Hecate works a little differently compared with other gods. She hides her workers in shadows, trying to let opponents bump into them. Although not everybody likes hidden information, you can have some fun with Hecate and there are positions where the opponent can predict where Hecate is, so it is not all luck.
Anyway, if you are good at bluffing or feel like your opponent is stronger than you, this can be an interesting choice for your game. If you are playing for fun (which is the whole point of the game!), you have to try Hecate at least once and you might even be surprised how she can face basically any power (even Poseidon).
Secretly place your workers last. Your workers are invisible to other players. If an opponent attempts an action that would not be legal due to the presence of your secret workers, their action is cancelled and they lose the rest of their turn.
Your workers are not seen by opponents, and if they take an illegal action due to this, the action is canceled together with the rest of their turn. This power has hidden information, so it is only recommended to be used in casual games.
Starting with the workers in weird positions can already confuse the opponent. Moreover, Hecate could try to move only one worker so that she doesn’t reveal the position of the other. When playing with Hecate, you should probably bluff some moves, but not all of them, otherwise your opponent will not fall for it. Bluffing can be done in a very different number of ways. For example, not moving up when it would be natural to do it, creating winning threats without actually creating them (it appears to your opponent that you are trying to win). Since these tactics often give your opponent a ½ or ⅓ chance to defend, many players don’t like to play with Hecate as Santorini is mostly a strategy game.
An example of a bluff in the early game would be the following:
The opponent starts by playing c3-c2, build D1(1), which is not a good move. A natural reply would be to move up e2-d1 (and that is in fact a good move), but Hecate can start messing with her opponent by playing for example e2-d2, build E1 (or E2) making the opponent think that she indeed moved up. A natural reply for the opponent would be to defend the corner with c2-d2, but if they play that move, they will lose their turn and Hecate will create a very hard to defend corner attack. What if the opponent doesn’t fall for the bluff and plays c2-d1, build E1(2)? Well, in that case, Hecate has to live with that, knowing that any bluff might be risky and that the opponent sometimes might not fall for it.
Do not let your opponent know which worker you moved! If Hecate has two workers which can build in B5 and only one of them can build in A5, why build in A5 instead of B5? (I’m not saying this is always bad) If Hecate builds in A5, the opponent knows (with some previous information) which worker Hecate moved, but the same wouldn’t happen if Hecate would have built in B5.
A classical strategy with Hecate is to change the tempo of the moves (by doing a triangulation). For example, Hecate will triangulate in order to have a better position:
The opponent knows that Hecate is in B1 and Hecate will take advantage of knowing that the opponent knows that she is in B1. A very natural move, would be to move to B2 and build in B1 for at least two reasons: threaten to move up to a level 2 and do not allow the opponent to move up to B2. However, she can surprise the opponent and play b2-a2, build B1(2) (note that this is a very risky bluff). The opponent thinks that Hecate is trying to move up (or he recognizes that Hecate might be bluffing but is too scared to take the risk of playing c2-b2 and losing his turn) so he plays c2-c1, build B1(3). And now the real shocker comes, Hecate plays a2-b2, build A2(1) and the opponent probably realizes that he has been fooled. The position is very good for Hecate!
At this stage of the game, a common strategy is to create winning threats which are not in fact winning threats, i.e., Hecate builds a level 3 and makes the opponent think she is standing on top of an adjacent level 2. The opponent will defend the threat, but this will probably be advantageous to Hecate. For example, the opponent might not be able to move to that square because Hecate has just moved there.
It is easier to know where Hecate is and so this matchup won’t generally be a problem for Aphrodite.
Apollo may use his power without realizing (if Hecate is in a square to which he moves to), but this will almost never benefit Hecate.
Ares might use his power to try to find Hecate, which is very good. He can play a normal turn, and at the end of the turn says “let me see if Hecate is here”.
Hecate is surprisingly good in this matchup as she will restrict Artemis’ mobility by not revealing where her workers are. This provides an interesting game if you don’t mind playing a not 100% strategy game.
It is tricky for both of these gods to use their ability, since they normally don’t know if a move is good because Hecate might not be where they expect her to be. I would prefer to be Hecate here, although there still might be some cases where Bia/Maenads can do double attacks based on the fact of knowing the location of one of Hecate’s workers.
This can be interesting for Clio as she can try to lose her first turns on purpose so that she can get her coins in better squares.
Double builders (e.g. Demeter, Hephaestus, Prometheus)
You would expect these gods to be MUCH better than Hecate. But every game is different and letting Hecate move to a good square might just be enough to begin the nightmare. For example, it is perfectly possible for Hecate to win against Demeter.
Hecate might actually be able to defeat a very powerful goddess such as Limus. A little bit of bluff here and there and Limus won’t find it funny.
Although Hecate can provide some interesting games, some players will avoid her since bluffing and randomness is involved. When playing competitively, I don’t recommend playing with Hecate, but if you want to play for fun and try something new, this power can definitely provide some interesting combinations.
Tier ranking: B
Hecate is playable against nearly every god, even very powerful ones. Choosing her when your opponent is stronger is a good idea if you have great bluffing skills.