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HEGEMONY review by Carl King

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Quick Look: HEGEMONY – Lead Your Class To Victory


Designer: Varnavas Timotheou & Vangelis Bagiartakis
Artists: Jakub Skop
Publisher: Hegemonic Project Games
Year Published: 2023

No. of Players: 2-4 (solo mode via an expansion)
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 90 – 180 minutes.
 
Find more info Here.
 
Main Game:

 

Your nation is in disarray, with an economy that’s failing and causing tension amongst the classes. You will take on one of four roles, namely The State, The Capitalist Class, The Middle Class or The Working Class in a card driven asymmetric boardgame, where each class / player will try to push their own agenda and ultimately earn victory over their class rivals.

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Review:


Rules & Setup:

Setting up the main game and player boards does take a little time, as there are a lot of pieces to put out, and not every player board is set up the same way, plus there are a lot of in game components to place close to the main playing area for all players to gain easy access to.

If you have players who have played the game before then they can of course set up their own boards etc., which will alleviate some of the burden of the set up process.

Each game round is split into several sections, namely;

  • Preparation Phase (skipped on the 1st round)
  • Action phase
  • Production Phase
  • Election Phase
  • Scoring Phase (end of round or end of game)

The rules are extremely well explained, and fully laid out in a concise and clear manner, with numerous pictures and diagrams of not only how to set up the main game and player boards, but excellent examples of each action you are able to take on your ‘turns’. 

There are explanations of the cards and symbols throughout the rulebook, and there are 2 player aid cards for each class which really do help players with each action option, and what each of these actions not only mean for you, but also if they impact one or more of the other classes.

In each round all players take 5 turns, playing a single card for each of their actions, carrying out either the text on the card itself, or using that card to take one of the available basic actions, clearly laid out on your main player aid. 

Either before or after this ‘main’ action you may perform a free action, which is again listed on your player aid, and these are generally totally different for each player, with only one or two being the same for the Working and Middle Classes.

Once every player has had 5 turns during the Action Phase, and is left with only 2 cards (these carry over to the next round) the next phase of the game begins The Production Phase, in which wages are paid, companies produce goods and services, the needs of workers are covered (food), check if an IMF intervention is required and finally players pay taxes to the State player.

Once this is all sorted, and if any new Bills were proposed (i.e. changes to the political agendas) then elections are carried out to see if these new proposals are adopted, which will then be in play for at least the next round.

After all the elections have been carried out and any board changes implemented, then the final part of the round is any player scoring is added to each players victory point total on the main VP track.

There are also ways to score points during the 5 player ‘turns’ but this only happens if certain actions are taken which cause individual player board changes, and thereby moving markers on these boards and immediately scoring points for that player.

At the start of rounds 2 – 5 each player performs their own individual Preparation Phase simultaneously, and their boards are altered / amended as instructed on their player aid.

The next round then follows the same sequence as before, until the end of turn 5 where scoring also includes any end game scoring for each player based on resources they have left, including money.

Victory points are added at this point and the player with the most is declared the winner, with tie breaks to determine this if one or more players finish on the same points total.

 

Theme and Mechanics:

The theme of being part of the political system, and playing as a specific social class, or as the State is one that may not appeal to everyone, but I must say that HEGEMONY is one of the best games I have played in many years.

It manages to accurately convey the struggles that each class, and the state itself faces on a daily basis, whether it be getting enough food, health and education to look after your ‘people’, or the struggles of owning and running companies where you have to balance out opening new ones whilst making sure you can cover the wages of the workers in the companies you already have, plus paying taxes to the State, whilst all the time also trying to  make enough profits to give you a decent amount of Victory points during each scoring phase.

The State player scores points by trying to keep each of the classes on an even keel, providing benefits for them to take, public owned companies to work at and health and education so they can improve the lives of their workers, all whilst also dealing with 2 major events each turn, and trying to steer the election track in their favour each round to score more points based on each one matching their current agenda card.

The mechanics meant that every action taken by a player had a distinct effect on the game, and the direction each future players turn took, for good, or bad.

 
Gameplay:
For all 4 players we thought the gameplay was excellent, and once we had all played a couple of actions we all grasped how the game worked, in particular the use of the cards,

There was a little bit of downtime on occasions, but this was the first game for all of us, and these were mainly checking how the card text specifically worked, or one of the basic actions, and some of the cards are explained in the back of the main rulebook (another nice touch)

For what looked like a complicated game once set up, it actually plays very easily and most boardgamers would I think grasp the action sequence pretty quickly, and some of our turns were done in just a few minutes, despite some of the actual game actions being made up of more than one thing for the player(s) to do.

 

Artwork and Components:
 The artwork / diagrams are excellent, both in the rulebook, and on the cards and boards, and the components are made from cardboard and wood, although we played with a set of upgraded components from Gamemaker EU which again just made the game ‘pop’ that little bit more on the tabletop, and the storage for these both during the game and after were from E-Raptor, and was the UV printed game insert complete with imagery from the game / rulebook, and this really did aid in keeping the playing area neat and tidy and every player knew exactly where in game resources were at any given time.

The game looks great, and the dual layered player boards are exceptional. 

 
The Good:

There has been a lot of ‘hotness’ surrounding this game since its release, and it  certainly lived up to all of it.

Excellent, smooth gameplay, every player action influencing the way the game progresses, and the general feel of the game make HEGEMONY an out and out triumph for me.

 

 
The Other:

If I had one gripe, it is the initial set up time, but as I said above, once you have players who have played before, they can greatly reduce this by doing their own thing as it were. 

I have also played the game solo, both as myself against one other class, and as the state against all 3 other classes and this too has been excellently thought out so that each class plays just as a ‘human’ player would, so much as they can do, and also proved invaluable in learning the game before teaching it to, and player with other human players, and I would thoroughly recommend doing that if you can.

 
Final Thoughts:

Is this game worth adding to your collection? Absolutely it is!

I purchased this after seeing gameplay videos and hearing good things on social media / gaming pages, and I’m glad I did, as this has gone straight into my top 3 games that I own.

My gaming friends all said they would play this again, and I hope that isn’t too far in the future.

 
After reading Carl’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting HEGEMONY – Lead Your Class To Victory is available for purchase. Check it out and get yours HERE.
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Check out HEGEMONY – Lead Your Class To Victory 
and Hegemonic Project Games on:

              
Disclaimer: Anytime you see a link to Amazon on our site, it is another way to get your product there for the normally listed price as well as a way to support Everything Board Games and everything we’re doing here, without paying any extra. We appreciate the support! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl King- Reviewer

Buyer / Estimator @ ABC Stainless, P’gh & owner of YouTube channel The Games Kingdom
See Carl’s reviews HERE.

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