You are a God! You are master and ruler of a loyal nation. You have unimaginable powers at your disposal. You have claimed this world as yours. But there are others who stand in your way. You must defeat and destroy these pretenders. Only then can you ascend to godhood and become the new Pantokrator.
User reviews: Very Positive (455 reviews)
Release Date: Dec 5, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"...a deep game that rewards foresight and long-term strategy."
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Recent updates View all (7)

November 4, 2014

Dominions 4.14

This is quite a large update with 2 completely new nations of which one that spans over all 3 eras. It also comes with a bunch of bug fixes, balance changes as well as some new features. For those interested in modding, this update has event modding added with over 200 new mod commands as well as some additions and fixes to the old modding capabilities.

2 completely new nations: Xibalba (EA, MA & LA) and Nazca (MA)
Mace dmg 4 -> 5
Horror improvements
Improved battle reports for some attacks with temporary monsters
Icons for Disease Res and Dominion Spreader
Network protocol updated, server & client must be updated at the same time
Better enforcement of magic item rules
Wrong icon for battle menu
Typos and stat fixes
Star of Heroes only strikes one magic armor part at a time
Wrong range for multiple missile weapons
Transformation bug fixed
Internal damage (e.g. incinerate, disintegrate) always hits body
Event update
New epithets
Pretender and disciple blesses all units every round
Added some descriptions that were missing
Improved magic item info
Updated insanity orders
Could not use magic item rituals while sieging
Enforce no orders for undisciplined squads
One unit too much from certain send spells
Onaqui random S -> random F
Some rituals could pass through domes unhindered, fixed
New ability: Poisonous Skin
Units target random squares in battle more often
Spell name change: Blood Vengeance -> Damage Reversal
Coastal income bonus info bug fix
Scrying from sites was broken
Squad size not updated after 'remove unable units'
Heart Finding effect now an internal damage
Changes to Erinya's weapons
Wild Hunt conj 9 -> 7
Kindly Ones conj 9 -> 8
Sorcerer pretender for MA Machaka was missing
Bouda pretender for EA Machaka was missing
Barrier (artifact) cannot be used by mounted units
Nonmounted units -2 def / attack, mounted -1 def / attack
New mod command: #limitedregen
Cannot steal mercs blood slaves with 'V'
Graphics for Seraphine/High Seraph prophets were missing
Overpopulation improvement
False cheat detection during fort construction fixed
Random event monster count bug fix
Vengeance of the dead did not ignore orders like other assassinations
Too much info in F1 in certain circumstances
File handle leak fixed
Theurg communicants did not work properly
Negative forge bonus did not work
Valkyrie got light lance like other flyers

AI war states now reset between games

Event modding added (over 200 new mod commands)
Possible to make global ritual and nation effects with event modding
Modding: #holyboost didn't work properly
New mod commands: #raiseonkill, #raiseshape, #prophetshape, #insane
New mod commands: #clear (for weapons and armors), #copyweapon, #copyarmor
New mod command: #diseaseres
Mod downloading during game setup could lock up the game
Modded nations with nation number > 127 didn't work with network play
Mod #dmg can take higher numbers
Modding: Heat-/Coldrec 0 now works

11 comments Read more

August 11, 2014

Dominions 4.10

Dominions update 4.10 has now been released. It features bug fixes, balance changes, many new modding commands, improved performance as well as some small new features.

Disciples now have half the prison time of pretenders
Turn generation performance improvements
Coast & cave income bonus for forts printed
Wooden towers could not be built
No coast fort income bonus during storms or ice
Some pretender cost changes
Caelum can no longer have the Virtue
Berytos coast income bonus 25 -> 10
Star of Heroes can destroy magic armors too
Flails extra bad underwater
Spenta and Gannag lost invulnerability
Ahura of water has reduced retinue
Improved siege message
Casting Iron Walls on sieged castles adds to defence
Regain AP up to at least 2 each round
Some sites can no longer appear in caves
Black Mirror ritual can now only be cast by astral mages
Impassable border type
Crown of Overmight autocasts its spell
New magic items: Champion's Cuirass and Armor of Knights
Spectral Shield protection 7 -> 15
Flying units never get more fatigue than for 20 squares
New hero for Ragha
Random artifacts removed from random events
Temple gem income shown in temple info
New spells known for independents
Arm loss removal from Picus's axe didn't result in drop of magic weapons
'V' to pool blood slaves to a commander
Click pretender name to goto pretender
Moloch can be chosen by Abysia
Axes of rulership only 1 attack, but improved stats
Iron blizzard increased fatigue
Some more spells got blunt/slash/pierce damage
Magma Bolt got a secondary burn effect
Berytos Summon Se'ir now only summons one being
Plants cannot be turned into soulless
Scrying from sites now happens before rituals and battles
Some spell effects were not affected by some scale altering effects
Proper fly rules regarding earthquake immunity
Throne of Air airshield 20 -> 40
Burn damage dependent on size
Improved spell sorting
Transformation Alt 7->6, nature 3->2
Transformation ritual improvements
Knight & Knight Commander sprites updated
Lost eyes and arms did not always heal properly
Scoregraphs can go higher
Shrunken gnomes now get reduced Str/HP as well
Improved sacred rules
Encased in ice could last after battle
Mexican female gods didn't get proper names
Descriptions for Sobek heroes
EA Caelum defense no longer has Iron Crows
Missing slave guardian added for R'lyeh
Rain enchantment now makes it snow in cold provinces
Rain and snow fixes
Rain only doubles the spell's fatigue (not enc) for fire battle spells
Rain heat aura reduction 3 -> 2
New spell: Vermin Feast
Item already forged takes priority over insufficient skill level
Network tried to download nonexisting file after your were eliminated
Communion fatigue drain fix
Scrollbar in province chronicles works now
Rain of Toads research 4->5, cost 10->20, unrest 40->30
Forest Dome research 7->6
Gift of Health research 6->7, nature 5->6
Summon Se'ir -> Scapegoats (summons 2 se'ir)
Dome of Flaming death has a chance of destroying lab
Error if failing to delete old game in network game as well
Death Curse has no magic resistance roll
Return keypress can exit view throne screen
Fata morgana affects team mates too
Fata morgana PD only works in friendly dominion
Mechanical Militia and Guardians of the Deep affects team mates too
Improved weapon info for lesser swallow
Summon giant rituals cheaper
Unburied corpses decay slightly faster
Resistances against shock/cold stun didn't work properly
Gift of Kurgi protective force 10 -> 20
Typos fixed
Many stat fixes

