This is a continuation of a series of guides discussing which cultures are the best in a couple of scenarios. We will only consider the highest difficulty, that is the Humankind difficulty, and playing against the AI. Since the last guide, I have won a Humankind game on the Humankind difficulty 4 or 5 times and I have around 120 hours in the game. Please take a look at the first guide in this series for a description of how the difficulty works on Humankind: ancient era best culture. We will first discuss the Industrial Era in terms of what is important and the context and then look at each of the cultures and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s discuss the industrial era. At this point in the game you can churn out quarters in your cities in 1 turn or less, but you have started to run into stability problems. You have around 6 or 7 cities, which is all you need to easily win the game. Most of your territories have now been attached and your cities have around 30 or 40 population. Your yields now come from quarters for the most part with population only providing a minor portion of your yields. You are actively engaging in diplomacy and trade and maybe even have a few alliances. You are way ahead of the AI empires and it is mostly a question of how quickly not if you win the game. Given this context, we’ll now discuss each of the cultures in the industrial era and their strengths and weaknesses.
First, we’ll discuss the expansionist and militarist cultures, which are the Zulu, Russians, Germans and British. The benefits from extra territories and cities are marginal at best so it is not worth attacking other empires unless you aim to take out every other empire in the game. Even if you are, nuclear bombs are far more effective than taking cities one at a time where you will run into city cap problems anyway. This means that its not worth picking any of these cultures in the industrial era.
Moving onto builder cultures, which are the Persians and Siamese, they were really good in the mid game but you are now more limited by stability than anything else and you already have plenty of production anyway. The Siamese’s Gilded Orchids trait is good, giving a decent boost to industry, but you can get a lot more industry from mass building makers quarters. The floating market is also not particularly good with only minor money boosts compared to what you can get from trade. The Persian’s Mighty Works is nice, reducing shared project and all constructible industry cost, but you can’t actually build many quarters due to stability problems anyway.
Now onto the cultures that are quite strong, of which there are quite a few in the industrial era. Starting with the Mexicans, the Fields of gold trait is good and the Hacienda is really good. It provides additional food to tiles producing food which can boost cities with a few harbors and farmers quarters by thousands of food. The Mexicans are only limited by that population is not that good in the late game because you can only grow 1 population per turn in each city and you have to find something to do for that population which can be difficulty even if you are building many quarters to provide extra jobs.
The French are good, even if they are not the best culture in the industrial era. The 10% science boost from Enlightened Thinking is quite good, although there are so many percentage based science boosts in the game that you won’t notice a big difference. The Exhibition hall is good, providing food per population, although it is not much better than a default research quarter with a good adjacency bonus unless you have a lot of population in a city.
This leaves the Aesthete cultures, both of which are quite good. Starting with the slightly worse culture, the Italians Inspiring Virtuosos is good, especially if you have built many commons quarters to keep stability under control. It provides extra stability on each commons quarter as well as reducing the cost of the commons quarter. The Teatro is also nice, giving you a little influence boost, although influence is not that impactful at this point in the game.
The Astro Hungarians are the strongest culture in the industrial era because of the opernhaus which gets stability per district addressing the main problem you have at this point in the game limiting the number of quarters you can build. If you have a few other stability per district bonuses, with a city of 5 or 6 territories this can enable you to build as many quarters as you want without any stability issues. The extra little bit of influence is also a nice bonus, although not that meaningful at this point in the game.
In summary, the Mexicans are an excellent agrarian pick, the French provide a nice science boost but the Astro Hungarians are hands down the strongest culture in the industrial era because of the special district that provides stability per district enabling you to build many more districts in all you cities.