Humankind: Ancient Era guide — Cities, districts, and the Harappans

Humankind Ancient Era Guide Cities Districts Stability Harappan Runner Rush Feat2

The Ancient Era in Humankind

Humankind‘s Ancient Era is very crucial since you’re attempting to establish a foothold after your tribe’s exploits during the Neolithic Era.


From one era to the next

Anyway, once you’ve acquired the Era Star needed to progress to the Ancient Era, you can pick a unique culture. Our civilizations and cultures guide already discusses all the emblematic (i.e., unique) quirks that each culture has, as well as the affinities or archetypes that give more bonuses and extra features. Here, I’ll simply provide tips about my ideal picks.

As a rule of thumb, the cultures you choose have the following quirks:

  • Emblematic Units – Unique units that will remain present throughout the course of your campaign unless you obtain a direct upgrade. For instance, Harappan Runners can be recruited until you research the “Mounted Warfare” technology which makes the Horsemen replace the unit.
  • Emblematic Districts – These unique districts provide powerful bonuses, including adjacency boons. However, you can only build them during the current era.
  • Emblematic Traits – These perks will remain active throughout the rest of your game even if you change cultures in subsequent eras.

Note 1: You may also stick to the same culture by “transcending” in subsequent eras. You’ll receive a 10% bonus on all the Fame points that you acquire.

Note 2: Going from the Neolithic to the Ancient Era in Humankind only requires a single Era Star. In subsequent eras, though, you’ll need seven. You can obtain these through various actions such as attaching more outposts (Expansionist), having more population/units (Agrarian), killing opposing units (Militaristic), and the like. However, completing the tallies for your chosen culture’s affinity/archetype yields more Fame points.

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Ancient Era pick: Harappans – I am a huge fan of the Harappans in Humankind. The reason is that all other cultures will have Neolithic Era tribes turn into regular Scouts. The Harappans, meanwhile, will turn tribes into Runners (an extra combat strength and movement point compared to Scouts). While the Runners can’t go toe-to-toe with other Emblematic Units from other civs, they can easily defeat the Scouts that other factions have. Even better, they don’t require strategic resources to get trained.

If you play your cards right during the Neolithic Era, you can have over half a dozen Runners by the time you advance to the Ancient Era. These will let you do the “Harappan Runner Rush,” which, as the name implies, sees your Runners breezing through weaker foes. It’s actually possible to trounce a neighboring empire within 20 or so turns, springboarding you to the top of the leaderboards.

The Harappans also have other powerful uniques:

  • The Canal Network is an Emblematic Quarter (district) that adds +3 food, +3 food per adjacent Farmers Quarter, and +1 Farmers Slot in a city or outpost at the cost of -10 stability.
  • The Legacy Trait, “Fertile Inundations,” adds +1 food to all tiles that produce food, as well as +1 food to all river tiles.

Needless to say, the Harappans will help you grow your empire considerably at the early stages of the game and beyond. These quirks are vastly important since units require population and citizens can also be transferred to key areas (i.e., food, industry, money, and science).

Note: I would advise you to keep at least two outposts that aren’t attached to cities. I’ll explain more in our Classical Era guide.

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What about other cultures?

Beware, though, because the AI loves to choose the Harappans. After you acquire the Era Star during the Neolithic Era, you have to discern if it’s worth spending a few turns to have a Neolithic Era Legacy Trait, or if you want to grab the Harappans now. It really is a race against your opponent because a high-difficulty AI with a massive population will be very hard to stop.

Anyway, other decent picks during the Ancient Era include the Babylonians (+science), Olmecs (+influence), and Egypt (+industry). The Mycenaeans and Nubians get an honorable mention due to good units (the Promachoi and Ta-Seti Archers respectively). Also, the Zhou can help boost stability and their Emblematic Quarter adds science (though it’s very situational since it needs to be close to several mountain tiles).

Lastly, if you’re up against numerous opponents who already picked the good options (seen below), and you’re left with only the Phoenicians or Assyrians, it might be time to restart your campaign. I personally never found success when I chose those two since their capabilities were underwhelming.

All right, let’s go to the next part of our Humankind Ancient Era guide to talk about other tidbits such as cities, districts, and more.

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Jason Rodriguez
About The Author
Jason Rodriguez is a guides writer. Most of his work can be found on PC Invasion (around 3,400+ published articles). He's also written for IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, TechRaptor, Gameskinny, and more. He's also one of only five games journalists from the Philippines. Just kidding. There are definitely more around, but he doesn't know anyone. Mabuhay!