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iPad  header logo

Dominion HD

For: iPad

Walk softly and carry a big iPod touch

Product: Dominion HD | Developer: Dot Matrix Interactive Design | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPad | Genre: Multiplayer, Strategy | Players: 1-6 | Networking: wireless (network), on one device | Version: US
Dominion HD iPad, thumbnail 1
While much has changed in the course of human history, the rule of a few over many has been one of the defining characteristics of civilisation.

Kings have become presidents and audiences have turned into votes, but the fundamental idea remains the same.

Dominion HD
takes that political inclination to the extreme, putting you in charge of a march toward global authority. It's not a new idea - you may have heard of a little boardgame named Risk - but developer Dot Matrix has iterated in its own way on the formula and in the process drafted a worthwhile iPad game.

Rules are meant to be broken

The basic rules remain close to those used in the physical boardgame. In command of a monochromatic army, you're tasked with dominating the other players on the map. During each turn, you're free to deploy units in held territories and then annex neighbouring lands.

Battles boil down to the numbers: while a large force will put you at better odds of seizing a territory, winners are ultimately determined by a role of the dice.

Conditions for victory are customisable when playing under Advanced Warfare mode. However, the basic defeat-all-enemies rules are offered in Classic Warfare. Dominion HD also offers an objective-based Modern Warfare mode. Similar to Secret Mission Risk, you're given a range of tasks with the first person to complete three crowned the winner.

There's nothing particularly bold or fresh about Dominion HD, yet the sheer quality of design more than trumps any snivelling over originality. Same-screen multiplayer enables you and some friends to pass around an iPad for a quick contest and full online multiplayer is revelation.

Win-loss records are kept both within the game and via social gaming network Crystal, and a ranking system encourages you to invest time.

Touchscreen cartography

Five maps are provided, each carved up into territories loosely mirroring actual political regions: global war (i.e. world map), Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, and South America. North America, the Middle East, and Europe are curiously missing from the bunch, along with Northeast Asia.

Including these maps would fill in the obvious gaps, though a custom map sharing system comparable to the one used in iPhone and iPod touch game Lux DLX would be the best solution. Not only would it add indefinite value, but also put the onus on players to provide the maps they want instead of the developer.

By taking the turn-based formula and adapting it in smart fashion to iPad, Dominion HD takes command where other copycats have failed. Without question, it's your best option for a Risk fix.
Dominion HD
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 19 May 2010
A highly competent, even evolutionary spin on strategy boardgaming, Dominion HD pairs quality design with online multiplayer for the win
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