Dominion HD iPad Review

Look no further, Napoleon wannabes, because Dominion HD is the perfect game to help you train for world domination. Not only does it let you experience the thrill of taking over the globe, but, unlike in real life, it offers the safety of having nothing to lose. If one plan doesn’t work, just reset and try again. It’s so simple that you’ll be conquering the world before you know it.

Dominion HD isn’t flashy. It won’t push the limits of your iPad’s graphics processor or transfix your friends into watching you play for hours on end. Most of the time, what’s onscreen is a world map, broken into colorful, numbered sections. But from this basic set-up springs a satisfyingly deep strategy game that’s just about everything you could ask for in a game of globe conquering.

People of Earth, prepare to be dominated.

A thorough, easy-to-understand tutorial walks you through your first match and introduces how each turn is broken into phases. First you deploy troops to areas you control, then you attack neighboring countries, and finally you reposition your armies to better defend yourself during your opponents’ turns. The tutorial also acquaints you with the intuitive interface you’ll use to bring your enemies to their knees.

Since the goal is usually to take over the whole map, you’ll spend most of your time planning and initiating attacks. Fighting is easy: you tap one of your territories and then tap the neighboring enemy territory you’d like to overtake. You can send into battle as many troops as you have available in the attacking area, provided that at least one remains to hold the fort.

You get one die roll for each troop you send, and as long as your opponent has the defenders, they match you roll for roll. To cut down their troop numbers, you must roll higher on the dice than they do; ties go to the defender. This brings an element of randomness into the game, and you can lose a lot of troops due to bad die rolls. It’s an easy-to-understand system, and it works great.

One continent at a time.

Added to this are bonuses that you can obtain as you play. These bonuses are rewards for achieving certain objectives on the map, and they give you things like an extra attack die, an airfield you can place in an area you control, or extra defense points.

If world domination is too ambitious a goal for you, you can play on zoomed-in maps of the individual continents. On any map, you can pick from two kinds of matches or create your own objectives for winning. You can play by yourself against the computer, with friends on one device (with the option to add AI opponents), or online. The one thing we’d like to see is local Bluetooth or Wi-Fi multiplayer, but with all the other multiplayer options available, we’re not going to cry about it.

Dominion HD offers Risk-like turn-based strategy in a superb, fully-featured package that should not be missed. What are you waiting for, all you young Napoleons? The world isn’t going to take over itself.

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