Claustrophobia – Global Dominance [Hivemind Review]

Global Dominance is an online social deduction game for remote play, created by Claustrophobia in Moscow, Russia.

Kim Jung Un cuddling a nuclear bomb and holding up a piece sign.

Format

Style of Play: social deduction game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 30 players (6 teams of 5 players each)

Play Time: 2 hours

Price: sliding scale between $5-$10 for 4-50 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Our large group of 30 players was split up into 6 teams (USA, Germany, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea). The game took place over 6 rounds, each round representing a year in gameplay. During a round we were sent by the host into our own national group chats, where we analyzed the situation and assigned resources to develop our cities, improve the environment, develop nuclear weapons, build nuclear shields, spy on other countries, sanction other countries, or launch our missiles at a city.

We were also permitted to have the host send one of our people as an ambassador to a different country’s private Zoom breakout room where we could discuss and negotiate.

To conclude a round, each team filled out a Google Form that committed our resources and decisions. At the end of each round we were brought back into the main room all together to see how things played out.

The game round order. News, debate, separate negotiations, and decision-making.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

Theresa Piazza’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Global Domination was a blast. Get some friends together and attempt to take over the world at your earliest convenience. I’ve played a handful of megagames, and can confirm this one “works.” Global Domination gives opportunities for talkative players to be diplomats, but also provides for reserved players to internally discuss strategy and for both roles to have an equal say in decisions the country makes. You’ll have the best time if your team strikes a balance between 1) trying to win the game and 2) giving your country some personality and making some decisions based on that personality. This is, hands down, the most fun I’ve had in a Zoom breakout room.

Brendan Lutz’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

In person megagames are something special, unique, and rare, due to the complexity and scale they typically need to operate. Global Dominance is an impressive digital adaptation of the megagame format. The mechanics and interactions never felt forced. In fact, interaction over Zoom with leaders of another warring nation was almost more thematically appropriate than it was a situational compromise. There’s still some room to grow with the game, but plenty of replayability, so no real reason to wait. I think you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Global Dominance was exactly what I needed during quarantine and I’d play this game over and over again. Claustrophobia took influences from other social deduction games and modified them for a well executed large-group game played over Zoom. The game had a nice balance for players to participate at their own pace, whether they wanted to be the president and give speeches between rounds, or quietly plot behind the scenes. The balance of spending your resources to help your own nation and strategizing with other teams to form alliances (or lie to their faces… shout-out to North Korea!) made the game engaging and fun throughout. There was one action our team wished there was more of an incentive to use, but otherwise the game felt balanced, fair, and exciting.

Nick Moran with a doctored German flag behind him, including a baby with a unicorn horn, milk & honey, a dove, a nuclear explosion, and Aynd Rand.

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

%^&* that was fun. And not remotely an escape room.

We assembled a group of our Patreon Supporters, Hivemind Reviewers, and the RECON team. We then proceeded to posture, manipulate, and ultimately nuke one another in a Zoom-facilitated take on the classic tabletop game Diplomacy.

Was this a roleplaying game, a strategy game, or a bluffing game? I’d say yes to all 3, to varying degrees depending upon the way each team approached the game. You can get away without roleplaying, but if you aren’t strategizing or lying to someone… you probably aren’t going to win.

Global Dominance was limited by the technology involved, particularly Zoom. It absolutely worked, but the fact that the game could only have one host meant that moving ambassadors to another country’s breakout room was a big bottleneck in gameplay. This was most pronounced in the intense, final, apocalyptic round of our playthrough. Additionally, there were rule nuances that weren’t clear until late in the game, such as, “Will the world be informed if a nuke was launched?” An FAQ could clarify the rules and make playing a lot easier for first-timers.

Now… the single biggest miss of this experience was that the email invitation didn’t have a time zone on it. We had a global team that spanned 3 continents and 5 countries… and some folks were confused, while others actually missed our game. This is 100% fixable.

Overall, I loved playing this game, and I’d eagerly do it again. This was among my favorite quarantine diversions.

Disclosure: Claustrophobia provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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2 thoughts on “Claustrophobia – Global Dominance [Hivemind Review]

  1. Thank you very much for inviting me to play! I wasn’t in the best headspace at the start of the game, and wireless issues meant that I joined about 20 minutes late. Nevertheless, I got into the game quickly and thoroughly enjoyed playing. The host/referee was excellent; the interface was a little clunky. It’s tempting to wonder whether other videoconferencing systems would be able to be a little more powerful in terms of people being able to split off and diplome with other nations, but I choose to believe that the hosts have investigated all the potential options and found this the least worst overall.

    Congratulations to our winners on the day, who were also among the MVPs in terms of adding fun to the game. I’m not sure if there are any tactics that are likely to prove dominant over the ones they used, particularly if people have played before, but there’s a difference between knowing a good set of tactics and being able to implement them well, and implementing those tactics would be a fascinating and funny challenge. Our team didn’t win, but we had a great deal of fun along the way and enjoyed the style of game we pushed ourselves into.

    1. I’m so glad that you were able to join. Lisa and I have wanted to play a game with you for years.

      And you’re right, the winning team also added so much to the story of the experience. I’m glad that you had fun.

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