I was hooked for months with even 4 games at the same time and it's quite engaging but it's easy to get burned out. Feels like a HoMM or Civ but with overwhelming possibilities: thousands of spells for both in-combat and outside of it, hundreds of units and items, lots of lore with races based off History, mythology and even fantasy literature or Lovecraft's mythos and crazy spell combos. Heavily recommended. Topples MoM and FFH2 every day of the week, and would be more renown if it wasn't for graphics and the publisher.
It's been at 60€ or more since release because it was sold by a very thickminded publisher, so it's finally at a reasonable price. May buy when/if releases on Steam.
THE review for this game by OutOfEight
And the action reports by even noob players are just gorgeous: Here's one and other and this one or this one on the making and the explanation of why this game is so good at player storytelling.
For more info and play by email matchmaking go to the Dom3Mods forums because the official ones at the old publisher's will probably be closed soon. There is probably a thread in every major gaming community and some minor wargame ones, starting with SomethingAwful that even has their own server. We also have had some in-forum games recently.
DEAR RPS: PLEASE CHANGE THE FORUM THEME SO LINKS ARE BETTER HIGHLIGHTED.
Faction spoiler:Player interaction required is just a handful of straightforward orders for outside/inside combat. All player turns are resolved simultaneously (but following a phase order) so it's a great play-by-email game.
- First thing first: Your pretender god, which you design at the beginning of the match, influences several nation-wide values like extra income, research or decreased manacost but it only affects provinces which are aligned to you. He also has elemental mage levels. Your designer choice influences heavily your game. You can make him as a brute unit to conquest early game, or a blessing-bonus-bearing "statue", or maybe a highly skilled mage in one or several elements.
- The map is divided in provinces, either fix, random or custom depending on game setup.
- Economy is very understandable: gold comes from province taxes, which you can rise or lower individually and will increase unhappiness and death of population, which reduces total income over time. Spell gems (~mana) is given by provinces with magic places, which have to be discovered by a mage unit spending one turn searching in it, or using specific search spells in remote provinces. Pretender design can make provinces lose income slower, hence making you collect more taxes.
- Magic (~techonology) is divided in several schools and elements. You can set your mages to research, and you have a nation-wide slider of how many of the research points is being used in each school. Your mages have levels only in certain elements, and can use spells of all schools for those elements. Some spells may even need several of them. High magic pretenders can be used to cast high level spells to create items to empower armies, or unbalance wars.
- Units are grouped as armies, which need to have a general to be able to move between provinces. For unit grouping and combat convenience, one army can be split into up to seven regiments.
- Recruitment is done in all map and requires gold. Every province has its own recruitment units and cap. It's not uncommon to have provinces with units you cannot recruit. You can only recruit one general per turn per province. Multiethnic armies are possible, in fact enforced.
- All combat is resolved simultaneously at the end of the turn without player interaction and is based on a pre-plan, that is, for every regiment you choose starting position on the map and 7 actions (spell, hold, attack, flank left...) for the first 7 turns and afterwards the AI takes over.
- Out of combat spells (rituals) are just a click action->spell->click the target unit/province.
- Apart from that, there's just a couple more actions available, like collect extra taxes or raid the province, which are highly situational.
- There's also the religion (dominion) system. Provinces have a religion affinity between 1 and 10 to a single player and -1 to -10 to all others. The more affinity provinces have, the more they will switch their stats towards your nation's, and your units and pretender will be stronger in them. To spread your dominion create temples and preachers or take your pretender god to them, and it will increase over time. Mobile pretenders with high dominion value spread your religion faster.
- Last thing are blessings and sacred units, which are a special type. Your pretender god starts with some elemental magic levels, and if they are high enough your priest can bless (buff) your sacred units with your god's goodies. If a Faceless Void is scary, imagine a FV with double damage and 90% magic resistance.
The presence of magery is very strong in this era. Magic sites are more common and heavy armor is rare. Some (most?) nations are still in Bronze Age technology. Several nations have very powerful, and very expensive, mages. Some nations of this era have some very powerful sacred beings.
Abysia, Children of Flame
Agartha, Pale Ones
Arcoscephale, Golden Era
Atlantis, Emergence of the Deep Ones
Caelum, Eagle Kings
C'tis, Lizard Kings
Ermor, New Faith
Fomoria, Cursed Ones
Helheim, Dusk and Death
Kailasa, Rise of the Ape Kings
Lanka, Land of Demons
Mictlan, Reign of Blood
Niefelheim, Sons of Winter
Oceania, Triton Kings
Pangaea, Age of Revelry
R'lyeh, Time of Aboleths
Sauromatia, Amazon Queens
T'ien Ch'i, Spring and Autumn
Tir na n'Og, Land of the Ever Young
Ulm, Enigma of Steel
Vanheim, Age of Vanir
Yomi, Oni Kings
Balanced era. The use of steel is now widespread, but magic and uncanny beings have started to fade from the world and it is more difficult to call them back.
Abysia, Blood and Fire
Agartha, Golem Cult
Arcoscephale, The Old Kingdom
Atlantis, Kings of the Deep
Bandar Log, Land of the Apes
Caelum, Reign of the Seraphim
Eriu, Last of the Tuatha
Ermor, Broken Empire
Jotunheim, Iron Woods
Machaka, Reign of Sorcerors
Man, Tower of Avalon
Marignon, Fiery Justice
Mictlan, Reign of the Lawgiver
Oceania, Coming of the Capricorns
Pangaea, Age of Bronze
Pythium, Emerald Empire
R'lyeh, Fallen Star
Shinuyama, Land of the Bakemono
T'ien Ch'i, Imperial Bureaucracy
Ulm, Forges of Ulm
Vanheim, Age of Men
This era features an emphasis on more conventional warfare. Magic is rarer and harder to find than in previous eras, but higher technology like plate armor and crossbows are more widespread.
Abysia, Blood of Humans
Agartha, Ktonian Dead
Arcoscephale, Sibylline Guidance
Atlantis, Frozen Sea
Bogarus, Age of Heroes
Caelum, Return of the Raptors
C'tis, Desert Tombs
Ermor, Ashen Empire
Jomon, Human Daimyos
Man, Towers of Chelms
Marignon, Conquerors of the Sea
Mictlan, Blood and Rain
Midgard, Age of Men
Pangaea, New Era
Patala, Reign of the Nagas
Pythium, Serpent Cult
T'ien Ch'i, Barbarian Kings
Ulm, Black Forest
Utgard, Well of Urd