Even though I have Dominions 3, I recommend this. I might even enjoy this better, because it seems faster paced and less serious. You don't need much time investment to the starting game settings like in Dominions. Instead it's more of a rogue-like (I wanted to use this term rogue-like in an earlier review and thought "no all the rogue-like fans will get all over me about that" - but then saw another review using the term "rogue-like 4x" - yes that describes this game very well).
It's a rogue-like 4x with game saves! SAVES! Okay? All you rogue-like developer nutso's - think about adding game-saves to your rogue-likes - because I for one welcome our rogue-like game-saving not so much punsih the player when he makes a mistake overlords.
Okay.. so what else can I tell you?
The variety that's in Dominions still seems to be here - or most of it anyways. It's just buried under the hood. If I had a choice and could only buy one game between Dominions and Conquest of Elysium - I think I would pick this, just because it's a little more fun and not as taxing to play.
The game is so fast-paced (for a 4x) that several games can be played in succession. Yet it still has very much a Civilization 1 feeling to it.