Starting a Game
Game creation and game playing in Dominions 6 are separate things. In order to start a new game, you must create it under Create World.
When you return to a game you have already created after the first time you play it, you choose Continue Old Game.
Creating a New Game
To create a new game, click on Create World in the opening menu screen. You’ll be asked to choose a map, which can be a pre-made map or a randomly created one.
The map will be generated once you have made all your choices for the game. The next step is to give the game a name.
This generates a folder with this name in the “savedgames” folder so you can find the files easily. You can access this from the Tools & Manuals menu under Other / Open User Data Directory.
You can start playing the game immediately from the creation menu. Once a game has been created and you have quit out of it for some reason, you can play it again by choosing Continue Old Game from the same menu, and selecting the appropriate one.
Choosing an Age
The next choice will be whether to play in the Early, Middle, or Late Ages. This determines the nations available. In general, Early Age nations have weaker troops and stronger mages.
Once you have selected an age, you can select the nation you and the AI player(s) will represent. The default is “Random” which will choose from the available list of nations. You can choose a specific nation by clicking on the word “Random” which will open a window listing the available nations for that Age. Then click on the nation you desire.
Nations cannot be duplicated – there can only be one of each in a given game. You can also set the AI players to specific nations in the same way. To add another player (either AI or human), click on “Add new player.” To remove a player from the game, click on the name of the nation (or on “Random” if you have not set a nation) and click on the word “None” at the bottom of the list of nations.
At the bottom of the Choose Participants screen is a checkbox for “Disciple Game.” This is a special type of game that will be explained below. Once you check this box, two additional columns will appear: one for Team and one for pretender/disciple.
You will not be able to click “Ok” (the choice will be greyed out) until each team has one and only one pretender (and any number of disciples). There is no requirement for balance among teams, or equal numbers of disciples, or having disciples at all. You can change teams and pretender/disciple status by clicking directly on the team number, or on the word “pretender” or “disciple.”
The disciple game is a team game which allows players to play in teams, but preserves the true nature of the world of Dominions, which is that it is all about pretenders aspiring to godhood. And there can only be one god in the end. So one player takes on the role of the pretender. All other players on his team (if there are any – there is no requirement for all pretenders in a disciple game to have disciples) play the part of his disciples.
Disciples do not create pretenders, they create disciples. A player has 400 points (rather than the usual 450 for pretenders) to create a disciple. Furthermore, disciples have no dominion or scales. They only choose physical form and magic paths. They also cannot choose whether they are awake or not from the beginning of the game.
They awaken in half the time of the pretender God, so only awake gods start with awake disciples. After all, it is they who are heralding the entrance of the pretender god. The temples of disciple players spread the dominion of their pretender god. The disciple unit itself does so, too, but as a prophet (the equivalent of one temple check).
Disciple units also get increases in strength, hit points, and magic resistance when they are in their pretender god’s dominion, just like prophets. In disciple games, no one can appoint prophets, neither the pretender player or the disciple players, since the disciples act as prophets. Prophets can only be appointed by pretenders that have no disciples.
After choosing which nations will participate in the game, you will be taken to the create pretender screen for each of the human players. Here you will create the Pretender God that will be in charge of your nation and possibly capture enough Thrones of Ascension to acquire full godhood.
Creating a pretender is an involved process that is described in the Pretender chapter of the manual.
Pretenders created here can be saved by clicking ctrl-s. By saving it you can load it into other games later by pressing ctrl-l in the pretender creation screen. In the Game Tools menu, there is also a pretender creation tool that can be used to create and save pretenders for future games.
The last issue is the game settings. These control the makeup of the world, as well as some options for renaming commanders, showing score graphs, and various other options.
The options are straightforward and are described by tooltips that appear when mousing over the different categories. Players can choose to make gold more or less available, change the frequency with which magic sites will appear, adjust the strength of independents, and many other things which will give the game a unique character. This is largely up to the players’ taste. For example, a game with a high independent strength will slow players’ expansion while they build larger armies to conquer adjacent provinces, and will prolong the time before enemy nations come into contact. Increasing magic (either sites or research) will hurt nations which have weak magic to begin with, because more magic-oriented nations will be able to start using more powerful magic faster. You’ll eventually get a feel for what works for you.
Score graphs contain a lot of information, and can take over a multiplayer game as everyone watches who has the most provinces, who has the biggest army, and thus who is seen as the biggest threat. It makes for a very different game if players have to scout for information, and diplomacy becomes more useful since it’s not immediately obvious that you have an army twice as big as your neighbor’s. The game plays very differently in multiplayer with score graphs on, as the prime objective becomes to not be the leader in any of the major categories, while not falling too far behind, either.
