Global Dominance is an online social deduction game for remote play, created by Claustrophobia in Moscow, Russia.
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
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.
Hivemind Review Scale
Theresa Piazza’s Reaction
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
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
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.
David Spira’s Reaction
%^&* 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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