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Three Moves Ahead Episode 125 – The Friendliest Phillipic

July 14th, 2011 by Rob Zacny · 62 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


Troy and Rob are over the moon about Longbow’s Hegemony: Wars of Ancient Greece, and invite programmer and writer Rick Yorgason to the show so they can ask that timeless question: “How awesome is your game?” The three go into detail on the game’s simplicity, its superb camera controls and artwork, its integrated and effective tutorial, and the compromises and adjustments Longbow made to the design along the way. Then Rick says there are two copies of the game available to loyal 3MA listeners, and Troy promises to award them randomly to two people who leave comments on this episode. Deadline for comments is Wednesday, July 20th.

Troy’s Review

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62 Comments so far ↓

  • Wolfox

    I already have the game, but unfortunately haven’t played it yet (though I have the feeling that I’ll have the biggest urge to play it as soon as I finish hearing the podcast), so consider me out of the “award pool”. In any case, it’s very good to see good indie games so frequently talked about in Three Moves Ahead – that’s one of my favorite things about the show.

  • Scott

    This game really does sound amazing from what you guys have talked about. How can I say no to a chance to win a copy?

    Wish i could talk more about something relevant instead of just writing an unapologetic entry post. Oh well, this game really does sound neat.

  • Disobedientlib

    Thanks for another great podcast. Was great hearing some insight into this game. I wish I’d pulled the trigger on it when it was on sale (on D2D or Steam?) a few weeks ago. I took a class years ago on Alexander (and concentrated on ancient history) but I was most intrigued by his father. This game, based on the reviews I read, intimidated me a bit by it’s complexity, so I held off on it.

  • chouzar

    Great podcast, played “Hegemony: Philip of Macedon” but not the expansion; I liked the presentation of the game, it loads once and you can start playing a whole campaing, it is surprising how balanced the pace of the game is given the enourmous map.

    Almost two years ago while playing “Empire: Total War” I was thinking if that game could be done completely in real-time, with a zooming feature “a la Supreme Commander”, RUSE was announced (and showed an impressive rendering technology with great detail), but it still was not a “campaing” of its own.

    I think Philip of Macedon worked hard to get that feel. Is not a perfect game but is a rewarding experience.

  • Edward Damon

    This game sounds really interesting, specifically the importance of movement, positioning and supply. Far too often (see EUIII and Rome: Total War), you have to play hunt the army, with basically zero ability to inflict damage on a foe short of smashing the army or sitting around for eons.

    Also, it’s nice to hear about a game that handles the problems of empire building without having endless, pointless, suicidal peasant revolts (See Victoria II and EUIII) that pose basically zero threat to an empire.

  • Sean

    Another fantastic podcast!

    I am really enjoying the recent inclusion of all these in depth developer discussions; they make TMA an immediate listen for me.

    Looking forward to checking Hegemony Gold.


  • Hell-Mikey

    Is this the first time we’ve heard of Goodfellow’s Quadrant? I’m referring to Mr. Goodfellow’s delineation of the distinction between media which are accurate and media which are true. This seems to be an especially useful tool when discussing strategy games. We hear on this podcast that Hegemony lands squarely in the True and Accurate quadrant . Perhaps we will find that SMAC lands in the Fantastic and True quadrant (the truth is strategy is all about people). It will also provide a handy way to classify the terrible domain of the rivet counters, the Accurate and False quadrant (though perhaps there are some quasi-sims in this space, where the technical details are accurate, but you engage in many more conflicts than are appropriate). Don’t scorn the Fantastic and False quadrant, because it’s the land of engaging exercises in formal systems, like RUSE.

  • Troy

    I like the Goodfellow Quadrant or Goodfellow Matrix…the idea isn’t original with me however. I’m sure I read it somewhere.

    And I totally agree that games can be totally fantastical and amazingly fun. Not every game or movie aims to truth or accuracy – if they make even a couple of steps in that direction, though, it’s hard to resist the urge to punish adding, say dragons or answers to theodicy.

    But I would play a tactical RPG in the Xena universe.

  • MrFlopster

    Really enjoyed Philip of Macedon and can’t wait for Wars of Ancient Greece to finish downloading.

