So, since I ended up with one more sick day than anticipated (the flu, it sucks), I played some Dominions 4 yesterday and decided I was actually going to do it. I’m going to blog it out. And you all are going to help me, because when I set up the rules for the game, I enabled renaming. So all my commanders are ditching their crappy generic names like Maximus and becoming more like all of you. Once more, this is a big H/T to Syp and his Retro Gaming session with Master of Orion, which was probably the best blogging series I read in 2013. I immediately wanted to do something like it with a different 4X game, so this is my take on things. I call this blog-gaming, or blogaming. If at any time you think this is a cool idea but that I suck at explaining it, about six months ago PC Gamer did a similar playthrough, and you can read their excellent version starting here.
The first thing to do in Dominion is set the table. You have to decide how advanced civilization has become before the Pantokrator (chief omnipotent God) up and left for unknown reasons. Then you have to choose your civilization, from dozens of choices modeled on popular fantasy themes ranging from Howard and Lovecraft to the Bible and Assyrian mythology, with a ton of stops in between (including some historical ones). Then you have to create your Pretender God (demi god/supernatural being/archmage) who will guide that civilization on their hunt to ascend to the Pantrokrator’s throne.
I ponder what to do for my Pretender. Choices are myriad between form, magic powers, and dominion powers (things that affect your realm). Different forms have different perks. The Demilich is good at magic, not so good at leading people. A Cyclops is great on the battlefield for stomping foes into submission, but not much else. Etc. I finally settle in on an old favorite, the Forge Lord:
And since the Forge Lord is best at staying at home researching the arcane and building things, a suitable name was easy to come by:
And his people shall be perhaps my favorite ones, the Scelari. An offshoot of this world’s fantasy version of the Romans, their mages and priests averted a disaster with Death itself and now the civilization operates with “the living and the dead working side by side.” I will have access to Death and Astral magic, and my legions will be a combination of Hastati and undead, led by Lictors and Thaumaturgs. I also get one special unit, a Shadow Vestal. These are young women raised from birth and trained in battle and magic, who then voluntarily join with an ancestor spirit to form a sort of shadowy undead super soldier. They will be rare to begin with, but, later on….great shock troops.
The the game generates a small world for me and a half dozen other civilizations to fight over. The goals is to find and control the three provinces that contain the Thrones of Ascension, so that my Pretender can ascend and win forever and ever. (You could also cast an Ultimate Spell, or defeat all the other pretenders, etc. But thrones is generally the shortest way to win, and even in this way, this series might take some time!) It also gives me a few provinces already under my control, and a pair of leaders. A Scout to sneak around and give me reports, and a Centurion to lead my first army. I thumb through my RSS Reader and pull a couple of names.
Ysh will be the eyes and ears of the kingdom, and Rowan will find himself shortly elevated in rank – each player can choose one commander to become their “disciple” and gain extra powers. All that’s left to do is build an army, and get to searching!