Review: Hegemonic – we will be alone in the universe!
Humanity is constantly looking for new ways to destroy other lives. Man must be the only and unique creature and are not respecting any principles of morality. Thousands of years have passed since the ascension of humanity to the stars. They conquered their galaxy, but its now starting to grow small. Insatiable human eyes are looking for other ways to plant their seeds to other worlds beyond our present understanding.
We can join them in their quest for colonization and conquest. Hegemonic board game is just about that. Its origin is rooted in the company Minion Games and hundreds of fans on the server Kickstarter (specifically thousand boardgamers). But none of this would have been possible, if it was not for the author Oliver Kiley, that figured it all out, along with a trio of illustrators Clay Gardner, Honoel Ibardolaza and Alex Skinner. Whole creation appeared on shelves by the end of 2013.
The game is hiding inside a dark box, which at first glance resembles the universe. And that exactly, what is waiting inside, including stars, aliens and many other things. Box is in fact such a hybrid between rectangular and square shape, making it easy to stand out on any shelf. Inside, player find ten boards, which together represent a map of the part of universe, which will be subject of interstellar fight. It looks like a small piece of space, but each of them (with the exception of the center one, which serves as an turn indicator) are fit with five major sectors.
Such sectors (48) are colored differently and give players places to explore and establish bases. Any such construction is represented in the game with beautiful miniatures of various shapes – cubes of factories, circular political embassies reminiscent of the city under the dome and also war outposts in the shape of a triangle. All are available in six different player colors, with which are colored also agents and primarily spaceships.
Also a set of action cards is prepared for every player, with name, rank, descriptions of available actions and limiting the number of times, it can be activated. Also 54 technology card are located in the deck, which can be played once for the numbers at the bottom or played as own improvements for the entire game. There is a choice of dozen cards of leaders, who are recommended only for more advanced players, because they require more skills and hence add interesting possibilities into the game. And then there are boards for players, on which you will record all necessary information for your faction. At first glance, there are lots of boxes and it all seems rather complicated, but it all refers again to three types of buildings (including the price for their construction and their income later), agents and space fighters. Listing will be finished by mentioning scoring boards and tokens of money.
At the beginning, players will play the gods and create the universe. Each number of players has its distinct starting distribution of boards, representing unexplored universe with core (turn counter) in the middle. Players then choose place for their home worlds, deploy one other sector they know and create joint menu out of few others. In addition, players will also prepare scoring board. Each participant chooses a color and acquires all the pieces in this color to his property, including the gaming board, where he spreads these pieces. One cube of each building is placed on player homeworld and players are dealt five cards from a shuffled deck of technology.
The game consists of many rounds, that are always divided into six stages. Now the token in the middle of game map shows phases as players are passing through them together. At the beginning, everyone always get income in the currency of CAP, which represents money in the universe of Hegemonic. The amount is determined by number of constructed buildings by a player and he simply deducts it from his board from the last empty column.
From starting player, everybody can start to expand. Players have chance to discover a new sector from draw pile. This results into offer of one more tiles, than is number of players. Galactic leaders can choose one of the sectors and attach it to any empty space on the map. Then is time for option to draw a new technology card and possibility to throw one away. Instead, players can also use one of cards and improving one technology by inserting card to one of three positions on his board. But first, they must meet the requirements of political, combat and production levels, as well as pay some amount of CAP.
Once all players have gone through this preparatory phase, it finally comes something, why everyone went into space at all. By using action cards from his hand (in the player´s color), three activation phases are done. First, each contender selects one of six cards and then based on initiative order (on cards) performs two activities from, what is the card offering. These can be offensive (destroying enemy units or factories), movement or building. But players can also carry out exploration of unknown sectors, invent or obtain finance with cards.
Each activity has its own name and description, which is a little more complicated. Sometimes, it allows you to move unit before the attack and players may not even do the attack. Type of action cards at the same time also determines type of assailant and type of its target. Thus, players are somewhat limited in their choices. Both opponents will determine their strength (for each type of unit or base differently), increased by potential of technology, political support and only then is determined the outcome. The attacker in case of success either destroys unit or occupies target base. In case he did not succeed, he loses his offensive unit.
