Halls of Hegra is an immersive solitaire recreation from Norweigan designer Petter Schanke Olsen, the place you command a gaggle of Norwegian defenders in opposition to German forces within the early days of World War II. It cleverly combines employee placement, bag constructing, and tower protection mechanisms with a survival spine in similar vein as Robinson Crusoe, This War of Mine, and Dead of Winter.
Olsen and his publishing firm Tompet Games launched a Kickstarter marketing campaign (KS hyperlink) for Halls of Hegra in early August 2022 and despatched me a prototype copy so I may test it out. With the timing of receiving the prototype, plus leaping into a brand new full-time function with BoardGameGeek, together with my loopy journey schedule this month, I didn’t get to play Halls of Hegra as a lot as I’d hoped. However, I’m digging it rather a lot thus far, so I wished to share the way it works earlier than the tip of the Kickstarter marketing campaign.
Halls of Hegra units you in an deserted mountain fortress within the Norwegian village Hegra. You are challenged with strategically commanding volunteers and solidiers to defend in opposition to a German onslaught whereas managing a number of components similar to morale, retaining the locals calm, gaining provides, and retaining sufficient of your forces wholesome by the tip of the sport.
I actually just like the look of the Halls of Hegra recreation board, however I particularly love that it’s extremely practical and serves as a participant assist to information you thru your turns. There are completely different numbered sections the place you place defender discs to take actions, in addition to completely different tracks to handle quite a lot of components. There’s additionally a piece representing the snowy exterior of the fortress the place you might want to sneak round, combat, or keep away from German patrols whereas making provide runs essential to survive.
You have recruit bag with wood discs to handle the 5 several types of defenders (an officer, troopers, medics, hunters, and volunteers) you command within the recreation. In the prototype, the completely different defender discs are represented with completely different colours, however within the remaining model, they may even have an icon on them along with a definite coloration.
Unfortunately, not all the things in your recruit bag is useful. You even have doubt discs representing the boldness (or lack thereof) the locals have in your potential to defend them. The extra doubt discs that get added to the recruit bag, the much less assured the locals really feel and the more durable it’s going to be so that you can recruit new volunteers and troopers. The doubt discs add a push-your-luck component to Halls of Hegra when draw from the bag to recruit new volunteers and troopers.
Halls of Hegra is performed over three levels which happen over eleven days. During the Mobilization (Day 1-3) stage, you discover the fortress and dig your manner via mountains of snow whereas making an attempt to restore damaged tools. You additionally achieve new recruits in your rising drive and plan provide routes. Then within the 1st Attack (Day 4-6) stage, the village under the fortress is attacked. You attempt to defend it whilst you make remaining preparations and safe sufficient provides earlier than the siege. Then within the remaining Siege (Day 7-11) stage, the siege of the fortress kicks off and you need to endure fixed bombing and infantry assaults whereas retaining morale up amongst your forces.
If you’ve sufficient wholesome defenders after the final stand on the finish of the Siege stage, you win. Alternatively, you lose the sport instantly in case you attain the cranium icon on the Surrender monitor or if you do not have sufficient wholesome defenders left after the final stand. The variety of wholesome defenders you want relies on the place the Surrender marker is on the Surrender monitor.
Regardless of the stage, every day is split into three phases: Event, Morning, and Day. Each day through the Event section, you draw an occasion card from the present stage’s occasion deck and resolve it, beginning with adjusting the climate, after which resolving the occasion textual content. Each card additionally has a blurb of taste/story textual content which corresponds to the occasion card’s results.
The occasion playing cards fluctuate in results, however typically throw extra challenges your manner which is able to probably affect your technique for the upcoming day. Your defenders could also be injured, you might lose morale or provides, extra German patrols might spawn, and extra. Plus, the climate impacts your motion for provide runs too. If it is sunny you possibly can transfer as much as six areas, but when it is snowy you possibly can solely transfer as much as 4 areas, which makes provide runs inefficient most often. Thus, you need to be able to adapt to no matter comes your manner.
The occasion playing cards add loads of replay worth to Halls of Hegra. You solely use a number of of them every recreation and also you by no means know what you are going to get. Since every stage has its personal occasion deck(s), every recreation can play out very in a different way relying on the results of the occasion playing cards, which retains issues fascinating and difficult. Depending on which stage of the sport you are in, you may also recruit some new forces, be attacked by the German forces, or add air tiles the hit bag through the Event section.
In the Morning section, first, you progress any defenders within the Rest space to the Ready space. After, it’s possible you’ll spend provides or morale to maneuver defenders from the Tired space on to the Ready space. Then, any defenders nonetheless remaining in Tired space are moved to the Rest space. This employee rotation represents the time wanted in your defenders to recoup after performing actions. After biking and prepping your defenders, you place those within the Ready space onto varied motion areas on the board the place they may carry out actions through the Day section. Regardless of the variety of defenders you possibly can place on a given flip, it is virtually all the time powerful to determine the way you need to allocate them for actions. You have many nice choices, and much that you really want and must do, however you by no means have sufficient defenders to do all of it, so you might be pressured to make powerful choices.
