When I finished my WoW thing I decided I was keen on some old school, turn based, strategy action. After looking around for a while (like about 10 minutes) I stumbled on Dominion 3: The Awakening. This game is about as old school as it gets. In fact it reminds me of games from the early 1990’s, but it does have some upside for those who like this sort of thing.
Firstly let me give you an overview. Turn based strategy, in a fantasy setting, with VGA quality graphics, pretty average ones at that. Hooked yet?
You play a pretender for god-dom and use your powers to guide one of 20+ factions to explore and exterminate your way to the top. Have I mentioned that there are three ages or variations for each of the factions meaning 60+ empires to have a go at leading? As the Dominion 3 wiki says, “The game combines a simple presentation with an extremely wide array of strategic options, including over 1500 units, 600 spells and 300 magic items”. So there is plenty of depth.
Actual play starts with customising your selecting your faction and age and then pretender. Each turn in-game you build troops and leaders, assign them formation and orders by unit (you control the unit composition also), and then set the hero and his army off to explore, build temples, build fortifications or fight the enemy. You can also research new spells.
The summary above doesn’t really do the game justice as there are actually a huge number of mechanics in-game. Temples and preaching heroes exert religious influence and rival faction’s religious influence seeps out and wrestles for religious control of the surrounding lands. There are underwater factions, factions which raise dead or summon horrors from beyond the normal realm. Food is required to support troops. Sieges are required to capture forts and so on. It feels a lot like a complex board game that has been converted to a computer game actually.
Combat is somewhat epic and chaotic. You can manually cast spells and issue orders but generally the unit’s default orders worked fine as long as I set them up well intelligently before hand. I liked the combats. Its none of the nice formations fighting each other and maneuvering nicely stuff. Instead your melee guys run at each other in a big mob (or several smaller mobs if you divided them into units) while the ranged guys shoot their designated targets. Friendly fire can be an issue although they do their best not to shoot their friends. The hero and pretender units cast spells or wade into melee as appropriate. The armies can be quite large resulting in seas of soldiers smashing each other until morale breaks and the rout begins.
Sound, like the graphics is fairly basic.
I played this game for about 60 hours. I only won a few games as much of this time was experimenting with different factions and checking out all the game maps. Overall I’d give this game 7/10 and recommend it to anyone who likes complex turn based strategy games.