This guide will give you a barebones on where to place your cities and when you should consider building new ones.
Guide to Build Your Cities
Introduction and General National Structure
Welcome, one and all!
A lot of you will be coming from civilization, where cities have a related but yet different function than what they have in Humankind. In this guide, you’ll learn that while cities are still your centers for administration, they are definitely NOT your centers for anything else. This came from many, many restarted games and taking the time to get it all done and figured out.
First and foremost: You are truly making a nation here, not a conglomeration of cities with nothing in between them of note save for strategic resources. You are the Federal level. You give direction to your nation, run its military, engage in diplomacy, and tell the state level what to do.
Underneath you are your states. These are your annexed territories that appear as a solid [Insert Your Color Here] on the map. Each one of these states will have a city, which serves as the capitol of that state. It’s what you found, name, and build your infrastructure in. They give direction to your citizens and let their virtual lives run by.
Finally, you have your territories. These are the places you’ve put an outpost down at and can be fought over freely by anyone you don’t have a non-aggression treaty with.
Your first city, your capitol! The place where either your palace or your parliament house will sit way in the future, but for right now is needed to make sure your people can eat, work, and enjoy themselves. If you don’t want them to enjoy themselves by putting your head on a pike in front of the chieftain’s hut to warn the next guy not to do what you did, there are a few things you need to consider.
First, this is going to be one of the few times when you’ll be looking at a city that needs to generalize its primary territory. With that in mind, when you go to place your outpost to leave the Neolithic, you need to have as close to even Food and Industry as possible. If you have to choose, though, pick the outskirts of an industrious area that has a nice food plot right next to it.
When your outpost is established and you’ve picked your first culture, build two things: Food and Industrial districts. If you have more industry than food in your startup area you should build a food district first, and vice versa if you have more food. Grow out from there, letting your population and industry grow, using your infrastructure to grow your influence.
While your capitol is growing and maturing, always be eyeing good territories nearby. Claim them when you are able. You’re going to be a city-state for a while, so use this opportunity to plan specializations for the territories you claim. Put your outpost in a section with a lot of industry for example, or a lot of food. Start planning because these are going to be your small towns of the future.
Finally we come to the part that I have seen trip up many people: Annexation of territory. After several dozen new games and territorial expansions I’ll tell you this: If you’re planning on putting a city 2 territories over from an existing city, stop right there and don’t do it. You have a limited amount of cities you can have in Humankind, but not so much with claimed territories. Putting them too close to each other is a no-go, as it will mean you can’t expand very much and be able to hold on to what you’ve got, and merging two cities together is Expensive.
Another thing, if you’ve got a territory that has primarily got industrial or food tiles in it, this is not a good spot for a city. It is, however, absolutely ideal for adding to an existing city’s territory. You can use your outpost to claim a very productive spot for either food or industry and annex it into a state by attaching it to the state’s capitol city. This will let you get a factory, farming, trading, or scientific ‘town’ going by building those districts there after annexing the territory.
Remember: Your cities are going to start off as jacks of all trades. Your outposts are going to be specialized. Keep that in mind and you’ll do great.
A New City
There will come a point where you will need to build a new city. It’s not an if, it’s a when. You can control an entire continent by attaching all the territories to a city, but the instant someone invades on the other side of the continent from your city, you’re going to lose half of it before you can send reinforcements.
See, Humankind is designed in such a way that your cities are the administrative hubs of their states. There will come a point where you can merge cities together, though it is expensive. So, if you’re in a rivalry with a neighbor in the ancient and classical eras, don’t be afraid to put a city three territories away from your capital to put a buffer between it and them, or to make a troop production and spawning area nearby. Later on, when the enemy is dealt with and you are expanding across the continent, you can merge that city with your capitol’s state and free up one of those badly-needed city slots.
By the time you are starting to make a new city, you may have found a spot with good food and industry and have said to yourself, “Ya know, this spot would be great for a new city.” and plopped an outpost on it. If not, look for spots similar to what you used to setup your capitol. Good food and industry. Not great on one and lousy on the other. After the city is built, feel free to expand out its state and repeat what you did with your capitol.
Cities of the Future
I’ll end this guide with this: Don’t rush into building all your cities. Just because you have the ability to put down another doesn’t mean you absolutely need to. Take your time and make sure you’ve got the best possible spot for your city before you put it down.
Another thing: This is not Civilization. You won’t have to deal with eons of old buildings getting built and population growth for a city built later in the game. At certain points you will come across very useful techonologies such as Feudalism. These technologies make it so each newly founded city has some population to it and, most importantly, all of the infrastructure buildings in specific technology eras already built and ready to go.