In a multiplayer employee placement recreation, loads of stress comes from making an attempt to be sure you get to an motion house earlier than an opponent beats you to it and blocks you, along with struggling to do all of the stuff you need to with a restricted pool of staff. Halls of Hegra actually nails it with regards to making the choice house deep for a solo employee placement recreation. There are areas which might be extra optimum for sure kinds of defenders, there are areas that require two defender discs as a substitute of 1, and there are areas that limit you from putting sure kinds of defender discs. In any case, I really like the choices you might be offered with and the way it makes this a part of the sport very thinky.
After your defenders are positioned on motion areas, the Day section begins the place you resolve all the motion sections in numeric order. Within every motion part, you possibly can carry out the actions in any order you select and as many occasions as you want in case you place sufficient defenders. After you carry out an motion, you progress the defender(s) to the Tired space to allow them to relaxation up for future turns. Many of the actions have easy textual content directions on the board, so as soon as you have performed a number of rounds or a recreation, it is easy to recollect what every motion does at a look. This retains your head within the recreation, as a substitute of within the rulebook.
Most of the actions can be found in all levels of the sport, however some are solely relevant at specific levels. In addition, as you shovel snow, one of many Maintenance motion selections, you possibly can unlock particular bonuses and open extra motion areas that are highly effective. I’ll spotlight a number of the actions under within the order that they’re resolved throughout gameplay.
You can carry out Mobilization actions (Mobilization stage solely) to open new provide routes and add provides to one in all 4 provide depot areas on the sport board, in addition to negotiate to decrease worry and doubt ranges to enhance your potential to recruit and retain your defenders. You can resolve Defend the Walls actions (after the Mobilization stage) to fight the Germans in case you have defenders positioned in defensive positions. This includes rolling a die (d6) for every defensive unit to both hit or suppress German infantry.
Next comes the Fire Artillery motion, which is exclusive in that it could solely be resolved as soon as every flip. For every artillery gun in play, you possibly can select to assault the infantry sector, German patrol tokens on the map, or the Værnes Airfield. You begin the sport with one absolutely broken artillery gun that has the flexibility to fireplace two pictures when it isn’t broken. You additionally run the chance of the gun being jammed after you fireplace it. As the sport progresses, it’s possible you’ll achieve entry to a second artillery gun as nicely.
There are Supply Run actions the place you possibly can ship out defenders to select up provides from one of many provide depots that has provides obtainable. Once they run out to seize the provides, they must cease their motion and will not be capable to return with the provides till the subsequent day. In addition, you need to handle your suspicion stage with the German patrols on the map who you may need to sneak by. If you ship a soldier on a provide run, they’ll truly combat the German patrols which is a useful method to take away them from the board, whereas additionally grabbing helpful provides. Another factor to notice is that every defender disc can solely carry one provide token, and their motion is lowered by one as they make their manner again to the fortress.
With Maintenance actions, you possibly can shovel snow to realize particular bonuses and open up new motion areas as I discussed above. You additionally need to maintain the snow monitor low to keep away from having to attract a tile from the Hit bag if it will get too excessive. You can restore harm to take away a harm tile from an motion house. You can bolster so as to add miss tiles to the Hit bag or improve your protection stage. On the promote motion, you should place an officer with both a hunter or a volunteer, then you definately swap the hunter/volunteer with a soldier disc from the reserve. You can encourage to extend morale. If you are in a position to dig a radio or map room out of the snow, you possibly can carry out these particular actions. As you possibly can most likely inform, these Maintenance actions are important in your survival.
After Maintenance actions, in case you have any injured defenders within the infirmary you possibly can take actions to deal with sufferers and it’s possible you’ll even achieve entry to a medication cupboard motion in case you dug it out of the snow. This is additional incentive to maintain up together with your shoveling, however once more there are such a lot of issues you might want to do, and there are by no means sufficient defenders to do all of it.
The infirmary system in Halls of Hegra is intelligent and you might be incentivized to remain on prime of treating sufferers to get them out of the infirmary as quickly as potential. The infirmary comprises three beds which may every maintain one injured defender/affected person. Any extra injured defenders should be positioned within the ready space. The ready space and every mattress has ranges (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-6) the place decrease numbers are unhealthy and point out extra restoration time is required. When one in all your defenders is injured, you a roll a die (d6) to find out which stage the defender disc is positioned on. If there’s an open mattress, they go to the suitable house on the mattress monitor, in any other case they go to the suitable house on the ready room monitor. Then every day after any Infirmary actions are resolved, you carry out relapse and restoration steps, the place sufferers within the ready space all transfer down one stage, and sufferers in beds transfer up one stage. If a mattress empties on account of restoration, you possibly can transfer a defender to it from the ready space. If a affected person ever falls under stage 1, they’re moved into the morgue, which is unhealthy information, as you possibly can think about.