On the other hand, in solo games, especially for newbies, the score graphs can be valuable tools for gauging your progress and evaluating threats to your position. Use them wisely.
Units with the Spy ability give players access to score graphs, even if they are disabled. They cannot get information on enemy players unless they are in the enemy capital, however.
Setting a master password allows the host to go in and set a player’s position to computer control (and thus preserve the flow of the game) if a player drops out and his pretender is password-protected. For large multiplayer games where some attrition is likely, consider either setting a master password, or having a third party collect all the passwords for the game, to be used only if a player becomes unreachable.
While the usefulness of the master password is mostly the ability to give AI control to a dropped player, it does allow full access to a player’s position.
Limited Unique Artifact Forging Rate
This setting is on by default and limits players to forge a maximum of one unique artifact per game turn. Unique artifacts can only be forged once you have researched level 9 in Construction. By limiting the rate to one per turn it will also be meaningful for players with slower research to aim for artifact construction.
Limited Legendary Spell Research Rate
This is on by default and makes level 9 an epic research level, where you will only get one out of all the spells available on that level. You get to choose which spell you want to research, and it is possible to research level 9 multiple times to get all the spells if you want.
By default it is not possible to rename commanders. This can be changed with this option. If renaming is enabled you will be able to rename any commander except Pretender Gods, Disciples, Prophets and famous heroes. To rename a commander, inspect his stats and then press ‘r’ to rename.
Cheat prevention will try to prevent people from cheating and send messages to all players if anyone has been found doing something that is against the game rules. Cheat prevention only protects against players other than the host from cheating. The host must be trusted as he has full access to the game and can easily rewind turns without anyone noticing if he so wishes. Make sure to password protect your Pretender God if playing in an online multiplayer game, otherwise anyone might look at or alter your turn.
Throne Game Settings
By pressing the “Thrones” tab you will be able to set up the victory conditions. Winning by controlling enough Thrones of Ascension is the recommended and default victory condition. This can be changed to Conquer all if you prefer a game where you have to eliminate all other players.
From the tomes of the lore of Dominions
Ragha is a dual kingdom of fire and ice, rage and serenity. Half of the population are Abysian descendants from the isolated colony of Tur, and half are Airyan refugees from Caelum. Tur was a distant and prosperous Abysian colony founded after a successful military campaign against the giants of Ashdod. But the war with Ashdod had been taxing and the colony was cut off from the kingdom by an Arcoscephalean campaign through the fertile lands previously conquered by the giants. For centuries, Tur was left alone and an independent kingdom formed. Then came the Caelians. A great host of iceclad warriors descended upon the Turan armies on the plain of Ragha in the middle of winter. The Turan Shah realized that the Tur could not stand up to the Caelians for long. Tur was on the brink of destruction when the attacks suddenly stopped. Civil war had broken out in Caelum and the campaign was aborted. Instead, Caelian refugees and deserters settled on the plain of Ragha. Airyan Seraphs approached the Turan Shah and peace was negotiated. When the Harab Seraphs of Caelum attacked, the Airyas were saved by the gryphon riders of Tur. This sealed the truce and a strange alliance was formed. Ragha is now a society of two peoples united out of necessity. During winter the Airyas reign and during the summer the Turans reign. Even faith has evolved to mimic the legacy of the two peoples. Two different groups of beings are adored and worshiped. But this is starting to change. The One True God has arisen. The peoples of Ragha suffer less from hot or cold climates than the people of other nations.
This is a way to force the game to end after a certain number of turns. The Cataclysm will cause horrors to appear and start destroying Thrones of Ascension. (These are very powerful horrors.) Every Throne destroyed also reduces the number of Ascension points required, so a winner should appear shortly after the Cataclysm begins. In the unlikely event that no one owns a Throne as the last ones are destroyed, the horrors win.
During the cataclysm the magic scale will rise in the world and the magic ether will become corrupted. Casting rituals, forging magic items or empowering can all cause horrors to sense the mage and attack. The more gems used, the higher the chance of a really powerful horror appearing. The horrors that appear due to these magic activities will strike after the activity is finished, so it is possible to sacrifice a mage in order to forge an expensive item.
Here you can choose how many thrones of level 1 – 3 that will be on the map. A level 1 throne is worth 1 ascension point and will only be marginally more well guarded that an ordinary province. A level 3 throne is worth 3 ascension points and will be very difficult to take.
You can also set the total amount of Ascension Points required in order to become the Pantokrator (the true god) and win the game.
Dominions 6 has a number of options under this menu to create new pretenders, as well as manage pretenders you have already created. There is also a map editor, a tool for creating random maps with custom settings, as well as a shortcut to the directory where Dominions 6 stores your files.