Posted: March 8, 2014
If you aren't sure - find the demo, which blocks technology progress at something like level 5. This game has a very long (but not too steep) learning curve. I'm just now beginning to read the manual that goes along with it.
So what do you want from a game?
If you want a way to spend your time which is compelling: maybe sitting in front of the computer looking at the game itself and going through some grand strategy plan, or it might be reading the book that will gently unfold "every byte in the game" for you. If this sounds like fun (and it is!) then trust me, you won't regret buying this game.
Every "square" on the board begins at the start of the game as neutral (except for starting cities). As armies conquer squares, they contribute to your economy, but they are also then easily conquered unless you station vast defending armies (which you're rather use for conquering new squares). So it eventually becomes a land-grab game that I still haven't quite gotten my head around. It's quite difficult.
The depth in the game is an insane amount of content. Every time I play I'll discover some new item I didn't know could be forged. I'm sure there are people who know all this stuff, but it's quite something discovering new items or spells and the possibility of new strategies as a result.
There are also placement and timing strategies to look at.
And afflictions. I LOVE that heroes in the game can have afflictions!
Religion plays a big role adding flavor to the game and I still haven't quite grasped the historical references other than resemblences to myth. It's almost alien almost familiar - I like how they did it.
Dominions 3 also seems to be designed to play multiplayer by e-mail, so all moves by all players are concurrent (rather than taking turns) - this is one of the few turn-based games I'm aware of which uses concurrent moves - which is why battles are auto-resolved (they have to be). Even though battles are auto-resolved, as already mentioned, there are troop placement and timing strategies which will make a huge difference in battle outcomes (guaranteeing that troops arive at the front line all at the same time becomes a consideration).
The game does have a downside, which is the lack of automating some very repetitive tasks, such as what actions you always want a specific unit to use. My impression is that the game designers are really good at designing gameplay and background, but horrible at designing "workflow", which are repetitive tasks that eventually wear down the player. In it's defense, the game seems to be designed for multiplayer via e-mail - where you might make a few moves a day and games could go on for a very long time - rather than single player versus AI where you're making several moves every few minutes.