  • Kalle

    Hegemony is the most interesting new strategy game design I’ve seen in years. I love it almost unreservedly. My biggest wish for a sequel would just be a dynamic campaign where enemy factions actually wage war on each other without player input.

  • Grobstein

    You guys are selling this game so hard and I am eating it up.

  • Rob

    Wow, says a lot about bad marketing. This is a game I’ve seen a few times but always dismissed as a cheap TW knock off considering I never really heard more about it. This podcast more than proves me wrong and the game sounds bloody brilliant.

    Real pity more people haven’t heard of it, I know I would likely never even have looked at it twice if it wasn’t for this podcast. Now to hope they manage to get the gold version up on Steam soon enough. Can’t believe how this managed to slip under my radar until now.

  • Darren

    Love the podcast. This is the only podcast I listen to now-a-days. :) Would also love the chance to win a copy of Hegemony.

    I have to ask, is Rob pronouncing the game correctly? I always thought it was supposed to sound like ‘hedge-a-money’ but the way Rob pronounces it sounds like he is about to launch in a rendition of Chim-chimmeny from the old Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie. :)

    The style of the game reminds me a lot of the old Slitherine Sparta game. Used to love that game in its day.

  • Riso

    I feel exactly like Rob about this game.
    Heard about it, but dismissed it quickly.

    Now I’ll have to give it a serious look after all.

  • Ginger Yellow

    Picked it up last night and I’m enjoying it a lot so far, though I’m still trying to work out some of the mechanics. I seem to be having a bit of a food squeeze in parts of my empire.

    I love the ebb and flow rhythm of it – much more interesting than the usual steamroller. I can’t remember if you discussed this game in your podcast about strategy games allowing the player to fail.

  • Paul (@princejvstin)

    I’d love to try and win a copy of the game.

    I’ve been looking for another strategy game, something grander than Frozen Synapse (which I was turned onto by Three Moves ahead, as it so happens). It looks absolutely beautiful.

    And when is Hegemony Gold going to be available on Amazon.com?

  • MikeO

    I played the demo, but never bought the game. I’d like to give it another shot, if I can find the time. It’s certainly more compelling than yet another standard RTS game. The map is, as Troy says, awesome.

  • Troy


    Yep, huh-JEM-muh-nee is the proper pronunciation. For Greek words (and this is a Greek word), keep in mind that you usually put a strong emphasis on the third to last syllable.

    SOC-ruh-teez (Socrates)
    duh-MOS-thuh-neez (Demosthenes)
    thur-MOP-uh-lye (Thermopylae)

    But even knowing that, it’s easy for English speakers to just look at Greek root word and impose our own pronunciation rules and break it altogether, which is how we end up with people say EP-uh-toam instead of ee-PIT-oh-mee (epitome).

  • Ben

    Thanks for the heads up on this game. Downloading the demo now.

    I like apparently many other posters had let this fly under the radar. I had heard of it but dismissed it. Too lazy to google, did it come out about the same time as StarCraft 2 and get overlooked?

  • Ginger Yellow

    It only got so-so reviews on release, but apparently the Gold version fixed a lot of the problems. Certainly seems fine to me.

  • repoman_x

    Great podcast. Downloading the demo now.

  • Tareq

    Great podcast again. I hope Rob brings in more developers to talk about their games. I’ll be downloading the same as well.

  • Jeff

    Maybe I’m not the target audience, but I didn’t really know what the word “hegemony” meant. That could possibly be a marketing problem. Looks like an interesting game, though.

  • Chris

    The zoom feature looks pretty nifty. It is nice to see tiny teams innovating technically.

  • Wes

    I’m pleased to hear that Rob is a fellow Classics nerd. Glad you were able to do something somewhat related to your degree — somehow I ended up working in computer networking, heh.

    Well, I would love to check out this game and look forward to sieging Greek cities with catapults. Why not? Please consider this my entry for the contest.

  • Darren

    Thanks for clearing up the pronunciation of the title, Troy. Although dictionary.com does allow both… [hi-jem-uh-nee, hej-uh-moh-nee] :)
    And looking a little deeper, the Oxford dictionary prefers your pronunciation but the Macquarie dictionary (here is Australia) prefers the other version. Weird but interesting – but not about games so not really on topic. :)

  • Otagan

    Very interesting podcast. I always love developer interviews for games I’m intrigued by. Hearing their thoughts and opinions is always fascinating.

