Rules of the game


Angry hedgehogs are fighting a fierce battle to the death, using their good aim, wits and their very explosive and silly weapons while they laugh fiercely when they send their foes to certain doom.


This page explains the basic rules of a game of Hedgewars, assuming Default settings without any rule modifications in place.


To wipe out all opposing hedgehogs and survive the fight.


Each player controls a team of 1-8 hedgehogs.

The game is played in turns. Each team has a turn, after one round is over, the first team starts, and so on.


Players may choose to play in a clan. A clan is an alliance of teams. Clans will either lose together or win togehter. Each clan has a color. Teams with the same color are in the same clan.

Start of the game

At the start of the game, a map is chosen or randomly generated. Hedgehogs and random objects like mines and barrels are scattered throughout the landscape.

The first player is either chosen at random or by the team order set by the host. This is set by the game scheme.


The central element of the game is the turn. Each player controls one hedgehog at a time.

Each turn has 4 phases:

  1. Ready phase
  2. Movement phase
  3. Attack
  4. Retreat phase

Ready phase

Before the turn “really” starts, the player has a few seconds to get ready for the actual turn.

Nothing can be done in this phase except observing the scene by moving around the mouse.

The ready phase ends after 5 seconds or if the player pressed any control.

Movement phase

After the ready phase begins the movement phase. This is the most important phase.

In the movement phase, you can walk, jump, aim, use utilities and initiate an attack.
Beware, in this phase the clock is ticking. By Default, this is 45 seconds, but the timer depends on the basic settings.

You can move around and use utilities as long the time permits, but you can only use one weapon per turn (with the exception of mudball), and attacking will lead you to the retreat time.

If you run out of time before you could use a weapon, your turn ends immediately. If your hog takes any form of damage or even dies, your turn also ends immediately.


To attack with your weapon, first you need to choose a weapon. You can either open the ammo menu (rightclick) or use one of the shortcuts (F1-F10). Then choose an angle with up and down, a direction with left or right and then press the attack key.

For “powered” weapons like bazookas and grenades, hold the attack key longer for a stronger throw. Some weapons like the mortar don't need this, they are always shot with the same strength.

Each weapon has its slightly different usage instructions. See the in-game tooltip of the weapon or this wiki to learn how they work.

Some weapons can also be used from a rope, flying saucer or parachute. To do this, first start using the utility, then, the utility is still active, select the weapon you want to use. Then hit the long jump key (enter) to drop the weapon.

After you used the weapon, you'll enter the retreat phase.

Retreat phase

This phase is used to move your hedgehog back to a safe position. In this time, you can only walk or jump until the timer ends. If you used the weapon from an utility, you can continue to use this utility until the timer ends.

The retreat time you get depends on the weapon you used. It is either 5 seconds, 3 seconds or 0 seconds. Most weapons have a retreat time of 3 seconds, mine, sticky mines, air mines and dynamite have a retreat time of 5 seconds.

A special case is an attack from a flying saucer when underwater: In this case, the usual retreat time is multiplied by 4.

After the retreat phase has ended, your turn is over.

End-of-turn events

Between the end of a turn and the start of the turn of the next hedgehog, a couple of intermediate events might happen. In this phase, no one is playing, you just watch the events unfold.

First, all projectiles have to be destroyed and all moving objects and hedgehogs must have settled first before the game continues.

Poisoned hedgehogs will receive their poison damage in this phase.

In Sudden Death (see below), the water might rise and hedgehogs might receive sudden Death damage.

Then there is a chance that a crate drops from the heavens to aid you (or your enemy) to victory.

Then the next turn starts (unless there's a winner).


A round is over after each clan has played once. In each round, all the teams will cycle through their hedgehogs in the original order (in the team editor). The first time it's a team's turn, the first hedgehog is controlled. The second time it's the team's turn, its second hedgehog is controlled, and so on.

Turn order

The turn order is the set of rules that determines which hedgehog will play next.

Hedgewars will of course determine all of this all automatically.
You don't have to fully understand turn order entirely to play Hedgewars. But to become a true master, it helps a lot.

Hedgehog turn order

This determines which hedgehog in a team is played once it's the team's turn.

