Review: Hippocrates

In Hippocrates, you will manage a team of doctors who cure patients in the first hospital in history!


Geronimo Games




Game overview

Hippocrates is a kind of order completion game in which you heal patients as an ancient Greek doctor.

Each round starts with welcoming patients to your clinic. The player whose pawn is furthest to the left may choose a patient first, you will receive the bonuses shown below the patient and you can only choose a patient next to one of the dice that were rolled at the start of the round. If you play with less than 4 players, there are also NPC pawns. When it is their turn, the patient with the highest number of points is removed and the NPC only gets the reputation below it. So it's very important to keep an eye on your turn and to see if an NPC might take a patient that you need. You play this phase 3 times, where you might have a different turn order the next few times. After welcoming patients, you receive money from them and pay your doctors depending on your reputation.

In the next phase, you can buy the doctors you need to treat your patients. You will have to look carefully at the doctors' specialties and whether they are capable of treating your patients. You can also buy medicine parcels and special bonus tiles. Next, you can assign all the patients for whom you have the necessary medicines to the doctors. For example, you can use two doctors for one patient. You can turn over the treated patients and get points from them immediately. If you have a patient on all sides of a doctor, you will also receive the doctor's points and you may discard them together with the attached patients. Untreated patients are moved down one level on your player board.

After this a new round begins until 4 rounds have been played. You may now treat patients on the second level once more, you only need the medicine for this, but you do not get any points for it. Patients on the second level are worth 1 minus point, while patients on the lowest level are worth 3 minus points. The player who has the most points after this wins the game!

Patient treatment

Our thoughts

Hippocrates is one of those board games that doesn't catch much attention in the game cabinet, because the white box doesn't attract attention immediately. Hippocrates surprises when you open the box and the game is on the table. Not only is the box, the first time you open it, chock full of punchboards, the box also contains a super large game board that barely fits on the table. On the table, therefore, Hippocrates catches all your attention. The components and artwork are beautiful and the game board certainly stands out. 

Hippocrates has surprised us on several levels. Let's be honest, the first surprise was not entirely positive. The punchboards the box is filled with are not the best. It is quite a job to push all the parts out of the punchboards (in one piece) and to sort the whole thing out. This took us quite a while. Usually, we do not find punching annoying, but with Hippocrates it was quite the hassle. This brings us to our second point of criticism: this game urgently needs an insert. So hereby an appeal to all insert designers, this is a gem to create an insert for! The set up time is now very long because of the many components that you have to setup. If an insert were to be made for Hippocrates, we would immediately go and get it. 

Once you have finished punching and setting up the game, you can finally start playing. After seeing all the components, we were very curious! Hippocrates looks impressive and complicated, but in terms of rules it is definitely doable. After watching a playthrough and looking up a few extra things, we could get straight to work. It was less complicated than we thought. But do not underestimate Hippocrates, it is certainly not an easy game! 

Hippocrates is a powerful, challenging puzzle game. The game contains elements of order completion, but then more extensive and complicated. That's a good thing, because we are not usually big fans of order completion. Hippocrates, on the other hand, we really like. It is a game in which you are completely absorbed, while trying to choose the best actions to get the most points. Hippocrates is a typical brain-burner. If you like games like Paladins of the West Kingdom, because of the difficult and tactical choices you have to make, then Hippocrates is definitely for you. 

We actually always play with 2 players. In most board games, this is not a problem and does not change much. Sometimes an NPC is needed, which we usually don't like. Hippocrates does this differently! In Hippocrates you always 'play' with 4 players. Are there 2 of you? Then you 'play' 2 NPCs. These NPCs occupy spaces and ensure that the available doctors and medicines on the game board are renewed more quickly. It sounds like a lot of hassle, but it's not that bad. It is the first time that we can really appreciate the NPC. This element ensures that even in a 2-player game, you experience the tightness of a 4-player game. The NPCs do earn a reputation, which sometimes allows them to choose a doctor before you do. And it can happen that they take away a doctor that you needed. This really makes you play differently. An interesting twist! We don't have a game in our collection that plays like this yet.

We think Hippocrates is a really fun, challenging game. Unfortunately, it also has some drawbacks. We think the game board is unnecessarily large, making it quickly a mess on the table, especially if you do not have an insert. You have a lot of game components on the table and you have to remove a lot of them from the game board while playing. In our opinion, this causes unnecessary chaos. Something we have come across before in games, is that the colours are difficult to distinguish. The colours of the patients and doctors are very similar, especially light and dark blue. This causes us to hang over the board and squint our eyes every time we play, to see if we have the right colour. This does take away from the fun of playing. We would also have liked to see some kind of progression in the game. There is not really a way to get more income or save money. As a result, every round feels a bit the same. We hadden het ook leuk gevonden om te zien dat er een vorm van vooruitgang in het spel zat. Er is niet echt een manier om meer inkomen te krijgen of geld te sparen. Daardoor voelt elke ronde een beetje hetzelfde.

Fortunately for us, the cons do not outweigh the pros. We really like Hippocrates. Because of the long set-up time and game duration, the game may not be on the table very often, but when it is, it is a lot of fun. As soon as we put Hippocrates away, something in us is already thinking about the next game. This is a game that makes you think, something we see more often with this kind of brain-burners. Personally, we like it when a game can give you this experience. So, are you looking for a special board game experience, do you like a challenging puzzle and are you not afraid to 'brain burn'? Then definitely give Hippocrates a try!

player board patients

Pros and cons

+ Original form of order completion
+ Tactical
+ Exciting
+ Innovative NPC players

- Colours are hard to distinguish
- Many loose components
- Every rounds feels the same

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This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by Geronimo Games.