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Hegemony: Power to the People!

Hegemony Board Game
Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory board game, published by Hegemonic Project Games

Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory, a sprawling asymmetric real-world simulation of a board game published by Hegemonic Project Games, attempts to boil down the concepts of Capitalism, the Working Class, the Middle Class, and the State into a board game experience unlike any other.

Designed by Vangelis Bagiartakis and Varnavas Timotheou, the Hegemony board game is very quickly and obviously recognizable as a passion project. It is evident that every design choice was intentional, from the mechanics all the way through to the production itself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Hegemony.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into Hegemony!

Hegemony Gameplay

The Hegemony board game features four different factions, all vying for political positioning and wealth in a contained ecosystem of cardboard, while also being somewhat cooperative because no entity can fully succeed without the others. It can be played with just the Working Class and Capitalist class, which I’d consider to be the main core of the game, but many of the design choices come through when playing with a full table.

Each role has their own agenda, be it making money, employing workers, starting businesses, or passing legislation, but none of these exist in a vacuum. The gameplay loop itself is fairly straightforward: each round players are taking turns to play a single card from their hand. These cards can either be played for their card effect – if the requirements are met – or else they can be used to take basic actions. And these basic actions are not something that you can really ignore; they are actions that must be done to move yourself closer to victory.

After these cards are played (two left in each players’ hand), then the Production phase begins where Companies make goods, Workers make money, Needs are hopefully met, and the ever-churning engine of society grinds forwards.

But this brings to one of my favorite aspects of the game, where the players vote on Policies utilizing a bag-building mechanic. Cubes are pulled at random after players have denoted whether or not they want to be in favor or opposed to the proposed legislation. At this point, it isn’t quite yet time for the policy to go into effect or not; players can still spend valuable influence cubes to sway the vote further in either direction. In secret.

Oh how I love it.

Then we get around to some scoring and then everything happens again, with more points being tacked on at the end of the game as well. Again, each faction scores in their own way, either based on where policies sit, organization of the workers, and whether or not there is money to be made at competitive rates. If it all seems overwhelming, that’s because it is; each faction has their own guide to assist them in making decisions but the game itself is a lot to take in.

Staking Our C.L.A.I.M. on Hegemony!


Alright, so I mentioned at the top that the Hegemony board game is definitely a passion project where corners were never rarely cut in the production. Everything about the components feels deluxe – screen-printed meeples, linen-finish cards, woven bag, cardboard money. There is nothing cheap about it at all.

The individual player aides are absolutely necessary and will constantly be referred to all game long. As for the board, it’s massive so make sure you have a large enough space to play. It’s almost surgical and sterile how structured the board is, primarily serving as a guide for all of the cards and workers that will be placed upon it in the turns to come.

As far as the rules, layout and presentation is particularly important for sprawling games like Hegemony. There’s actually a lot of white space on the tops of new sections, but despite the multitude of text present there is visually enough separation and highlighting to make it more parse-able and digestible. It cannot be overstated how important this is to assist in learning a game that is marked as a two-hour experience but can easily push double that, especially on the first playthrough.

Hegemony Board Game


Strategy in the Hegemony board game is initially directed for you, but you’ll have to figure out the best way to play your cards and take appropriate basic actions to figure out how it works. Generally speaking, you can figure out that from a Policy perspective, the Working Class wants to be more on the left and Capitalists on the right, with the Middle Class somewhere in the…middle.

I didn’t particularly care for the State mechanics that much, mostly because they seemed really straightforward. Is there decision-making? Yes. But there is less flexibility in the structure for the State it seemed when compared to the other roles. For example, the Working Class can lead Strikes or Demonstrations that can have an impact on the other players, leading to a much more interesting decision-making space.

That being said, I really like how you can play cards for basic actions or for the effect. Because of how Policies work, you could end up with some unplayable cards that you can either choose to save for future rounds or you can just burn them for the basic actions instead. This decision could tear you apart inside (Lisa); you’re only carrying over two cards so the others have to be used in some capacity or another.


Visually, the Hegemony board game is presented in a clear, concise, contemporary kind of way, accompanied with an air of minimalism. The primary iconography, especially when it comes to the various groups, is color-coded and distinct, as are the various resources and currencies. The art on the cards clocks in as pseudo-realism, which is in line with other weightier games like Ark Nova or Terraforming Mars. This definitely lends itself to a game that feels more grounded in reality, enhanced even more so by the subject matter.

While playing the game, the names of the cards really tend to hardly matter anymore, and players will find themselves carrying more about the color of them. This also plays into a critique of mine that the board just feels too big and cluttered with a lot of stuff. There could always be more to the game, but there’s a lot of fiddly manipulation of the workers between laying them down and standing them up. Since they’re standing on cards, it’s relatively easy for them to be knocked over if the table is bumped inadvertently.

From a usability standpoint, however, the layout of everything is top notch and remains intuitive and segregated into specific areas, which cuts down on the mental load required to play the game.

Hegemony Board Game


Hegemony Board Game

Just to head off this section at the pass, the Hegemony board game is not for the faint of heart or for people looking for a quick experience. To me, it almost seemed like the core mechanics of the game were built in a spreadsheet; there are tons of resources to manage and they’re all dependent on each other in a way that would be impossible to manage without some kind of underlying mathematics.

If you like chunky, meaty games were you can assume the role of a unique faction, then by all means, Hegemony might be the game for you. It’s less gamey than something like Root while still offering that hearty bit of crunch that Leder Games tends to offer; the real-world analogs make Hegemony seem more like a lesson in interactivity of society, albeit sometimes in an abstract and boiled-down kind of way.

It’s not the easiest game to teach, mainly because of the asymmetry, although I found myself really wanting to try out the other factions to see how they operated. Having a fundamental understanding of how they all work is important to putting together a good gameplan, which adds a decent chunk of time on top of the teach.


When gathering a group to play through Hegemony, you really want to find people who are ready to be invested in perhaps a five-hour affair. It can be a lot to take in initially, but there are some really great videos to help you learn the game that I recommend watching ahead of time. Peaky Boardgamer helped immensely in this endeavor, so give this a watch!

As a whole, the mechanics tie in fairly well to the theme, especially when considering what the actions are all representative of. There’s an elegant sort of ebb and flow that comes with Policies, worker assignments, and making use of your group’s abilities. For example, consider the usage of Trade Unions for the Working Class, which offer additional Influence, analogous to unions offering a louder and more prominent voice to their members.

There are plenty of examples of this in the game, and it helps to offset some of the things that tend to happen, like taking out Loans to cover other Loans or the Working Class having way more money than they know what to do with. It is difficult to balance out everything in a game of this scale, so there are bound to be things that you’ll have to suspend your disbelief on.

Hegemony Board Game

Hegemony: Passion Bleeding Through!

It is increasingly rare these days for me to play a board game as heavy as Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory. I think the last one was probably ZhanGuo? Hegemony was even more difficult to get to the table, but if you can find a group that is interested in the theme and wants to commit themselves to playing it, then it’s certainly worth playing multiple times. I’ve said multiple times that this is a heavy game with a lot of posturing, but I found the election mechanics to be really engaging which helps bring some of the more fiddly parts of the game.

It is clear that Hegemony is a work of love, nurtured and molded from the ground up to be the best version of itself that the designers hoped for. I’ll take a game like that – filled with passion and emotion – any day.

You can pick up a copy of Hegemony from Hegemonic Project Games directly, from Amazon, or better yet – your FLGS!

[Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Hegemony from Flat River Group in exchange for an honest review.]

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