Dominion is a medieval role playing / strategy / war game. You take control of a plot of land, called a "Dominion", that is within one of many Realms, each with a unique identification number, called "Realm Number." Each realm is comprised of at most 12 Dominions.
When you create your account, you are randomly placed into any Realm that does not already have 12 Dominions. The other Dominions in your realm are your allies, and the ultimate goal of Dominion is to be the biggest, strongest Realm in all of the land. Individually, you are working both towards that goal and to become the biggest, strongest Dominion. The better you coordinate your efforts with the rest of your Realm, the better of you are at completing both of those goals. In order to accomplish this, you must be sure you survive the length of the round. The only methods of death in Dominion are losing all of your land, reduction of your peasant population to zero, or prolonged inactivity.
Accomplishing those feats involve understanding all the facets of the game. When you create your account, you must select a race for you and your people. The good races include Humans, Dwarves, Wood Elves, Gnomes, Merfolk, Firewalkers, Sylvans and Halflings. The evil races span Icekin, Trolls, Goblins, Dark Elves, Kobolds, Lycanthropes, Lizardfolk, The Nox (note the Nox are only selectable by premium account holders) and the Undead. Each race has a unique set of bonuses and military units that are important to understand.
Your land does you little good until you have placed buildings on them. There are 7 unique land types (Plain, Mountain, Hill, Cavern, Water, Forest, and Swamp) and you may only place certain buildings on any given land type. You can, however, rezone your lands to convert one land type into any other land type. Once you have the right land for the buildings you would like to create, platinum (the currency of the world) and lumber may be spent to purchase the building.
Your castle, while not necessarily something you need to build up, is something that is integral to success later in the game. By improving your castle, you get added bonuses in a number of areas, including military strength, wizard strength, and income. These things can make or break a successful military operation or spell. Added income, on the other hand, is something you can always use, if not to build on your land, then to train your military.
Each race has a unique military. They all have a basic offensive unit that provides no defense, and a basic defensive unit that provides no offense. All races have 2 unique units that have special defensive and offensive powers, along with possibly other added special abilities. Each unit has different costs per race, and being able to calculate your offensive power versus a target's defensive power is key to succeeding in any battle.
Magic and Espionage are incredibly useful within the confines of the game. While neither will directly gain you land, they will allow you to do 2 important things: 1) Gain a slew of information regarding your enemies, including detailed analysis of their lands, military, and castle & 2) Hurt your enemies in ways other than direct military force.
How Things Work: Production (Platinum, Lumber, Gems, Ore), Population Gain, Drafting of military, Training, and just about everything else in Dominion occurs on the hour, every hour. What does this mean, exactly? Things occur in your Dominion whether you log in every hour or not. It doesn't mean that you have to log in every hour. "Turns" occur whether you log in to play every hour, or if you log in to play once a day. While it is to your advantage to log in every hour to spend your Dominion's resources to grow at the fastest rate possible, it is not necessary to do so. Most major actions, such as construction, training, and attacking take 9 hours to 12 hours to complete. This means after you, for example, attack another Dominion, your troops will not be available to attack again for another 12 hours. Thus, playing the game multiple times a day is helpful, but not integral to success.
Your economy is the key to your success. Optimization of your economy is essential for growth. Platinum is primarily used to train troops to attack and defend, and to explore, two of the more important things you will be doing in Dominion. The two primary ways in which you generate platinum is through employment of your peasants and alchemies. Each employed peasant generates 2.7 platinum per hour for your dominion. Ore is used primarily in the training of certain types of troops, and sometimes for investment into your castle. You gain ore primarily through ore mines. Lumber is used primarily for construction of buildings, and also sometimes for investment into your castle. Lumber is gained primarily through lumberyards. Gems are used only for castle investment, and are generated from diamond mines. Food is essential for your military and peasantry to eat, and is generate by farms.
Bonuses for production, military, magic and espionage depend on things like your castle, your race, and the buildings you put on your lands. Please note that Bonuses are cumulative and are then applied to the target value before the final numbers are calculated. Of note is that the prestige population and food bonus is a multiplicative bonus, not an additive bonus, though the prestige attack bonus is additive. Of important note is that there is a 50% cumulative platinum production bonus maximum.
You should also be aware that you will be assailed with game information in the following pages, and it takes some time to fully understand the game and every little detail.