Hegemony: Story, Gameplay, Experience
Hegemony: Story, Gameplay, Experience

Picture the following scenario: It is the 21st century and we are in a fictional nation somewhere on the planet. This nation is going through a difficult phase as countless external, as well as internal factors in the last centuries, contributed to an economic situation that is anything but prosperous.  Venture capitalists are hesitant to invest in this volatile economic climate as few opportunities for profitable endeavors present themselves. So, they rather take their financial means elsewhere, further fuelling an unprecedented economic decline. In effect, no new businesses emerge, and unemployment takes a heavy toll on society. Due to these reasons, a major part of the population is facing a low standard of living that has been stagnating for years. Obviously, this dynamic also spills over to the political sphere as more and more people are searching for a culprit to channel their anger onto. Inevitably, different social groups begin to accuse each other: Nationalistic movements are gaining momentum as certain groups blame migrants for the misery while others point towards the wealthy and their capital flight. Those, in turn, argue that strict labour policies disincentivize them as they lead to a lower rate of profit compared to other countries. In this atmosphere resentments against the state are growing as well, as all of them want to take different political routes and promote different policies. The nation seems to be trapped in a downward spiral and if things continue to go this way there will not be the slightest prospect for recovery…

In these tense times, you enter the scene as the representant of one of four socio-economic groups: The working-class, middle-class, capitalist-class, or the state, each of which depicts a different income layer of society. Your task is to revive the economy and reshape the political landscape to finally turn the tide for your people and bring forth a new era of wealth, prosperity, and political progress. However, each group’s agenda is distinct and aims for different things: The working-class is interested in a high prosperity and is employed in both the public and private sectors. The capitalist-class aims to generate a high profit and does so by producing goods and services through the creation of companies or by foreign trade. The middle class is somewhere in the middle as it features both aspiring capitalists (i.e., small- and medium-sized business owners) and workers (traditionally white-collar employees). Finally, the state must focus on the needs of all of the classes to keep its legitimacy high while also dealing with everyday crises.

The game goes on for five rounds, each of them containing an action phase, a production phase, and an election phase. The action phase is the core part of the game as it is the phase in which the players get the chance to pursue their agendas and apply their strategies, having six turns to do their actions: Those can be based on action cards or on basic actions (all of which are class-specific due to the game´s asymmetric nature). Mostly, the players will be forced to interact with each other economically as the success of each group depends to a certain degree on the actions of the others. For example, if the capitalists do not build companies, workers cannot produce goods and services (which takes place during the production phase) and, consequentially, will not earn wages used to enhance their prosperity. As a result, this leads to an overall economic decline for everyone.

Additionally, the players cannot solely focus on their economic relations, but they must also try to change the ideas on top of which the nation´s socio-economic framework rests. These ideas, once bundled together, depict the ideology they will try to propagate through political means like lobbying for certain policies, using public influence through the media, or exerting pressure on political actors. Finally, during the election phase, players vote for certain policies and try to turn the vote in their favor to change the state´s ideological alignment.

All of these elements create a highly dynamic game that stands out for a few reasons: First of all, the game provides the unique opportunity to be used as a testing ground (or as a simulation of some sort) for the political and economic implications of real-life policies. Secondly, it features a strong “role-playing” aspect as the players are forced to look at the game through the eyes of their class, having to communicate with each other to reach their individual goals. Thirdly, the game has a very high replayability value as on one hand, the playstyle changes drastically based on the faction you play, and on the other, as policies change, completely different scenarios take place on the board, making every game feel very different.

All of the above make our game unique, both in gameplay and vision and we are sure you will agree as soon as you try it out and dive into the world of Hegemony!

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