Improved AI spell targeting regarding MR

Auto mod download didn't work while setting up a new game.
Automatic mod error check after enabling a mod
#nofemale and #onlyfemale removed
New nation command: #templegems
New monster commands: #xpshape, #command, #magiccommand, #undcommand, #startingaff, #fixedresearch
New monster commands: #slothresearch, #startitem, #iceforging, #scalewalls, #heatrec, #coldrec
New monster commands: #aciddigest, #acidshield, #drake, #dungeon
New monster commands: #plant, #transformation, #...attuned
New item commands: #clearallitems, #command, #magiccommands, #undcommand, #noimmobile
New item commands: #onlyimmobile, #slothresearch, #iceforging, #scalewalls, #aciddigest, #acidshield
New weapon commands: #dt_aff, #uwok, #nouw
New spell command: #clearallspells
Modding: can use 0 values on magic items
Modding: max length for descriptions 1000 -> 2000
Modding: #restricted didn't work properly on magic items
Improved error messages for modding

4 comments Read more

About This Game

You are a God! You are master and ruler of a loyal nation. You have unimaginable powers at your disposal. You have claimed this world as yours. But there are others who stand in your way. You must defeat and destroy these pretenders. Only then can you ascend to godhood and become the new Pantokrator.

In Dominions you take control of a powerful being that rules a nation and aspires to godhood. The type of Pretender Gods can vary from magically powerful arch mages to huge titans or large monuments. The pretender gods have different strengths dependent on what kind of god you choose and what nation you play.

When you start the game you decide what kind of god you are and how your Dominion affects your lands and followers. It is an expression of your divine might and the faith of your followers. If your dominion dies, so do you. Your dominion also inspires your sacred warriors and gives them powers derived from your dominion.

In order to win and become the one true god you have to defeat your enemies one of three different ways: conquer their lands, extinguish their dominion or claim the Thrones of Ascension.

In Dominions 4 you can also play team games where one of the players take the role of supreme god, and the other members of the team are his servants and loyal subjects. The lesser gods rule their nations, but you all share the dominion of the supreme god.

Dominions is set in a fantasy world that draws inspiration from historical nations, cultures and myths. You will not encounter the elves of conventional fantasy in this game. Instead you might lead a nation of vanir from old norse myth. Aztecs, romans, israelites, greeks, shona and kievian rus are just a few of the inspirational sources of the game.

The first Dominions game was released in 2002 and was well received by strategy gamers. Since then Dominions has been much refined and Dominions series is still actively played making it one of the longest running 4x turn based strategy games.

Dominions 4 is also a highly moddable game. You can create your own monsters, spells and entire nations. Since Dominions 3 there has been a vivid modding community and Dominions 4 will enhance this capability even further.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: 1 GHz
    • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • OS: 10.3 or later
    • Processor: 1 GHz
    • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • OS: any 32 or 64-bit distro
    • Processor: 1 GHz
    • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL and libSDL1.2
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
269 of 287 people (94%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 9, 2014
I probably spent more total hours playing the original Sid Meier's Civilization than any other video game I've played. In the 23 years since I first fired up that work of art, Grand Stategy and 4x games have remained squarely at the center of my videogaming life. There have been many wonderful entries, notably Master of Orion, Age of Wonders, Alpha Centauri, and Nobunaga's Ambition. More recently the folks from Paradox and Slitherine have churned out some great games. And it would be a mistake not to offer a nod to Arcen for AI War and The Last Federation.
But nothing, not one of them, gave me that same feeling I felt when I sat down in front of that computer so many years ago to bend my young will upon the task of conquering the world once again.
Until I played Dominions 4.
Its gameplay is entirely unique and original, as are the premise and the worldbuilding. There is enormous depth and diversity, such that I have barely scratched the surface in the few dozen hours I've played (much of it offline, travelling and whatnot). I can spend hours just flipping through menus and reading descriptions and statistics, changing and rechanging formations and assignments, research and building projects, trying to anticipate the choices that will be most useful 5 or 10 turns out. Each turn is essentially a planning phase, and all player's turns execute and resolve simultaneously, which adds of level of tension often missing in turn-based games. Furthermore- and this is one of my favorite aspects of the game- there is only what amounts to the equivalent of Paradox's "Ironman" mode. You can only save when you quit. You have to live with the consequences of your choices, and with random events and the vicissitudes of RNG, in your quest to claim the Thrones of Ascension and apotheate from Pretender to some sort of All-Father figure. I lose more often than I win (which is, frankly, how I like my videogames- absurdly challenging), but the fight is glorious, and I learn a little bit more, and play a little better next time.
And everytime I sit down and load it up, and that music starts to play, I feel that old familiar tingly rush of anticipation, my mind sharpening itself like a razor, heart thumping hard and steady, a small, satisfied smile slowly pulling up the edges of my lips and settling in for the long task before me.
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83 of 89 people (93%) found this review helpful
118.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 24, 2014
If i had to describe Dominions 4 to someone who has never played before, i would for sure use dangerous words as Risk, Civilization and Heroes of Might & Magic. Among the turn-based heroic fantasy strategy games (sorry), Dominions is the ugly guy that no one is talking to. If you dare to speak to him he'll give you access to an amazing world. But not before 3 quests:

