Bonus review: “World Domination” for Windows Phone, and giveaway

Posted: 2013/04/04 in Indie Games

World DominationI’ve long been a fan of mobile gaming. My first handheld was an Atari Lynx. I then picked up a TurboExpress (portable TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine), which was an impressive piece of kit for its day (yes, I may be the only Canadian who adopted the British expression “piece of kit”; I grew up reading British gaming magazines, what can I say?). Other stops along the way included the Sega Nomad, the Game Boy Advance, the Nintendo DS, the PSP, and somewhere along the way I also picked up an original Game Boy and a Sega Game Gear (each for a song). I even did some Chao raising on a Dreamcast VMU on bus rides into work.

I played each successive system less and less. As I got into smartphones, I found myself doing mobile email and web browsing on the go, so that I was free to do big screen gaming when I got home having got the productivity stuff out of the way. All of that changed recently when I discovered “World Domination”, a strategy game for Windows Phone. It’s awesome (and, nicely, comes in a fully featured free version, with an optional paid enhancement that simply increases the number of games you can play at one time).

What I love about the game is that it’s managed to do something interesting with its inspiration. Let’s get one thing out of the way, its inspiration is undoubtedly and undeniably Risk, the venerable board game that I discovered about 30 years ago and have enjoyed ever since. But, here’s where things get a little interesting.

In Risk, I was often frustrated that I was forced to cash in my cards. If things were going well, and I could live without the reinforcements, why should I have to cash them in? To the best of my knowledge, all official variants of Risk force you to cash in your bonus-reinforcement generating cards when you hit a critical mass. Not so in “World Domination”. Cards are done away with, replaced by a system where you earn bonus reinforcements on each turn where you conquer at least one territory, and a single additional unit if you chose not to cash in your reinforcements in the previous turn.

I’ve been able to earn some obscenely high reinforcements that I cashed in on a single turn, but there’s risk/reward to it: to go that many turns without bonus armies means you’re providing a short-term advantage to opponents. It is therefore generally less useful in team play, but potentially extremely useful in free-for-all play.

Speaking of modes of play, the game has free online multiplayer (even in the free version of the game). Modes of play include 1 vs 1, 2v2, 3v3, 3 player free-for all (FFA), 4FFA, and 5FFA. Random matches and private matches are supported, and there’s a chat system within the game for those trying to find a specific kind of match, or just to socialise. And socialise they do. I’ve never seen such an active chat community in a game! It’s unreal how active the chat section of the game is.

The game’s controls are excellent. Territories are named after key cities (rather than regions, which actually makes more sense) and colour-coded based on who controls it. Just drag your finger from where you would like to attack from, to where you would like to attack to. Couldn’t be simpler. At the end of the match you can do a single unit transfer between any two allied territories that have a contiguous chain between them of territories your side controls. In team play (aka 2v2, and 3v3) you can actually deploy reinforcements into your allies’ territory (I don’t recall that being supported in any official Risk variant) or do a unit transfer to an ally at the end of a turn (ditto on not having seen that in an official Risk variant).

Last I checked with the developer, there were 16K registered players, of which about 1000 were very active. That was months ago and, from what I’ve seen, activity has done nothing but pick up steadily since then (probably in lock-step with Windows Phone’s growing popularity). At the present time I’m #2 in the global leaderboard, so I guess I’m pretty good at the game. The name’s “Mass Deduction” if any of you want to join the game and play me.

The game’s developer operates a server for the game at his own cost, and relies on donations to keep it running. He asks for a $1 donation if you like the game, so it’s kind of like the old “shareware” concept. If you donate, he increases the number of games you can have on the go from 4 to 10, but otherwise the game is the same. It’s also worth noting that the game has released steady post-release support from the developer. It also smartly supports both portrait and landscape modes (something FAR too many mobile games don’t do) letting you re-orient the map depending on what’s most useful to you at the time. I often attack in portrait mode, but do unit transfers in landscape mode, for example.

I have a bunch of free upgrades to the paid version of the game to give away. They’ll be doled out to people who leave a comment on this article requesting one, so if you have a Windows Phone then comment away!

If you like turn-based strategy games, I can’t recommend World Domination more highly.

  1. andregurov says:

    Sounds like a great game, and ideal for today’s mobile devices. I’ll admit, there are times I’ve hated Risk because the forced reinforcements punished you for having an early turn, and this method seems far more fair at holding the player to task for playing strategically rather than simply tactically. Too bad it isn’t on XBLIG, eh? I need to find a similar site for iPhones, I think!

    As an aside, what is the title you think most captures the gameplay of Risk on XBLIG? It is difficult to determine this based upon 10 minute trials, for me at least.

    • One of the problems of having done nearly 900 consecutive daily game recommendations, is I can’t remember the names of many of the games I reviewed hundreds of days ago! If you search the site for “board game Risk” or “Risk-like” you’ll find a few, though.

  2. David Loves Sandy says:

    WOW…I love Risk and was a local champ of the game. This sounds like it would be great but I don’t have a smart phone. Let me be honest here I don’t even have a dumb phone. I am one of the last who don’t have any mobile phones. I did however this last holiday pick me up my first Android tablet and found some really great games for free on there. Anyways, this article makes me want to (ALMOST) go pick up a windows phone.

    • Having had an iPhone and a couple of Android tablets, Windows Phone has them both easily beat from a user-interface point of view, IMO. I wouldn’t give up my Nokia Lumia 920 for anything right now.

  3. Casper Wind says:

    There are currently ~50K registered users and about 2K very active users. The game has been growing steadily. Next week the Windows 8 version will be released too, so even more people will be able to compete :)

  4. sbasion says:

    Nice blog and Nice game, wd.
    perfect for playing on ure phone. Love risk and dure love world domination, ill invite u soms dat md.


  5. If you get a chance try out Greed City for Windows Phone 8.

  6. hure says:

    Where can you find the retrieval key?

    • Sorry for the late response! The retrieval key is under “settings” (the sprocket at the bottom of the screen when you first fire the game up), at least for the Windows Phone version. The Windows 8 version is probably the same (I haven’t played it in a while).

  7. phildebin says:

    Great game! Thanks for this! Would love a free upgrade.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s