Humankind: Civilizations and cultures guide — Ideal picks for each era

Humankind Best Civilization Civ Culture Eras Emblematic District Emblematic Unit Traits

The different civilization/culture affinities in Humankind

Humankind has seven different affinities for the civilizations or cultures that you pick during your run.


Although each affinity has a particular gameplay focus that it’s good at, you’ll also notice some overlaps depending on a culture’s trait or uniques. For instance, a nation might be considered Expansionist, but some of its perks might provide boons to gold or influence generation as well.

Affinity and Symbol Gameplay Focus Unique Actions Unique Bonus Examples
Aesthete (star) Influence and diplomacy Cultural Blitz – Spend money to bring back a territory back into your sphere of influence. Gain influence from each adjacent territory that’s already in your sphere of influence. Grace – The Cultural Proximity value is always maxed out. For instance, you’ll only need to pay the minimum amount of influence or gold to bribe free peoples. Olmecs, Zhou, Mauryans, Franks, Edo Japanese, Ming, Austro-Hungarians, Italians, Egypt, Indians
Agrarian (wheat) Empire growth and population Greener Pastures – Spend influence to attract 1x population from each adjacent city or outpost. This causes neighboring empires to have a grievance against you for stealing their population. Community – +5 stability on a turn when you generate population. Harappans, Celts, English, Haudenosaunee, Mexicans, Brazilians, Turks
Builder (gear/cog) Industry and construction Land Raiser – Can set a city to “Land Raiser” mode – All money and science are converted into industry for 5 turns. Pride – +10 stability on a turn when you finish a district’s construction. Egyptians, Maya, Khmer, Mughals, Persians, Siamese, Australians
Expansionist (flag) Empire expansion (not necessarily through warfare) Under One Banner – Can annex another empire’s outposts or administrative centers; only one may be active at any given time.
Annexation requires you to have a unit on an outpost/admin center tile. You’ll spend gold and a few turns to complete the action.
Ambition – Lets you trespass through another empire’s lands even with Closed Borders active and without any health penalties. This will still generate a trespassing grievance against you. Assyrians, Achaemenid Persians, Romans, Teutons, Ottomans, Spanish, British, Russians, Americans, Soviets
Merchant (coin) Money and trade Power Investor – Use influence to instantly create an extractor on a deposit. Alternatively, you can target the extractor of an empire (gives money to both of you) or free peoples (counts as a bribe). Forward Trade – Resources that you purchased via trade can be purchased by other empires. Nubians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Aksumites, Byzantines, Ghanaians, Dutch, Venetians, Chinese
Militarist (crossed swords) Warmongering Iron Reserves – Instantly raise a militia army using a city’s population.
These militia armies can be used to attack or defend, and can be moved on the map. You can check our Classical Era guide to learn more about the Hunnic Horde Rush that uses this mechanic extensively.
Vigilance – +30 war support. Also allows Militarist cultures to declare formal wars without grievances or demands; makes it tougher for Militarist cultures to be forced to surrender. Hittites, Mycenaeans, Goths, Huns, Mongols, Aztecs, Norsemen, Poles, Germans, Zulu
Scientist (atom) Science and research Collective Minds – Can set a city to “Collective Minds” mode – All money and industry are converted into science for 5x turns. Foresight – Allows you to research techs that are one era ahead of the one that you’re in (research science costs and tech tree pre-requisites still apply). Babylonians, Greeks, Umayyads, Joseon, French, Japanese, Swedes

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At best, you’ll want to maximize the use of unique actions that are available to each archetype. You’ll see these unique actions when you have a city selected.

Likewise, consider how you’ll advance in each stage of the game. For instance, you should opt for Militarist or Expansionist cultures if you’re planning on warring with neighbors. But, if you want a little stability, you could go with Agrarian options (for population growth and churning out units/speeding up construction), or Scientist picks (to improve your tech research capabilities).

Anyway, the next part of our Humankind guide talks about the Ancient Era civilizations and cultures.

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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!