- Overcome ugliness: Dominions 4 is ugly, the screenshots dont lie! Units are 2D sprites, poorly animated and there's a good reason for that: content. I dont wanna go into numbers but with so many units, spells, magic items.. you can't expect a shadered 3D model reflecting the sun through tree leafs. Try to imagine the map as a a real map someone just scrolled in front of you asking: how are we going to make those guys believe in you? About the battles: it's somehow poorly animated (but everything is visible i.e units/spells/damage) but i can't find the words to express how i felt in front of my first 300vs300 battle, spells going on from both side, oh man that was awesome.

- Provide a proof of imagination. What is going on in Dominions 4 is the rise&fall of your God in a world where Gods are in competition with each other. This is your story and it's even more funny if you can put yourself into it. There is a large background (descriptions for each races, heroes, units...) to help you with this.

- Get ready for complexity. This game is deep, really deep. The learning curve is slow & long but not frustrating. You'll be amazed how detailed things are. Last game my god got killed cause one of my sorcerer casted an armor spells which explode on death, guess who took the blast? Not mentioning my 1 armed/1eyed Heroic centurion commanding the largest part of the empire's army. The interface is strange, but i can't say it's bad cause i got used to it after a couple of hours, and you can play with the mouse only. There's also a huge 400 page manual (27 pages for tutorial) to explain everything.

Heavily recommended

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91 of 101 people (90%) found this review helpful
36.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 5, 2014
Have you ever tried board games such as Warhammer or Confrontation ?

Now forget everything and take characters inspired of mythology/legends and stories from the whole world, a huge variety of units (with 3 new factions, the game has more than 1000 different units!!!!) and a deep turn based strategy... and you have Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension.

Behind its aspect rought around the edges, Dominion is an extraordinary game capable to be a true competitor against table games such as Warhammer and others.

You start by choosing a culture and a pretender god. This character will lead your faction through the game and keeping him alive is extremely important even if you can bring him back after a while. You can customize his appearance (around 20 skins per faction) and his skills to suit your gameplay: Will you be a terrible fighter relying on massiv armies, a talented spell caster focused on searching and summoning powerfull spells or maybe the both and wait few turns until he awakes from his dormant state ?

Dominion is a turn based strategy game where you, the pretender god, have to exterminate every other factions or sit on one of the Thrones of Ascension to reach a new plane of existence and became the god above all other pretender gods.

You start with a main fortress with different bonus and buildings depending on what kind of faction you have choosen.
As an example my favourite faction is R'yleh: Fallen star, inspired of Lovecraft's Cthulhu, this faction has a portal named the "Void gate" where you can try to summon new creatures by using a competent summoner.
Even if you can get some of the most dangerous units of the game, the void gate can bring hostile monsters capable to kill your wizards.

Like for every factions, everything has its price, thinking and planning carefully are keys for victory.
All factions are different and quite a lot of them forces you to learn an other way to play the game.

As an example R'yleh is mainly based on brainwashed magical units and when you need to use humans or humanoid troops, you will be forced to get new commanders and divide your army because magic beeings can only be lead by a magical commander.
Add to that the moral and the supplies your army needs wich can affect their health or worst, to be more encline to fail against the enemy dominion and run away.

Dominion is an other great aspect of the game. It represents the spread of the culture and the religion of your faction.
Each pretender god can boost its dominion to give malus to the enemy or bonus to his land.
And it's where the game is clever because quite early you will have to choose if you rush into the battle with spells or try to stay back and research in new magical disciplines to summon many things or affect enemy dominion, ect....

The game is quite open and give you the ability to enjoy quite a lot of strategies. The A.I is really powerfull and has always, ALWAYS, a way to get the upper hand.

