Don't sweat it with Domina

I’m not convinced Domina is an actual game. The AI basically plays it for me. I’m sitting in the shade watching. I click the occasional decision, and it might not even be a decision of much consequence. But that’s fine. I shouldn’t have to mess with meaningful decisions. I’m just some rich ancient Roman gladiator manager living a life of luxury and maybe corruption. Corruption seems to take effort, but I guess it can also happen when I get a multiple choice question. Do I a) accept the bribe or b) reject the bribe? I don’t really need 50 ducats or whatever they are, so I just clicked one of the options to get the screen out of the way. “Who can be bothered?” is the theme of the game. I’m guessing “domina” is Latin for “Who can be bothered?”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Sometimes I feel we barely exist in the same universe. Domina has a “Very positive” rating on Steam of all places, and is by all accounts a quite well selling little game. Now, Mcdonals food and all that aside, thats usually a sign of a game that works on some level.

Anyways - I find Domina to be a fun, visceral experience (ha!), that finally lets me enjoy a sports sim without having me choose every single little thing.
I don’t have the same experience you do with having to get AI to 100 through meditation, but then again, I am not very clever, so I just compare stats and hope my guys win. Usually, they don’t , but at least I get a kick out of watching the games, and hoping my guys win!
You can also mindcontrol your gladiators, meaning you get to control them yourselves. Im pretty bad at it, but at least its an option.
Agree on the food though -thats just plain silly.

Anyways - interesting take on the game, even though , as I mentioned in the beginning, sometimes how we watch games differ so wildly its crazy!

la-la-la-la-la I can’t hear you. Domina is Great! Also love the soundtrack. And the pseudo-ending that means you have to play it through again with more of an eye on your liberating tendencies. And I haven’t even dared to control my own fighter(s) yet.

Overall agreed. I found that mind control was the only way to (sometimes) win fights stacked against me, but generally wasn’t worth it.

I think it’s a little silly just how important stats can be, and how stats come mostly from fighting battles instead of training (at least, according to the way I play). This makes the Legate and the Magistrate actually pretty important, since you can arrange an exhibition match with them anytime. Once you’ve gotten to the point where battles are just “my level 50 gladiator runs at yours and beheads him in a single strike,” then doing them every day means you very quickly have a level 200 gladiator (which I think is a new cap? I seem to recall getting much higher earlier). And at this stage it sort of isn’t a game anymore.

(At least, until you release that gladiator, and then are saying “wait, shit, how am I going to win any of the fights with these guys I have who have only been training?”)

I also liked how cheap the upkeep materials were, in part because on my first run I reflexively bought the people who gave you income per turn (because investments that pay off!), and then I realized “wait, my business is training gladiators, why the heck am I trying to farm instead?”

In case the words didn’t make it clear, there’s a rating at the end of the review that scientifically proves that I like Domina. It’s furthermore the seventh in a list of the ten best games of this year that you* haven’t played yet.


* well, not you guys specifically, but, you know

I’m okay with the focus on stats. It is a management game after all! But the importance of exhibition games has completely eluded me. I think I’ve been playing as if I should keep my guys alive above all else, because it’s so painful to lose you best dude(s).

So that means not making them fight any more than I have to. Hmm, that’s probably not the Right Way to play…

It seems that some of the employees are pretty much useless. Almost as if there in there to trick you into hiring them and wasting a lot. Ha ha, you hired the farmer and vintner when 100 food and 100 wine only costs 1 gold at the market!


I think that might be a borderline game-breaking cheese tactic. I read it somewhere way back when the game first came out. One of those things I almost wish I didn’t know.


Domina is IMO sort of a clicker game. You don’t need to click very much if you don’t want to, but it gives that part of your brain that likes to optimize and see the numbers go up lots of rewards.

The developer needs to do a sort of Darkest Dungeon themed Domina game, I’d play it.

When I click on the youtube link in the article it just takes me to my own list of videos that I’ve uploaded.

I haven’t played it, but watching it streamed, the lack of information about what’s going on in the battles killed it for me. Why give me the choice to upgrade someone’s helmet or greaves when I never know if they get hit in the head or legs?

Oops. Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

Just lie back and relax, says Domina. That stuff isn’t for you to bother with.

But as a dyed-in-the-wool strategy gamer, I completely understand the complaint. Out of curiosity, is that how sports management games work? You’re messing around with a bunch of numbers but when it comes time for the simulation to kick in, it’s essentially a black box?


Most of them, yes. Some have a little bit of in-game management, but there’s a whole “analyze the numbers, arrange your guys, and then sit back and watch it play out” aspect to the whole genre. It’s the type of thing I play (the OOTP series, especially) when I want to multi-task or just turn a portion of my mind off.

I only let the AI play out my fights, but I really wish there were a way to make them happen much, much more slowly.

Right now I can’t really see who did what or how or when. I want to actually watch the fights!

I realize this isn’t something many take into account, but the entire game is developed by one guy, I actually kinda admire how strict and focused his gameplay is - Im sure thats also the reason the game is so popular - it does what it sets out to do, and doesn’t get bogged down in feature creep.

As a principle @Miguk I think you hit upon something. If you can choose something in a game then you should have a way to manage or observe its impact at the same resolution.

Hmm good design rule of thumb. Thanks.

As a principle, yes. But that’s so NOT a principle at work in Domina. And it seems to me, as per @DantesWitness post above, that’s by design as the way sports management sims work. For me, it works in Domina because I’m playing a fat lazy wealthy Roman who can’t be bothered to care.

That said, if I wanted to play it more like, say, Burgess Meredith in Rocky, where I actually care about my fighters and know what I’m doing, it would be really nice to have some sort of log of the fight’s specifics, or at least a slo-mo option like @Mr_Bismarck suggests.


They added a feature where you can slow fights down to 1/2 of normal speed. It helps a lot in seeing what is going on, and means you can actually play some fights too.

Correct, its called blunt weapons if I recall, its in the options menu.

I have about 5-6 hours in , seen most of what there is, still haven’t made it to an ending where I don’t die. :p

Die?? Tom promised me a risk free life of decadent corruption. How do you die??

I don’t want to spoil it! :p

Fair enough :)