As the first alpha test phase of Hegemonline continues, things have gotten pretty interesting, to say the least. While some players’ nations have endeavored to remain neutral and peaceful, supporting mercantilism and free trade throughout the world, others have taken a more direct approach and become imperialist states. The Alliance Treaty Organization (or ATO) was established by the leadership of two states — the Empire of Marantos and the Kingdom of Isulethia. Initially, they had formed a previous organization that was designed to move into anarchic, unoccupied territories and provide order and governance. They were feeding the poor and keeping the peace (these lands being ones that players quit managing and left unclaimed after a while). In time, though, they grew into an organization that used its new colonial possessions to feed its military machine and move in on those who were attacking others, often keeping the lands for themselves.
In time, the situation arrived where the ATO would be developed under the guise of maintaining peace and order, but any state not submitting to them would be fair game for takeover. My country, the Marquisate of Damcyan, was a neutral nation that was far away from the core of the ATO. However, one day, the Duchy of Tefcorn moved in and started attacking the Republic of Aquaria, taking its pieces one by one. Damcyan moved into the region to protect Aquaria and stave off the foreign invaders, but somehow this “defense” of Aquaria was viewed as a direct assault on Tefcorn, who in turn continued their advance and ultimately got Marantos and Isulethia involved, crushing the republic (Aquaria is in bright-green on the image above, Damcyan is orange, Marantos is yellow, and Tefcorn is the beige colored state).
The conflicts that ensued though have shown me a few balance issues with the simulator aspect of the game. For starters, it is a tad too simplistic. Each hexagonal territory yields $700 in tax revenue daily, and this revenue can be used to purchase food to feed troops, produce other goods, or even launch attacks on other nations covertly. One way to game the system, however, is to take over a region, withdraw most of your forces, and leave one military unit to keep the area under your command and reap in the rewards. This allows a state with a sufficient military machine to steamroll through other lands, take them over with one or two large units, and then leave one unit there to maintain order. So, I have suggested that the game’s designers consider putting in a population factor for a nation. For example, each territory would have a random amount of starting population, and this might change if you can establish cities and other things if you have resources. You’d then need to designate how many people joined the army or became farmers or researchers, which in turn would help decide the path of your national development.
Covert operations need to have their price be determined by the distance from the launch site to the area being attacked, as otherwise it’s far too easy to take over distant territories through the raw use of money. There are many other things they can add, but this is simply the alpha stage. Right now, the crux of the fun actually lies in the forums, which simulate a United Nations environment. People can discuss ongoing diplomatic crises, offer terms of surrender or alliance, or just get to know each other. It’s actually a really cool thing, though perhaps at this point not fully unique from some other systems out there.
Anyway, this game is still in its infancy, but if you are interested in joining, send them a message on Twitter and they’ll be happy to accommodate you!