The screenshots you see on the store page are the recordings of some battles.
As a turn-based strategy game, you have to plan everything, from the spell your wizards will cast in the battle, to the actions/ movements your squads will do.
You can even choose a formation with bonus and malus. Will you trample the infantry and rush to these coward archers ? Or let you wizards/ range units rain hell upon enemy heroes ?
There are plenty ways to manage fights even if you can't act during them.
But be ware ! You can enable events wich can affect you on every tiles of the map or everybody and sometimes things turns really bad...

The most important aspect in Dominion is magic wich is related to an enormous tree of research.
You can summon creatures, structures, cast world wide spells, teleport your units, bless and give tons of abilities to your troops such as invisibility, the gift of underwater breathing or flying, ect...
You can even forge magical items to give to your commanders !
Every spells must but prepared and choosed before each fights or you can let your commander decide but you won't get all the subtleties of magic.

Each school of magic is related to a mana gem that you can gather on the map or with special events. Some kind of currency between your units, you have to manage and give them to you commanders before they go to war. The more you have the better, some schools of magic need slaves for sacrifices and of course give powerfull spells but reduces the stability and the population of your regions. Some factions are even unable to recruit units with gold, so you will have to spare mana gems for the invocation of new troops or commanders !

But i will stop here for the gameplay because nobody can deal about every aspects in a review.
This game is unforgivable and has a slow paced learning curve as many said the game manual has 400 pages...

400 PAGES ! (Thanks to Niky 45 because I was wrong about the number of pages)

So you understand why it can be so hard to talk about everything this game has to offer ^^

As an example my last game session: after few hours (22 hours !!) of fail attempts to master Ry'leth and the map i've choosed (the game has quite a ot of maps with different strategies, to master one is allready a prowess...), I was beaten by and army from a corner of the map (hate thoses war elephants !!!) capable to trample my best commanders and units and with spells I've never seen before !
I had an army of arround 2000 or 3000 units and Ry'leth has covered about 2 tiers of the world after having slain 6 pretender gods.
My pretender god, Kraahaul the Void Lord, died in a miserable fight against this suddent powerfull new enemy...

And you know what ? I want more !

Even if you can't build much structures ( only labs, temples and 3 types of castles with their upgrades) and affect your population ( a research tree about the dominion itselft would have been great), or use diplomatic skills between factions (you are at war with everybody) this game is really good.

In fact the perfect strategy game would be a mixt of Dominion, Total War and Warhammer.
I hope to see the day when this kind of game will come !

If you are not scared about a very hard/deep strategy game and simple graphics try Dominion 4: Throne of Ascension.
You won't be disapointed...

And i put you to the test to master R'yleh: Fallen star and spread the void and the tentacles of the Starspawns on all over the world !


This is why i love this game ^^

N.B: i've forgot, this game has a multiplayer. Yeah i know i'm a coward... because i haven't tried it !
Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension is a game for men, be ware !
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220 of 362 people (61%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
64.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2014
Summary: Two words: BO-RING!
Pros: Tons of content; thoughtful and imaginitive faction design
Cons: Flat, lifeless delivery; wealth of detail does not translate to depth of play

First off, I have to add a significant caveat: a couple of comments on this review have noted that Dominions 4 is primarily intended as a multiplayer game, and so my review is inherently flawed since I'm looking at it as a single player game. That may be so, though I don't see how we're supposed to know that in advance -- they certainly don't advertise it that way. But I'll concede that point and note that this review is targeted mainly at folks interested in the single player experience.

Anyway... I *really* wanted to like this game. I've been a strategy game addict going back to the days of board games with thousands of little cardboard counters. So I was as excited as a puppy when I read that Dominions 4 has a 400 page manual. It had to have incredible depth, right? Wrong. It has a lot of *content*, but that's not the same thing.

Dominions 4 has hundreds of different spells and units -- but who cares when you can't actually use them? The game ultimately revolves *entirely* around combat, but combat is always resolved automatically. At best you're a spectator, but after watching a dozen or so battles with a new faction to get a feel for what combination of units works well, you probably won't even bother with that.

And without the ability to participate in combat, there just isn't that much to do. Despite the creative and well-researched styles particular to each of the many playable factions, no matter which faction you choose, gameplay quickly degenerates into a tedious slog of building units, moving them to the front, and throwing them into combat. Build, move, repeat.

The game has features like combat scripting and magic items, but unfortunately they don't affect the *experience* provided by the game. For example, you can craft a magic sword and equip your army commander with it, but the only difference that makes is that when you read the next battle report, your army's losses might be 10% less. If that's your idea of fun, good for you, but as far as I'm concerned it's about as exciting as playing a spreadsheet.

The game can be broken into two main parts: the strategic level, where you build and move armies around the map; and the tactical level, where combat is resolved on a smaller-scale map containing all the units in the two conflicting armies. I'll contrast each of those parts to a game that I think does that part really well.

If grand strategy is your thing, I would say the state of the art is currently exemplified by the Europa Universalis franchise. In EU4 different nations really *do* play very differently, and you actually *do* have the option of pursuing many different strategies that make real differences both in how the game plays and in the outcomes you get. Maybe I'm missing something, but Dominions 4 hardly seems to have a strategic element to it at all. For all their different "background flavor", the different factions ultimately play virtually the same way. It really makes no difference whether your armies are composed of human swordsmen or giant hydras, whether your spellcasters specialize in blood magic or fire magic, whether your faction likes heat or cold or even lives underwater -- the only "strategy" you can pursue in this game is universal conquest, and the only strategic-level decisions to make are the order in which you attack enemy provinces.