The last item you do on the finish of the Day section is resolve Morale steps. First, you examine to see if any morale modifiers apply and if that’s the case, improve or lower morale accordingly. For instance, you lose one morale for each defender within the morgue, you lose one morale in case you run out of provides, however you possibly can achieve morale in case you’re in a position to scale back the doubt of the locals. Then relying on the the morale stage, you draw and resolve numerous morale playing cards, after which the morale marker resets to 0. If your morale was at 0 after the morale modifiers, you do not draw any morale playing cards.
In Halls of Hegra, there is a deck of low morale playing cards and a deck of excessive morale playing cards. The morale playing cards are tiered so that they every have a unique impact relying on what stage of the sport you are in. Typically you need to keep away from the low morale playing cards as a result of they’ve unfavourable results. Alternatively, the excessive morale playing cards are nice and have optimistic results. However, there are despair playing cards which may be added to the excessive morale deck, and likewise, hope playing cards could also be added to the low morale deck. This is a cool idea as a result of as the sport progresses, your morale card attracts may outcome within the reverse impact that you simply anticipate in case you draw a hope or despair card. So whilst you handle all the things else you might want to in Halls of Hegra, you additionally must do your greatest to maintain your morale in examine. It’s very useful to have the ability to draw excessive morale playing cards, and it may be equally useful to keep away from these nasty low morale playing cards.
The remaining side of coping with morale is to examine to see if you might want to improve the Surrender marker. The Surrender marker will increase in case you have three or extra defender discs within the morgue, in case you have 4 or extra defenders within the ready space of the infirmary, or if all six German artillery items are on the map. The message right here is, do your greatest to not let this stuff get uncontrolled. If the Surrender marker ever reaches the cranium icon, you lose the sport instantly. Otherwise, you play via the total eleven days and in case you have the minimal quantity of wholesome defenders in accordance with Surrender monitor, you win. If you do not have sufficient wholesome defenders on the finish of the siege, you lose.
If it isn’t the tip of the sport, you examine the present house on the flip monitor to see if you might want to add German patrol tokens to the board, and it’s possible you’ll must resolve a coup, retreat, or final stand, that are particular phases that happen on specific days. Then you advance the flip monitor marker to the subsequent day and begin a brand new spherical.
Halls of Hegra performs in about 70-90 minutes when you’ve the foundations down. While I haven’t got a ton of expertise enjoying it but, I actually loved the small style I acquired thus far. Everything in Halls of Hegra feels immersive, difficult, and retains you engaged flip after flip. While you are feeling the numerous struggles the sport presents, you even have loads of company over what you are doing. There is a few randomness with the occasion playing cards, cube rolls, and pulling completely different discs and tokens from baggage, however the randomness is sort of important to make sure you have a unique expertise every recreation. It additionally helps to create contemporary challenges and narratives from recreation to recreation.
Often solo players hunt down and like difficult solitaire video games. Halls of Hegra will certainly offer you a problem. I like how the sport ramps up as you progress via the varied levels, which ties again to the historical past. The recreation eases you in with a number of German patrol tokens showing after your first day, then the subsequent factor you realize, the map has an increasing number of German patrols and artillery items, along with a rising variety of infantry able to cost at you. You are coping with all of this on prime of retaining your crew of defenders wholesome, coping with the snow, retaining your morale up, and managing different key components. It is a real wrestle, which makes for an intense, but enjoyable gaming expertise.
Halls of Hegra‘s lovely art work from Jog Brogzin and Joeri Lefevre has a becoming tone to it which sucks you into the ambiance of the sport. I’ve to confess, I’ve a bias in direction of video games with a snowy setting, and within the case of Halls of Hegra, I actually dig the best way the thematic touches and mechanisms correlate to the snowy setting. Most of the sport you are struggling and feeling determined, so once you’re shoveling snow and hit that time the place you possibly can draw an superior snow card, it is thrilling and rewarding. Shoveling snow and gaining snow playing cards completely gave me Arctic Scavengers vibes too.
Halls of Hegra is a recreation that may enchantment to quite a lot of several types of players. If you get pleasure from survival video games like Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, difficult solo video games, wargames, or historic board video games, Halls of Hegra may be proper up your alley. I’d even enterprise to say it is a nice choice for people who’ve been curious to dip their toes into the solitaire gaming pool because it’s accessible and provides gamers quite a lot of actions and fascinating selections whereas enjoying it. I’m trying ahead to enjoying extra Halls of Hegra, and I am unable to wait to see the completed model.