Each round has its so-called arbiter, who can decide, for example about execution of actions, in the case that more players have t he same initiative numbers. Therefore, after the action stages, near end of the round, role of arbiter for the next round is determined. This will be the player with the highest amount of cash. At the end of each round thereafter follows scoring, in which players receive a reward for control of the galaxy represented by a group of sectors. Each player compares power and the amount of points is graded according to how players stands on a scale of control in the area (first, second,..).
Match to conquer known universe ends, when there are no longer sectors in drawing pile. At the end of that round comes end of the game, players earn bonus points for researched technologies and those, who amassed most victory points for control of territories becomes the ruler of an entire galaxy.
Hegemonic is a game, that really grows on you. First games are such a bland, as players do not know exactly, how to go directly for their goals. Reason is, that this game is definitely not easy. It has many interesting concepts, that merge into one big whole. And as such, it is really only suitable for experienced players, who are able to see a lot of tactical options. It is not easy to keep track of all bonuses and distances, that extend into the fight. And mostly: its not a war space game!
This is, where the other side of the Hegemonic is. It´s not that amazing space game, which will include ships and its dramatic duel. Instead, it´s quiet and gradually evolving abstract fun, only some of the players will appreciate. When they like to see their political efforts really expand across galaxies and in doing, they do not even need to pull the laser torpedoes out of their pockets.
There is absolutely no luck in this game. You pay for it with price in the form of a complex and for someone not very interesting fights. Even in tiles, that are placed on the board, players already know ahead, what will they find. There is no real exploration in the game. Yes, space without uncovering new and unknown sectors!
Likewise, another polarizing information is, that the game actually does not contain elimination of other players. Home sectors are safe. This is on the one hand good, because you are never pleased to see your civilization completely destroyed after a few hours of efforts. On the other hand, there goes a little spoiled impression and atmosphere of the game.
Essential information at a game of this magnitude is time span. And here has Hegemonic swallowed us, because everything here takes time. Thinking is an essential spice in Hegemonic. Thanks to this, three hours may seem short, but also long. It depends on whether you expect astounding battles or abstract battle for domination of the known universe. There is no luck and it must be some place, where it has its marks on the game. Due to the different distribution of map, game is fun even with two, but it significantly stretches with six. At that point, three hours are long enough, which clearly eliminates candidates to buy from anyone but true boardgamers. But even back to game two, which is rather close to chess impression. This is once again bound to whole mechanics.
An important part of the game is bargaining and negotiation of support. But it is up to the players, if they use it or whether they remain only on their side and fight for their victory alone. The game leaves all this up to them and does not force them into anything.
Processing and components is great. The game looks really amazing, all the pieces are clearly distinguishable from each other and are shining with colors. In doing so, it manages to maintain a true impression of the cosmic game. Wow.
Hegemonic is nothing more, than a really magnificent board game. But not one, that is filled with space battles. Rather, you sit in a quiet chairs as general, who must make all the decisions, but also properly consider them, before even speaking. After several games, it can quite wrap its fingers around you. If you let it. Its gameplay is excellent and everything inside is clicking. This game is simply a great choice for anyone, who likes the universe and its conquest, but at the same time should not be bothered by thinking and careful planning. Hegemonic is just waiting for you to pull it out of the vacuum to your shopping bag!
Review: Hegemonic – we will be alone in the universe!
Hegemonic is game trying to build a bridge between thoughtful European games and deliver to them at least touch of the atmosphere of dice-based games. This gets him into interesting positions, in which many players reject is as too slow. On the other hand, some Euro players will find it too long. And then there are players, who will be thrilled to have such tactical game. it is up to the players, if they can tolerate its otherness, discover great fun and enjoy struggle in the universe. Game is enriched with a number of interesting things, such as miniatures and leaders, offering interesting possibilities at every turn to all the generals. Although they have always given a clear choice, there is no easy decision, and some turns can be long. Overall, the game time is quite massive. The processing is excellent, beautiful box contains components and distributed game board looks pretty. Hegemonic is not for everyone and it is up to you, if you take this pet with your from space or not.
Reader Rating0 Votes
free choice in each round
interesting battles (chess-like)
excellent in all the number of players
leaders further expands the game
absolutely no luck
excellent crossbreed between thematic and abstract game
long playing time
not a space game full of battles and conflicts (subjective negative)
no exploration (players selected from sectors facing up)