Each team starts with its first hedgehog. In subsequent turns, each team will then just cycle through the hedgehogs in order.

So in a team of 4 hedgehogs you will play Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.

To be precise, the “next hedgehog” in order is defined as the hedgehog that follows the hedgehog that ended the previous turn.

So using switch hedgehog also changes the hedgehog turn oder.

If the next hedgehog is unavailable for play (e.g. dead, frozen, missing), the game keeps cycling through hedgehogs in the team in the hedgehog order until a hedgehog is found.

If all hedgehogs of a team are unavailable (e.g. frozen), the team must skip its turn.

Team playing order

In a free-for-all (no allied teams), the teams simply play in a given order and a round is complete after each team had its turn.

Any teams and clans that have been eliminated in the game are of course skipped.

Team playing order with alliances

If there is any clan with 2 or more teams, things are more complicated:

Basically, in each round, a team from each clan plays and after each round, the teams are rotated.

What this means: In the first turn, the first team of the first clan will play. After each turn, a team from the next clan will play. In the first round, the first team of each clan will play. If all clans had their turn, the next round begins and the teams are “rotated”. That is, the next team of each clan is played.

To illustrate this, here's one example with 3 clans of 2 teams each (R=round, T=turn):

  • R1T1 (round 1, turn 1): First team of first clan
  • R1T2: First team of second clan
  • R1T3: First team of third clan
  • R2T1: Second team of first clan
  • R2T2: Second team of second clan
  • R2T3: Second team of third clan
  • R3T1: First team of first clan

Random team order

“Random team order” (this is one of the game modifiers) deserves special mention here since it's commonly used.

If this is activated, the order in which the teams play is randomized. Otherwise, all teams will play exactly in the order they have been added in the list of teams. The other rules stay intact.

Sudden Death

If the game has gone on for many rounds, Sudden Death will start, causing the water to rise and reducing the health of all hedgehogs. See Sudden Death for a full explanation.


On the battlefield, you will find these things:

  • Terrain, which is usually fully destructible
  • Water: Hedgehogs and most objects will drown here
  • Objects (such as mines, barrels, crates, etc.), which add a little action to the game
  • Hedgehogs, the main protagonists of the game
  • Wind, which affects the path of most projectiles

Weapons and utilities

Weapons are the bread and butter of the game. They allow you to hurt hedgehogs and destroy the terrain and do other attacks.

Utilities, on the other hand, generally aid you to cover terrain or perform more esoteric tasks.

See Weapons Manual for a list of all weapons and utilities.

End of the game

The game ends if only one team or clan (teams of same color) remains which is declared the victor. In the unlikely event that at the end of a turn, all hedgehogs are dead, the game ends in a draw.

At the end, the player rankings, game stats and some snarky comments are shown.


Basically, the longer you survive, the better your rank. In precise words:

  • The clan that survived the battle is on rank 1 and wins
  • The remaining clans are ranked in the reverse order they died
  • In case of a tie, two clans share their rank

In other words, the clan that dies first is on the last rank. The clan that dies second ranks second-to-last, and so on.

Rule modifications

Additional to the standard rules above, additional rules can be added for fun. This is a central aspect of Hedgewars which allows for a wide range of ways to play Hedgewars. Smile

At the start of each game, a mission panel with all rule modifications is shown. If no special modifications are made, nothing is shown. This just means the standard rules of the game apply.

Schemes are used to change the basic game rules and weapon settings. For instance, you can change the initial health, initial weapons, enable indestructible land, enable vampirism mode, change the turn time, and much, much more. This is the most straight-forward way.

Styles introduce more complex changes to gameplay. Most styles keep the core aspect of the game unchanged while a few styles change it drastically. Make sure to read the mission panel and/or their respective wiki page (see styles) in order to understand these.


  • To review the current game modifiers or mission text, press the mission panel key (M by default)
  • Online players tend to try out many different rules, so make sure to read the mission panel carefully
  • Before you approach a mine, make sure you know its timer, which is mentioned in the mission panel unless it's 3 seconds. If not stated otherwise, mines explode after 3 seconds

User login

Copyright © 2004-2023 Hedgewars Project. All rights reserved. [ contact ]