    I officially waive my entry to the drawing, though, as I already own two copies of Hegemony Gold. Just never had the time to get into it, but I love supporting this sort of game.

  • skshrews

    1. Great show-learning about games like “Hegemony” is why I am a fan of the podcast

    2. I doubt I’ll hold out until July 20 before buying the game

    3. Still hope to win a copy

  • Casey

    You guys have sold me on another game. The show is a necessary voice in bringing great games to my attention that I may not have picked up otherwise.

  • Gormongous

    I’m neck-deep in Shogun 2 still, but I can’t wait to hear Troy and Rob talk about this game.

  • frags

    One of the most under rated indie strategy games. Ancient Wars of Greece needed more exposure. Such an excellent game which also filled a few holes from Philip of Macedon. Love the supply mechanic.

  • frags

    BTW I already have the game. Not an entry for the contest.

  • Jazzer

    Troy’s love for this game is infectious. Even if I don’t win, I’ll probably look into getting the demo (much as I dislike demos).

  • Infi

    kinda liked the demo of the original but had its flaws and never bought it

    will try the gold edition demo now

  • Skyrider68

    On the strength of your enthusiastic words alone, Troy, I am going to give the demo a whirl. I’m not usually drawn to ancient-era themes so much, but I am looking forward to being pleasantly surprised!

  • JoeM

    Neat review! I’m really looking forward to winning a copy of this game. Or if worst comes to worst, buying one. :)

    Did the game have a multiplayer component, or did I just miss that in the review?

  • Hell-Mikey

    Mr. Goodfellow – whether the truth/accuracy axes of the Goodfellow Quadrant are strictly your invention or not, you can be their greatest champion. You are, after all, in the business of promotion and if that business scores high in the upper right of the Goodfellow Quadrant, all the better.

  • Gooney

    Stupid podcast…made me buy yet another game!

    Thanks! ;-)

    3MA is my favorite podcast


  • Sam

    Good podcast.

    I bought Hegemony: Philip of Macedon after the first podcast you had on it. I played around with the tutorial and captured Pella but didn’t really get into it.

    Every once in a while I would try to play it again, get to the same place and quit. I’m a Greek history tragic so it should have been right up my alley, but it just didn’t grab me.

    After this podcast I went and picked up the Gold expansion, started with Philip again. Join the Companion Cavalry, take Pella, etc. Got to my usual ‘welp, time to quit’ point and decided to just keep playing to see what happens.

    Bam, 5 hours later I am pushing north into Peonia and getting my butt kicked. I think the bit that got me hooked was the simple matter of exploring and the simple but effective mechanic the game uses. When you send your troops into the next valley, instead of having to ride around everywhere to laboriously rub away the blackness, the whole valley is revealed at once. It’s kind of like your troops have gotten to the crest of a hill and looked out across the landscape. You can’t see any troops, but you see where everything is. And you think ‘hey, I can capture this’.

    I even had a ‘Zacny’ moment in this game. The point where the AI did something sneaky back to me that I had been doing to it. (maybe this should be called the ‘Zacny test’, when an AI’s tactics are indistinguishable from a humans).

    I had previously been taking cities pretty easily with my own siege weapons. In this case, I had taken the city and holed up 3 units of my best infantry with little damage. I was feeling smug as a few units of light cavalry came up to the city walls. This had happened a few times and they always ran away again after losing troops to the city defences. Then behind them (for the first time) came catapults. Suddenly the city was about to fall so I ordered all my troops out of the city. Big mistake. Because they have to leave one at a time in a piecemeal fashion, they were all wiped out. Moral of the story, keep your troops in the field. Another RTS staple strategy, turtle up in your cities, bites the dust.

    Great game.

  • souhikyaku

    I have just recently discovered Three Moves Ahead, and find it great that you guys put so much effort into your podcasts. Given that I’m new to pc gaming, your opinions have proved invaluable in sorting through what’s worth my time and what probably isn’t.

    What I appreciate most, is the candor with which you guys speak week in and week out [Rob Z.’s comments during the second half of the Six Gun Saga podcast still have me feeling a little embarrassed for V. Davis]. Therefore, it was surprising to hear all the praise given to Hegemony (maybe equaling that given to Frozen Synapse and Shogun 2?) in your most recent show. In fact, I don’t know if you guys were fawning, but it kinda sounded like that.