There's some slight interest in choosing the best unit combinations for your army, but it's not that hard -- in fact it's mostly a rather tedious chore of comparing unit statistics -- and once you do that you don't ever have to bother looking at them again. Once you've chosen units A, B and C for your army, regardless of your faction it then boils down to "build 5 of A, 3 of B, and 6 of C" every turn, stacking them up, throwing them at the enemy, and then *reading* the combat results. Put all that together, and Dominions barely even qualifies as a strategy game. It certainly doesn't excel at it.

At the tactical level, Dominions is two or three *decades* behind the times. Consider the King's Bounty franchise: like Dominions, those games also feature lots of different units, spells and magic items; but unlike Dominions, you can actually *use* them in combat, where they have obvioiusly differing, tangible effects. What's more, you can *see* these effects via their superb unit and spell animations and sound effects. In fact, I'd argue that "despite" its vastly superior graphics and sound, King's Bounty is also a vastly superior combat simulation. Even if you're OK with Dominions simulating combat for you (and I don't see why you should be), there's just no way its AI is going to do a tenth as good a job as you could, regardless of any "scripting" you might do. Building and customizing your army requires every bit as much planning in King's Bounty as the nearest equivalent in Dominions 4 -- and it's about 1000 times more satisfying in its execution. In fact, combat resolution in Dominions is the most boring I've seen in a game since Risk. And that's a problem, because this game is entirely focused on combat.

The final page of the tutorial highlights just what I dislike about this game. It gives the example of how, if you want to invade a sea territory, you need to "plan ahead": you must first research construction magic until you know how to forge a ring of water breathing; and you also need a mage with sufficient skill to forge it; and you need enough magic gems to perform the construction; and then when it's all ready you give the ring to your army commander. This all sounded very exciting when I read it, but then when I did it, it was just colossally dull. There's no substance to any of these steps, and no payoff when it's been achieved. They amount to nothing more than selecting items from text menus, and when you do, the game looks and plays looks exactly like it did before, except now you can move that leader into water provinces. Whoopee.

Plus, the game doesn't have any personality -- there are no quests, no dialogue, no diplomacy. Again, this might be expected of a game whose focus is multiplayer, but that doesn't do any favors for the single player experience -- which, unfortunately, is as bland and lifeless as any game I've ever played. Above any other considerations, a game should be fun, and Dominions 4 just isn't.
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27 of 32 people (84%) found this review helpful
48.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 2, 2014
If you've ever thought about smashing Dwarf Fortress, Final Fantasy, Age of Mythology, and D&D together, then this game is what you've been waiting for, if you can be patient. Given the time, Dominions can be a charming, humbling, and very fun game, that you can always, always learn more about. Only the patrician need apply here, this game has a very steep learning curve, and shatters your confidence in your meagre skills the first time you want to play competitively. The game is rather pricey, so if you aren't sure you want to buy it, wait for a sale.
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19 of 24 people (79%) found this review helpful
205.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 15, 2014
Graphics and sound would have been good 20 years ago. Strategic gameplay is maybe the deepest of any non-abstract computer game ever made, but/and also entirely unbalanced, unforgiving and uncompromisingly hard. This is to say, you need to know exactly what you're doing at every point in the game or you'll just suddenly die (no matter how well you seem to be doing) and have to start over (or find another game if doing multiplayer). There is no save (Although you can backup the game-files manually to effectively make one). While this caters to the target audience perfectly (this game is 10/10 if spending about a year full-time, studying its every little nuance, appeals to you), but makes it a less than good game objectively.

The fantasy themes are very well presented, and the best part of the game is how it lets you create The Lion or The Witch of Narnia, or Gandalf or Sauron, or a DnD Lich-King, or a Titan of the Greek Mythologies or just about any classic powerful being as a pretender to godhood. No other game on any media have been able to mix a fraction of the themes or come close to portraying them as well as Illwinter. They also deserve kudos for being Indie before the concept was concieved.

Dominions 4 is a clear improvement to Dom 3, affording better graphics and implementing some important re-balancing.
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19 of 25 people (76%) found this review helpful
105.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2014
Over the first few games I played I had a very difficult time winning even on the normal AI settings, partly because I was playing as Early Age Yomi faction which is highly regarded as one of the weakest nations in the whole game. After playing for about the 6th or 7th time with other factions I came to the realization that while the game is quite fun learning how it works and discovering all the options that are avalailable to you there are 2 key things that make this game falling a few steps short of greatness which I will point out later in this review. Now please note that this is my first Dominions title I've played and I have no prior knowledge or experience playing of any of the titles before it.

