This historical and political game depicts the events that took place in the 17th century in the Zaporozhian Army, or Hetmanate. Hetmanate was the state that encompassed a great part of the Ukrainian ethnic territories at that time. The events take place in the Ruin period in Ukrainian history which started after the death of one of the most prominent leaders of Ukraine Bohdan Khemlnytsky in 1657 and lasted until 1686. The game focuses on the Hetmanate period from 1657 (a month before the death of Bohdan Khelmytsky) to 1660, when Ukraine was shaken by internal conflicts and aggression of neighbouring states.
The player makes decisions to help the country out of the crisis. One of the first tasks will be to decide who should be Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s successor – his son Yuriy, to establish a new dynasty which will be recognised by European states; or the more experienced leader Ivan Vyhovskyi, who chairs the General Military Chancellery and seeks union with Ukraine’s recent enemy, Poland.
Apart from this, a player can meet with foreign ambassadors, partake in senior officials councils, carry out executions, and administer the budget. Would you rather allocate funds to the army, church, art, or buy the Cossacks’ loyalty?
The game allows choosing allies from among Sweden, Poland, Moscow, or the Crimean Khanate. Whoever your choice falls on, you are going to face the impact of decisions that will never satisfy every man and his dog. It seems at the time of Ruin, there was no magic bullet to help Ukraine out of the cul de sac.
Back then, statehood was severely undermined by populism, society polarization, internal conflicts within the political elite, and enemies. As a player, you will also fight battles on many fronts, including internal Cossack clashes stirred up by foreign states.
According to the game’s creators, “Hetmanate is not just a visual novel in the historical context, nor a history test. Your task is to preserve the state surrounded by enemies from all sides. There is a zero chance of winning. The question is for how long will you manage.”