    I’ve definitely put Hegemony Gold on the top of my want list – too bad it’s not available on Steam. I’m sorta regretting now not picking up Philip during the Steam summer sale, but I knew nothing about the game at the time – asi es la vida. I wish the best for the developers.

    Rob, in case you didn’t already know, GWJ is so much better when you’re participating.

  • Rob Zacny

    Sam – But one of the things I love about Hegemony is that there is no consistent right answer. A third of the time, you would be right to wait behind your walls because starvation will get the enemy before he gets you. Or you can get a relief column to the city and overpower the besiegers. Another third of the time, yes, you have to meet them in the field. The other third (and this is one reason why this game is devilish), you can stay in the city and lose a siege or leave the city and lose it it rebellion.

    souhikyaku – Uh oh, I hope I wasn’t a jerk to Vic. He certainly had nothing to be embarrassed about, and I think we were both pretty clear on what Six Gun is and is not.

    I will cop to being in total fawn mode over this game, but it’s worth fawning over. I think one reason I disliked Rome: Total War so much is that it botched a couple eras I know well, and never delivered that feeling of being able to play with history. Hegemony does. It communicates the difficulty of forging a multi-national force in this era, yet the impossibility for any one polis or nation to rule and wage war solely through its own power.

    In a nutshell, Hegemony makes this period of history feel big without being overwhelming or drowning us in detail. This is no small thing. Most strategy games have a tendency to compress distance and trivialize the challenges that defined an era. Hegemony doesn’t. It communicates a great deal of truth, as Troy said, and it does that while being terrific fun. That is my ideal for historical strategy games.

  • Jackson

    The first version of Hegemony was one of my favorite titles of 2010, and I would absolutely love to get a physical copy.

    And absolutely great taste to the 3MA Team – it’s great to see the podcast start to highlight some of the great, innovative games out there, especially after a lot of this Gary Grigsby stuff that some of us don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole. Thanks, guys!

  • Peter S (Mind Elemental)

    Still only halfway through the podcast, but I love Troy’s truth vs accuracy distinction. (My vote for ‘accurate but untruthful’, aka ‘missing the forest for the trees’, has to be Rome: Total Realism deleting the multiple Roman factions… and in the process, removing the endgame Roman civil war. How can you have a Roman Republic game without crossing the Rubicon?)

    I played the demo of the original Hegemony but didn’t really like it; how much do the changes in Hegemony Gold, particularly diplomacy, improve the game?

  • Severian

    I’m wondering if there’s a (new) review of the game, focusing on what the patches/expansion has brought to it? I remember reading reviews of the original and being slightly turned off by a few things (such as the “whack-a-mole” design that Troy pointed out). Have these been addressed by the new campaigns? Have things been shaken up by this Gold edition?

  • Humanities Grad

    Thank you for another entertaining podcast. I’ve become a real fan of Three Moves Ahead over the last few months, as you guys always seem to shine the light on very interesting titles that I’m not familiar with.

    I did have one question regarding the gameplay–sorry if it’s covered in the podcast and I just didn’t catch it. Troy’s review identifies the game as an RTS, which is a major departure from the Rome: Total War mechanics, which are turn-based outside of the tactical battles. Does the game feature some kind of pause option to let those of us whose cognitive processes work a little more slowly time to think over what we want to do next?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Ginger Yellow


  • Brad

    Okay I admit it, I’m only posting for the chance to win this. But since I am posting anyway, I might as well let you know I enjoyed this latest episode and it highlighted a game I hadn’t heard of.

  • Shaun

    49+ comments? Impressive.

    Really enjoyed the episode. It made me genuinely sad that I missed Hegemony during the GamersGate/Steam sales. I hate to whine, but it would be quite nice if 3MA/FoS could help out listeners/readers by pointing them to good strategy sales. As I think everyone is aware, marketing for many of these games isn’t on par with big budget titles so (at least for me it seems) it’s very easy for so many great games to pass us by.

    “Paeonians are just bitches.” I had to pause the cast at this point and give that a moment to soak in. :D