First off let me say what I like about this game, and there's quite a lot to enjoy in such a involving strategy game such as this, but a few I like to mention are the amount of content and spells that is within the package and how each nation plus god that you play as feel worlds different from each other, with different nations having access to a variety of different units and even their own spells, for instance the Bakemono nation in the middle age has their own racial summons to summon Oni onto the world map. Even after all that variety with approximately a dozen of different nations for each age and leaders you can choose from the game is won only by acquiring a number (chosen at the start of the game) of different thrones of ascension that are scattered throughout the map which can have quite a significant impact on all nations nearby once they are claimed by a player. I won't go into the specifics on how they do so now as it would take a whole summary of the game to explain details in the game that are prominent and quite arduous to understand (such as how dominion works and how your empires influence spreads). Let's just say that when you acquire these thrones, apart from giving you additional resources in the form of mana crystals, they can make the lands that are surrounding them more arid, temperate, hot, cold, or even unlucky just by having someone in control of them which can cause a huge impact on your playstyle or how you strategize about future moves. Another thing I like is that when I lost battles I felt that it was my own fault for not paying attention and not giving orders to a commander or a unit, or to forget putting my units in better defensive positions to deal with the enemies units, and while the combat is automated I still felt I had control on the outcome of each battle, which is not an easy thing to do for a strategy game that encapsulates so many different tactics and decisions to be made. The last thing I would like to mention about the pros of this game is that while this game may ultimately seem complex to many new players, in actuality it is a really simple strategy game to learn as your primary concerns are conquering lands and claiming the thrones of ascension, but the amount of choices that you have to achieve that goal are massive.

Now on to my opinions on the flaws of the game. The 2 greatest flaws this game has is the diplomacy aspect of the game and the balance of each nation. Now normally the balance of each nation wouldn't be an issue for me in a strategy game like this but considering the degree of difficulty that can scale based on the nations you play can be quite offputting ESPECIALLY for new players trying to grasp the concepts of the game. It took myself 3 failed games and numerous attempts at reading strategy guides to try and figure out what I was doing wrong to win as the yomi in the early age and after failing miserably I finally pursued playing another nation that apparently was much more powerful and won with relative ease without that much of any challenge minus a few times where I had left my lands undefended, or stupidly throwing all of my units in a nation's home base. But balance issues aside, the one thing that I absolutely wish that this game did a better job of is diplomacy, and while I haven't played a game with the Disciple mode (where one nation is a pretender god and other nations are that god's disciples) the game is primarily focused on combat and map positioning as opposed to diplomatic relations and tech trading. And while you can research a massive amount of spells it would seem that having the better units in the army trumps out any spell that you can research midway throughout the game . Now I may be wrong on this for later spells that are high-end, but for every instance that I've played the spells that are cast in combat usually are a minor thing to worry about as opposed to whoever has the better quality and quantity of troops in battle. There are no peace treaties that you can formulate with other nations and one is forced to solve every situation in the game militaristically by conquering their neighbors and fighting for the thrones of ascension , which can be fun for while, but it leaves something to be desired. For instance, after around the 100th turn of a game or so I will still have some of the same enemies that I have dealt with handily since the start of the game that are still pestering me, and it gets kinda worn and laborious to cycle between creating troops, sending troops, and defending. Although I have only played on a Normal difficulty setting, the A.I. doesn't actively try to win the game by going straight for thrones of ascension but rather conquer lesser defended provinces of the player which is a decent enough strategy, but I feel is not realistic enough because any human player would immediately try to go for the victory points with as many units they have from the get go.

All in all Dominions 4 was worth my hard earned cash, as I have no gripes about the graphics (as I really don't care about how a game looks) or my experiences with the game and I do expect to play more of it in the future but probably on higher difficulty settings. But as I said at the beginning of this review, what stops this game from achieving greatness in my eyes is the fact that there are no diplomatic relations that you can have with the other nations and there are nations that are drastically better suited for winning the game than others.
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
568.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 26, 2014
This is the best strategy game on the market.

It looks like ♥♥♥♥ and has a terrible ui and a learning curve like a brick wall but it has so much depth that doesn't matter.

Buy it!
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 8
I was on the fence about whether to get this game for awhile, partly because of the price and partly because of quality concerns, since obviously a lot of time wasn't spent on making the game graphically pretty. I purchased the game on sale, but after having played it I would recommend it even for full price to anyone who's looking for a deep, complex strategy game.

Dominions 4 plays like a highly advanced fantasy version of Civilization or similar turn-based games. That's not to say that it's super difficult to play - the basic mechanics are pretty simple once you get the hang of the somewhat odd control scheme where LMB is used for most things where you'd normally expect to use RMB (RMB is always used to get more info on something, instead of giving orders). I was able to feel somewhat competent without any tutorials, having only watched some brief gameplay on YouTube. However the game reveals layer after layer of complexity once you really start getting into it, and it definitely follows the "easy to play, hard to master" philosophy. There will be a learning curve once you get beyond the basics - the manual is almost 400 pages long.

So, what can you do in this game that makes it worth the time instead of just playing a Civilization?
* Choose a faction and a pretender god as its leader from just about any mythology and creature you can think of. Dragons, wizards, lizard men, frost giants, weird fungus monsters, sea serpents, cthulu, you name it.
* Recruit a general for every one of your armies, with his own name (given by you), stats, equipment, and experience.
* Separate your armies into formations and give them orders to follow in battle (you still don't need to micromanage the battles themselves; they play out between turns)
* Sacrifice virgins to your blood god and use the power to summon demons or forge magical artifacts.
* Spread your icy dominion to freeze over rivers so your armies can cross it.
* Call forth an army of undead and march it into the sea to surprise your enemy or control undersea territory.
* Cast a spell to plunge the entire world into utter darkness.
* March huge armies over all the land, then suddenly lose the game because no one believes in your god anymore (yeah, that happened to me).

