Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

Dominion HD

Posted by Lone Wolf On July - 1 - 2010

It would be very easy and also a very short review if I was to just say that Dominion HD is a great game and anyone that loves strategy games should spend the required £2.99 and invest in it ASAP. However, I’ve been told that doesn’t constitute a ‘review’ so I guess I’m going to have to say why it’s worth £2.99. Yes, less than £3.

Dominion HD is a modern take on the classic table-top board game RISK; the object of which is to build armies and seize territory from your opponents. Up to 5 players, either human or AI (with varying difficulty levels), take it in turns to seize areas of a map (regions), and wipe their opponents off the face of the earth.  Dominion HD has a couple of different game modes including Classic Warfare where the objective is to simply destroy all of your opponents, as well Modern and Advanced Warfare modes that offer customisable objective-based play.


The game map is split into different regions; it’s these regions that are fought over by the players in the game. When a region is controlled by a player, it is shaded in the controlling player’s colour. There are a number of different game maps available; ranging from a game whose regions are solely based in Australia or Europe, up to a global map covering the whole planet (hence it’s the global map). Each controlled region will include a number within it; this number is the army count for that region and these armies are used to attack enemy regions. The game map also features other icons on the regions that represent cities, capitals and airfields. These cities and capitals influence the number of Army reinforcements given per turn. A good tip when playing a Modern Warfare game is to try and capture enemy capitals as these can count towards objectives.

If you’re new to Dominion HD or strategy games in general, there is a very handy in-depth tutorial that will show you the game mechanics and take you through a sample game as you learn the rules.

So how does one win a game? As I’ve explained already, players take it in turns to seize regions. Each turn is split into four phases:  Reinforce, Attack, Invade and fortify. At the start of each turn, you will be given Victory Conditions or Game Objectives – in order to win the game, these must be met. An on-screen list will highlight the Game Objectives and their associated rewards. The rewards are given when the associated objective is met.


Reinforce: Depending on how many regions you own, the region types as well as any additional objective bonuses you may have, you will be given a set number of armies. You strategically place these armies on the map in order to invade connecting enemy regions. The number of armies in a region is clearly shown. You must have at least two armies in a region to be able to attack a connecting enemy region.

Attack: Once you’ve placed your armies (strategically I hope), you then move on to the attack phase. This is simply done by touching the region you want to use to attack and the region you’re attacking. It’s always best to have a larger number of armies in your region than your opponents.  Attacks are carried out by simulated dice roles; the results of which are shown on-screen. Your best attacker rolls compete against the best defender rolls. If a roll is tied, then the defender wins. A region army is lost per dice defeat.  If your attack is successful, you will invade that region and expand your territory.

By taking all the regions in a region group, you will receive greater Army bonuses. There’s a handy icon on the top HUD that allows you to see quickly which regions form a complete group. When playing on the global map the regions groups are: Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and North America. Controlling all of the Australian regions will give you +2 additional armies. While controlling all of the Asian regions will give you +7 armies. So it’s worth looking at this map overview from time to time as it’ll help you no end.


Invade: By defeating all the armies in a region that you attacked, you will now own that region and its colour will change to your own. The invade phase gives you a chance to move more armies into that newly occupied region. If you successfully invade regions during your turn you will be awarded a random bonus of one or three Invasion Bonus Stars; these bonus stars can be turned into armies during the reinforce phase.

Fortify: During this phase, you will have the opportunity to fortify any regions you control. This is done by moving armies from one region to another as long as they are connected. Unless you have a reward to allow you multiple fortifications in one turn, you can only fortify once.  Once fortification is complete, play is passed on to the next opponent and the whole process starts all over again until the winning player meets the required number of objectives.

While Dominion HD has multiple AI difficulty settings, there’s nothing quite like playing against another human being or four. Play can be either offline, using the play and pass method, or if you don’t have any friends within reach, you can take your game online via WiFi or 3G.

For online play Dominion HD uses Dot Matrix Online; registration is free and is done within the game.  Once registered and logged in, you will be in the War Room; this is essentially the multiplayer lobby where you can search, create or join any existing games. You can have up to 10 games on the go at once. Also the War Room displays your current ranking and game stats. When searching for a game, you can set certain parameters such as number of players, map, objectives to win and also turn time limit. This is particularly handy if you only want a quickie. For those of you happier with a slower paced game, you can set the time limit up to 72 hours. The game features “Asynchronous Play”, allowing you to take your turn wherever, whenever you’re ready.  Creating a new game is very straightforward; simply set whatever parameters you wish, give the game a name and hit the create button. You also have the option of making any game private; other players will need to enter your chosen password to gain access to the game – handy if you only want to play with those people you know.

Dominion HD doesn’t rely on flashy 3D graphics and lots of rendered CGI videos; the game’s design and layout is very clear and it’s easy to see what phase you’re in and what needs to be done. The graphics have a very futuristic neon feel to them and the menus are simple and clean. To be honest, adding eye-candy to the game will only slow things down I feel.


The games are quite short, there’s not long-narrative or complex character driven story; It’s all about taking your armies and destroying your opponents.  If you like your games to exercise the old noggin a bit, you’ll love this game. This has great pick-up-and-play appeal and one I find myself coming back to again and again. Whether you prefer to play solo against the AI or with some real humans, Dominion HD is Dominion HD is an essential purchase and well worth the £2.99 asking price.



Dominion HD is available for the iPad on the App Store here, for just £2.99

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