >90%. I've gone up to Civilization difficulty now and this is still the case. It's insanely forgiving and it just enables this district spam snowball effect to take place until your yields go completely out of control at which point you can do whatever you want. I feel like they should probably triple the Stability requirements for expansion or something because currently it's nowhere even close to high enough to be relevant

Also being able to substitute industry with money for everything except special projects is a bit weird. I'm not sure exactly what the best fix is for that but there should be numerous options. I don't think being able to buy districts is really needed in the first place, and while I think it's okay for units per se, there should probably be a cooldown for that or something because being able to instantly recruit a full army somewhere is a bit silly. Total War Three Kingdoms had the same issue with how its retinue system worked and it made mid-late game wars very mindless as you don't have to care much about positioning anymore since you can immediately summon an army wherever you want

I also don't think you should be able to buy resources this easily. Most AI factions will at least accept luxury trading even if they don't particularly like you and then you just have free reign over all of their resources for a simple one-time fee. I think there should be a continuous upkeep cost of maintaining a trade route over time, and it should probably be linked more to diplomacy as well instead of just letting you do as you please with other factions' resources. Maybe give it an influence cost as well depending on your relations or something

Edit: Oh and also I don't know what's going on with religion but it feels like the entire world is converting to my religion just by me building some holy sites and then leaving it be. Seems very weird
 
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@Don Andre Stability IS linked to ideology. When you are in the middl on the axis, you get +10 to stability, when you are half-way to one of ends, you get only +5 and when you are at the end, you get 0. So, the idea is that the more you „radicalize”, the less stability there is. The idea is good, but again - the penalties are too weak to be actually meaningful.
maybe it should be a percentage of the city stability yield, like +10%, 0, -15%.

same for events effect.
 
Game has a big potential to be great but at this moment is all about production. All you need is production focused civics, everything else like science, gold and other will just happen. And important tip: in neolitic era put your tribes on auto survey and split them when they grow. AI seems to know where to scout for bonuses and what is more important: it knows if/when they will respawn.
 
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