So if you can get past the graphics (yeah, I know, it takes a lot to get past the graphics), you'll be rewarded with a rich, cerebral, highly replayable game in Dominions 4.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
232.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2014
Today I had a grossly obese assassin sneak into enemy territory and try to kill a two-headed giant that had won multiple death matches and who was leading an army of vine men and unicorn riding knights in a war against the undead hordes that threatened the entire world. This game is great.
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23 of 36 people (64%) found this review helpful
32.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 27, 2014
Dominions 4 is a strategy game with no single-player campaign. It's all based around huge-scale single wars with the goal of becoming chief God, in single or multiplayer, that just escalate in scale as they go on. What starts with armies of dozens stabbing with swords and flinging basic magic spells like flickers of fire soon escalates into hundreds and thousands of troops clashing, with mythical beasts of various origins roaring and rampaging as ancient wizards call down great storms that rock nations.

The gameplay involves managing your nation. After designing your pretender God you choose what to recruit with recruitables divided between normal troops and commanders who can control different amounts of troops. It's a little more complicated with that but the game is easy to pick up. You then direct your commanders across a world map, taking over, reinforcing and just conquering the whole damn world.

There is a lot of variety in what you can play and how you can play. You choose from playing in the early ages, middle ages or late ages. The later the setting, the less magic there is in the world but the more advanced technology is. Playable nations come from a huge variety of influences. Some are historical, some mythological, some fictional and others more original. Only in this game can you play Three Kingdoms-era China battling a Lovecraftian army of horrors.

Overall, it's a very deep game but easy to pick up, with tons of content that any strategy fan should pick up!
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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 13, 2014
Do not take my "Hours Played" seriously! I originally purchased on Desura to get this earlier and have invested at least 100 hours on that version! I like this game so much, I actually bought it again when it came out on Steam (before Desura offered Steam keys!!).

If you've played Dom3, you already intend to buy it and I can recommend it whole-heartedly; if you're on the fence, let's hit the wavetops, shall we?

+A superior rendition of the Heroes of Might and Magic idea of world-conquest in a fantasy realm for the following reasons:
1)Larger worlds with actual terrain bonuses/negatives based on your race.
2)CUSTOM RACES! Build your own empire bonuses and leader/god (lower case) to meet your style of play.
3)Huge variety of units, spells, and gear to give your generals! You can hire, research, or smith to your heart's content, getting immersed in the RPG-style character management, the tactical setup, or the strategic conquest!
4)4X style game that allows for massive multiplayer engagements without feeling cumbersome. Team up with your friends to take on as many CPU enemies as you like, or crush them as well. Setup is very customizeable and there are different game modes and victory conditions to meet.
5)What other game lets you equip a water-breathing amulet and ambush your foes with a hand-picked team of crack troops lead by a Titan from the sea they thought you couldn't cross?

This game has serious depth, but can be adequately played and enjoyed whilst learning it. AI difficulty can be tweaked, numbers can be adjusted, and the sheer number of races split over 3 different ages (each has an iteration in one of 3 time periods, evolving to meet the slow loss of magical presence in the world), make for a game that has endless replayability and is quite accessible.

Do not let the graphics fool you, the gameplay is top-notch 4X gold that has been refined over 3 sequels. A welcome addition to any gamer's collection. Recommended if you like 4X games, turn-based strategy, HoMM, King's Bounty, or like games that have depth worthy of investigating, should you pursue them.
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23 of 37 people (62%) found this review helpful
192.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
Very intricate and complex.

Be prepared to spend hours learning how to play the game, and years mastering it.
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13 of 19 people (68%) found this review helpful
35.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 6, 2014
Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension brings me back to my younger days of playing strategic board games with the added bonus of godhood and divinity. In the game you control a pretender god and its respective nation of worshipers. Various thrones of ascension exist (based on how you configure the scenario) in different locations around the world map. By claiming enough thrones before the other pretender gods you can attain victory. Each nation has its own units, pretender gods, priest units, magical units and traits. Want to be a Cthulu-esque monstrosity which ushers its amphibious armies from the depths? Do it! Want to be a peace loving and fair deity skilled in the magics of nature? You got it! Forge magical items for your generals and prophets? Spread your dominion to all corners of the globe? Do you want to conduct sacrifices for different benefits? All of these things and more are possible. The game is not perfect, however, as the graphics are dated. And that is being very generous with my wording. I, however, with a deep love of grand strategy and fantasy have found the hours I've explored this game to be quite rewarding. If you enjoy grand strategy and are willing to invest time in swinging through a slightly steep learning curve then don't pass up this hidden gem. And, as always, support games that are more than just products. They are art! Cheers and good luck on your path to godhood!

