A History of Dominomics

Posted Jun 16, 2012
Last Updated Apr 16, 2013

Dominomics started it’s life a prototype board game called McCatholics. In the board game, there were four major corporations who fought to control the world’s population. Players fought each other for control of the corporations. The winner was the player who could gain enough control that she became the puppet master of the majority of the world’s population. Originally, the four corporations were three real companies and the Catholic church, but it seemed like using real brands would be an issue, so the names were changed. My sister suggested the name Dominomics, a portmanteau of domination and economics. 

Although the board game was fun, it took about 5 hours to play, and there really isn’t much of a market for a euro-style board game that takes 5 hours. The project was shelved after I graduated from college, and other projects took its place.

Several years later, when looking through a box of old stuff from college, I found the Dominomics prototype. At the time, Facebook games that had social interaction components were becoming popular. I wondered if there was a way to adapt Dominomics to take weeks to play and be playable by hundreds of people. I was always a fan of BBS door games like Trade Wars 2002, so I envisioned a multi-shard game that persisted for a couple months or two until there was a winner, and then reset. 

 While searching for similar games, I discovered eRepublik, a massively-multiplayer online social strategy game. That game had many of the same concepts, although very different mechanics, than Dominomics. It was a full featured Risk-like wargame where the outcome of battles was determined by the economic and social prowess of the participants. Better yet, it had a single-shard persistent world. eRepublik was a great module of a geopolitical simulator. 

Lessons I learned while playing eRepublik have shaped the plans for Dominomics. The tone and major mechanic of Dominomics remain the same: manipulate the world to your own advantage. I plan on making the game single-shard, and including war. However, the game will have a much more "mercenary” feel than eRepublik. 

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