I have decided to post this because I think a lot of the greatest issues of this game boil down to central IMO very flawed designs of the very basic economic system, and that connection is rarely made among various discussions about the game and how to improve it. I don't think it would be entirely impossible to fundamentally change this system, seeing how many strategy games have reworked their fundamentals during their life cycle with a benefit to gameplay. So I don't think this discussion is necessarily barren. The difficulty level I have played is 5th out of 7, and I have in no way optimized anything, mostly I have stumbled in the dark and hit game - breaking stuff accidentally. AI also randomly hits the hyper snowball against other AIs and human player if its lucky, so its not a matter of "good human player vs dumb AI" but a n issue of general game design. 1) The exploitation of tiles and population mechanics In civ games in order to actually use terrain yields you need population units. You only get tile's output when you put a citizen on that tile. This does make realistic sense: a newly colonized land is useless until you actually have people to use it to produce goods. This system makes yields of a city tied to its population, which is a soft cap on how great city yields can get on different stages of the game, due to the fact there are many boosts to pop growth coming with later eras. This also makes historical sense: no city before classical era had more than 100k (maybe 200k?) people, no city beforr industrial had more than 1m, and no metropolis before late 20th had more than 20m inhabitants. This is helped by Happines mechanic frm civ5 and Housing + District Cap from civ6. The max population of a city is de facto limited by tech era, and with this come some range of limitations of city's yields. This helps to balance the pace and limit snowballing. In Humankind you need just districts and infrastructures you extract yields, and to build them you just need production (which they also extract). That one yield rules all, and builder cultures rule all cultures. The more production you get, the more yields you get, and there are basically no limits. No demography and almost no happiness/city caps to limit anything. One culture may reach an absurd advantage in production output vs other cultures if it hits the right terrain and culture, and then everything snowballs with no limit in sight. This is made much worse by... 2) The territorial control Cities in civ can only work tiles they have reached with the cultural growth. You have to work and wait for that growth, or fasten the process with a ton of money, but anyway it's one more factor that limits yields of a singular city. There is also a hard cap of how much land can ever be extracted by a single city. I have always been annoyed at the ahistorical way borders work in civ, but I have to say, I prefer it greatly regarding balance than Humankind's alternative. In Humankind, once again, there are no limits in this regard. A single city instantly covers a **** ton of land in a region and is only limited by districts to exploit it (which are only limited by trivially easy to circumvent stability). But that's nothing. The real disaster to the balance lies in the fact you can add infinitely many regions to a single city. The cost of this is hilariously trivial; it's just the influence, which snowballs by itself and you get thousands of its stockpiles by the early medieval era. For that one time payment the city can instantly add dozens of tiles to its yield production, with no hard or soft caps, with no pop requirements, no administrative limitations, nothing. All % multipliers are also instantly applied and stack unto one another. The result is, it is incredibly easy to reach a state in Humankind when your city can build or buy any single thing in the game in one turn on the normal speed (3 - 5 turns for wonders construction), and at this moment all mechanics and challenge of the game break. There are no limits. Please keep in mind this is a failure of any sort of realism as well, when you can instantly and perfectly exploit gigantic areas with no people to work them. Far reaching consequences a) Due to the fact there are essentially no limits to how mighty a city can get in this game, in a lot of games some player, human or AI, eventually hits an event I call a Singularity. Your yields in a city or several cities skyrocket to the degree breaking game mechanics, making you a super snowball runaway nobody can catch up (except war - which is almost impossible to win against big enough runaway in this game), creating gigantic disproportioms between economic levels between players. Disproportions which are very hard to reduce due to the fact there are no limits for runaway economies, they just increase with no stop or slowdown, and the stronger they are the faster they increase (due to the fact the more territories and districts your city has the more it gets from every bonus modifier for the same cost). This is made even worse by the fame system, which essentially favours only Large Economies, so the larger economy you have - the faster you get fame stars, and have guaranteed best (usualy builder) cultures to take from the next era, making you even more OP. I say 'you' but AI also does it, so the AI that dominates classical era is almost guaranteed to dominate forever. In one of my first games, with almost no conquest involved, I have reached economy output larger than the rest of the world combined by the early modern era, and 10x larger than rest of the world in the modern era. I have never managed this level of snowball in my 1000 hours of civ5 - because this game had sensible limitations to growth. In other games its reverse, and you have no way of beating runaway AI which has insane economy and fame, because this is a problem wider than "challenge vs AI", it is a problem of fundamental balance. b) For all the greatness of Humankind's combat system, it is too ruined by the way economy works. Gigantic disparities of yields make some nations have much bigger armies than others, and ironically for all the greatness of HK's combat system it actually reinforces runaway untouchability. Unlike in civ, where it is easy to repulse larger armies (which are not that much larger) in very rough terrain, in Humankind it is very easy to blitzkrieg through anything just by the virtue of putting few armies next to each other and crushing everything via sheer numerical superiority. c) Due to the way city building in this game works, there are few cities on the map, which means you can very quickly siege down even large country if you just have numerical superiority in soldiers. That actually makes very limiting war/peace system a desperate balance necessity, which wouldn't be the problem if that system wasn't despised by seemingly like half of all people who played this game. "But Krajzen, isn't it realistic that there are no limits to growth?' As I said, historically there were "soft" tech limits to population density, urbanization, administration of large territories etc which made different IRL pre civilizatons not have THAT big differences in power levels when compared to how gigantic disparities can exist in HK between kingdom A and kingdom B. Civ's various methods of limiting city growth and modifier stacking are closer to reality than Humankind's medieval industrial superpower cities covering half of continents and increasing forever, orders of magnitude higher than their neighbors capitals. "What should be done in your opinion" Less radical take: Introduce various soft or hard caps to city economic growth on different stages of a game. More radical take: There is no way this game will ever solve extreme runaway and yield inflation problems if you can attach a lot of territories to a single city with 100% eficiency and no cost. There is no way to prevent a city eventually building everything in 1 turn as long as it can exploit so many tiles at once.