EDIT: I also wanted to highly recommend the map entitled "Valanis." It is a user created map that is simply beautiful and intriguing. Happy gaming!
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
76.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 14, 2014
Utterly complex in the best way possible. Endless strategies and counter strategies to pursue. A game that rewards critical thinking, analysis, and meticulous planning. A truely unique multiplayer metagame that is reminiscent of diplomacy where anything goes. Very easy to learn, but impossible to truely master. Engaging and deep lore based on world mythologies and a rich history should you choose to explore it. Meticulously detailed combat\spellcasting mechanics and a laundry list of stats for every single of the thousands of units will satisfy the groggiest of the grognards. Massive variety in nation thematic styles, everything from your typical legions of undead, to giants who feed upon the population, demon apes, and insane naked women. The strategy game to end all strategy games. 10/10
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
352.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 20, 2014
If you are looking for a very elaborated fantacy strategy game, I would recommend this. In short, gameplay is excellent while the graphic/music is really bad in the year 2014. The current US$35 price is a bit too much so I would highly recommend it during a sales.

First of all, there are so many nations to be chosen from. For example, in "Early Age" setting, there are currently ("currently" because the Dev just added one new nation in a Nov 2014 patch) 29 nations each with different troops (some nations share the same troops because of the fantacy setting) and starting magic strength. As for magic, there are 8 types in total (Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Nature, Death, Astral, and Blood) while the research for spells are divided by schools instead of type (except for "Blood", which is both a school and type of magic) so that you can't really too concentrate your research on one school while ignoring the others.

As for buildings, there are only a few; I guess the Dev want you to spend gold on troops than fancy buildings.

Last but not least, there are hereos for each nation and generic heroes to be summoned by spells. When there are heroes available, you certainly want to equip them with fancy equipments... and yes... there are so many you can build as long as you have researched the magic school level and the magic resources. Although they are called "Heroes", they aren't invincible even if they have reached a high experience level or even if you teach them very high magic level. It is because experience only adds small increment to their combat skills while high magic level requires substantial investment and casting stronger magic creates alot more fatique (high fatique can kill them) to the hero. Further, you can't exactly revive heroes in Dominions 4, you can only bring them back as "mummy" which is a undead hero.

If you want to check how many nations, spells, or equipments, you can read the manual from its official website.

The graphic is really 2008 and there are only like 4 or 5 music in the game. Therefore, please do no expect too much.
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12 of 19 people (63%) found this review helpful
13.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
A good game, needs careful thought, at least until you learn the ropes. Emphasis of the game is on strategy, but if you like strategy I would recommend it. Graphics are old style, not demanding or whizz bang, so if you need your games to make use of a high end graphics card in order to be happy, then maybe not for you.....
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
203.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2014
Like Crusader Kings mixed with Master of Magic. The graphics are awful and the manual is intimidating but after a couple of learning games the core concepts click and the game gets real addictive
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
16.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 17, 2014
Dominions 4 probably presents the broadest array of distinct options I've ever seen in a strategy game, on top of a huge pile of mythologically inspired lore. And not just the western mythology stuff you've seen a million times either. You can summon a winged monkey-demon that wants to "gobble up the sun and plunge the world into an eternal slumber". He plunges the entire battlefield into darkness whenever he shows up. You can rain sacred flying jaguar demons on your enemies, free titans trapped in tartarus and nurse them back to health, and literally cause a zombie apocalypse. I've got a weakness for this kind of stuff, but the game is large enough you're bound to find a nation that appeals to you.

Not to say the game is without problems. The game's breadth makes it almost inaccessible, and as a game goes on, it increases your workload of fiddly micromanagement. Want to find errands for 30 wizards every turn? Dominions is the game for you. The game's mechanics are unnecessarily complex, and incompletely described in the long manual. The AI is almost non-existent, mostly useful for testing out tactics on the most basic level. The game is not especially balanced, and there are some awkward results of the game's committment to mythological versimilitude. (Women, across the board, have 1 less point of strength than men of the same group. Mechanically, this is largely insignificant, but it is still stupid.)

These problems are significant, and if you aren't entranced by Dominions 4's unique qualities, I don't recommend it. If you are entranced, this is, as far as I know, the only game of its kind.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
52.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 12, 2014
This game is the ♥♥♥♥ing ♥♥♥♥, seriously. So when you start the game, you get to pick what era you want to play in. Early, middle and late. Some factions only exist in one era, and some change from era to era, Ermor is basically the roman empire in early era and an undead ashen empire in middle era.

Anyway, so you got all these cool factions to choose from with awesome lore and backstory, there's like at least +30 factions and they all have unique units and spells. You get to create a pretender god that's basically your king, you pick his physical form, his proficiency in the different schools of magic (Death, Fire, Earth, Air etc) and the effects your god has on your dominion.

You got soldiers and you got commanders, commanders lead armies, perform rituals, build buildings, move around on the map, and they can also forge and equip items and search for magic sites in your realm. In this way Dominions 4 has an awesome RPG system, your commanders got stats and traits that affect a lot of things, not only their attributes. For example, there's an item for Ermor that allows my commander to summon 3 lictors for the price of one if I have it equipped. Some items let your armies and commander travel under water or fly. All sorts of cool ♥♥♥♥.

The empire management is awesome, you allocate commanders to research, forge items, lead armies, you search for magic sites that give you gems and other positive effects (or negative). You don't control the battles directly, but you do get to line up your armies, pick formation, give them orders (Attack rear, attack closest, stay behind troops etc etc) so you do have influence over the lineup and such.

I need to play this more but I find it the most fun to play with a human player, it adds challenge and is just fun overal.
10/10 would reccomend.
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