If you like the sort of game where you build a city, train troops, build an army, then go and battle other players, you should add Dominations to your iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet.

For the last two weeks I have been playing Dominations on the iPad, which is probably where it is best played thanks to its large screen and light weight, but the game is also available for the iPhone and Android phones and tablets. The bigger the screen, the more fun it will be.

The game genre is an old one and so the format will be familiar to many people, but if you like games of this type, and I do, then Dominations looks good and has addictive gameplay.

For those that have not played this type of game, you start off with a small stone-age village consisting of a few basic buildings and a few villagers. The villagers can be put to work and they will clear the forest around the village to make space and then they can be instructed to build new buildings. Over time the size of your village grows.

Dominations for iPad

Buildings are primitive at first, but they can be upgraded and upgrading the town centre takes you through the ages – stone game, iron age, classical age, and so on. I have not got there yet, but apparently you can progress all the way to the space age.

With each new age there are new types of building to construct and new technologies to research and each is better than the previous one. Villagers can be instructed to upgrade buildings and construct new ones.

New buildings and upgrades to existing ones cost either money or food. Villages are hunter gatherers and there are berry bushes to be harvested every few hours, and wild animals like deer, foxes, rabbits, wild boar and bears to be hunted in the surrounding forests. Caravans (camels) pace the streets and generate money from trade and stores need to be built for the food and money.

Dominations app for iPad

Barracks can be constructed and various types of soldiers on foot and horse, can be trained. These can then be sent into battle. There is a choice of playing against the game or playing against real players. Either way, you can steal money and gold, and this is a good way to build up your stash of both.

The main problem with games like this is that more powerful players, usually ones that have been around longer and have therefore had time to build up bigger armies, can pick on you and continually destroy your city and steal your resources. This can prevent you from progressing in the game and it is very off-putting.

Dominations limits the damage caused by player vs player battles. It seems to be more like a virtual battle, because your city can be completely destroyed in a battle, but when you return afterwards, everything is exactly the same as it was with no damage at all.

If you cannot be hurt, where is the fun? Actually, it is good fun to take part in player vs player battles. The game chooses opponents for you at random, and they are always close to your level. If you win, you gain medals and if you lose you lose medals. You progress by increasing your collection of medals and there are league tables showing who has won the most.

Dominations for iPad

It is also challenging to attack cities that have good defences, and if you lose, it costs you time and resources to build a new army and you lose medals. You can build defences for your own city and buildings can produce defensive soldiers and fire on the enemy.

My city has been destroyed many times over, but as it is sort of virtual battle, I have lost nothing. However, I have enjoyed frustrating attackers by building defences and have earned medals when they defeat the attacker. It is not a tower defence game, but in some ways it is a bit similar. You position your towers, buildings and walls in such a way as to kill the incoming army. Attackers can come from any direction and even multiple directions - you can place your attacking soldiers anywhere you like outside of a city.

New buildings, upgrading existing buildings, researching technologies, and training armies takes time and resources. The time can be shortened by using crowns and if you have sufficient, they complete the job immediately. A few crowns can be earned while playing the game and there are rewards for completing tasks, but impatient players can also purchase them with real money.

Games like this must find a delicate balance in several areas. You must be able to progress in the game without lots of in-app-purchases, and the gameplay must not allow experienced players dominate and wipe out new players who have yet to build a city and an army.

I think Dominations achieves this balance. Battles are fun, but do no noticeable damage and do not stop you progressing through the game. You can also quite happily play it without spending any money. If you want to race through from the stone age to the space age as fast as you can, you can buy a stack of crowns and instant-finish every build and upgrade, but I have found the progress without spending money to be slow, but still sufficiently entertaining. Maybe I'm just a patient person.

I like this game and if you are a fan of city building and combat, you will enjoy playing it too. It is free, so add it to your tablet or phone.

Title: Dominations (Apple store | Google store)
Price: Free
Developer: Nexon M Inc.
Size: 87MB (iOS), not specified (Android)
iOS: version 7 and up, Android: version 3.0 and up