Dominion Expansion (a 4X LitRPG)

Dominion Expansion (a 4X LitRPG)

by Ace Arriande

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content

Clay is one of the world's top players of 4X games, a genre where the goal is to eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. He's also one of the only players in the world to so stubbornly stick to the one city strategy, a favorite tactic of his that involves only ever using a single city or planet depending on the game's setting. All that matters to him is winning with his favorite strategy, but earning the respect of his fellow players for taking a sub-optimal strategy to its highest level has always been a nice bonus.

And now it is because of his skill and entertaining determination that he has been chosen to represent a higher realm in a strategy game where the fate of Earth and dozens of other worlds are at stake. To the victor goes the spoils, and the spoils include entire worlds and billions of lives. That's how he ends up representing the ascended realm of Hell in a grand "game" between an entire pantheon of godly beings and other higher powers.

But while it may just be a game to those overseeing it, it is a genuine war for survival to those participating in it where billions of real lives will go to the victor of whoever wins, and many will die before the game is over.


Quick Author's Notes: System inspired by Civilization, Endless Legend, Stellaris, and Crusader Kings 2. Combat mechanics inspired by the Total War series. Slow-paced with many long-term plans. Protagonist has a personality heavily inspired by Ron Swanson. Know who that is and love him? You should like Clay. Know who Ron Swanson is and hate him? You'll probably hate Clay. Planning on writing every single day (turn). Days with important things happening will have the system/game mechanics be the priority of the chapter. Days where there isn't really anything important happening will be more slice-of-life and focused on character interactions. Designed a dice-based randomized map generator to create the world as the story goes on, so I don't even know myself exactly what's going to happen as a lot is dependent on world generation. Tech tree with hundreds of technologies already designed. There is a "harem," but it's not the main focus, the girls won't be cardboard cutouts, and I'm not going to completely forget about any previous women in the relationship whenever a new one comes along.

One last thing. The "game" starts off with primitive technology level. The current plan is for the "endgame" tech level to be equivilent to WW2-era technology. After that and war just gets boring until you end up in space.

Cover is temporary and made from royalty-free stock images while waiting for the real cover's commission to finish.

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Author
Ace Arriande

Ace Arriande

I was once called the "Unashamed King of Weeb Trash" when I first started posting here, so I guess that's my title.

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Azhkar
Overall

I dont have much experience writing reviews and english is not my native language so sorry for the typos. I just wanted to give my support and share my view on the story.

I like the concept a lot, Im a sucker for strategy games and i think the author is making justice to the games that the novel is based of ( The Civ series, Humankind, Endless Legend etc). The author managed to make an interesting twist on the the LitRPG genre by choosing something else besides a pure fantasy isekai generic story and it feels great. The system doesnt seem like and add-on just for the tag and its well thought and easy to understand (Except the explanation of the worker/population ratio that seems a little bit confusing (No big deal)) 

The biggest controversy this story has its the protagonist. His personality seems to put some of people off in the first chapters but its unwarranted. He seems like he is going to be a "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" guy, but he is absolutely not. He is just someone who holds the ideals of the american revolution of freedom and hard work in great regard. He is not the brainless fanatical patriot that appears to be at the start (He even supports workers unions). The only problem that I really have with him is his constant insults and jabs to people from other countries. He isnt a racist, he just calls people form other countries cowards or liars, not that big of a deal (I just feel mildly offended because im an european). Other than that I like the protagonist.

The romantic interest seems a little bit cliche but its not unlikeable. The other chracters seem likeable too but I cant say much more of them yet.

Overall I like the story and I think it has a lot of potential and I will continue reading it. I recomend it to everyone.

HamsterDesTodes
Overall

After reading the first handful of chapters, I had great hopes for something truly deep. A setup for the next book foreshadowed right from the prologue(!) An epic saga with a twist long in the making.

But let's take a step back and see how I got that impression.
The MC is extremely naive (the devil said something? must be true, let's work for him!), disdainful of 'lesser' countries and people ("Canadians need to apologise for existing") and sprouting completely over-the-top freeeeeedom monologues.
At the same time, he's shown to be historical rather ignorant and outright dense.

He must be a caricature, right?
He's explicitly told how tricky Lucifer entrapped revolutionaries to eradicate them all, yet he spent zero thought on how that may impact his actions. That maybe he should not slap the daughter of someone who can go toe to toe with God, at least not without very good - and tangible - reason. Or for that matter, not slap someone who can paralyze him with a thought on her own. Or incite lesser demons to revolt in general.

If that's not foreshadowing, what is?
I really thought we would see a gotcha-moment once he won the game (end of book X presumably) when the devil declared his real intentions and the MC would be banished (ought to be outright killed or course, but MC. What can you do, right?) and somehow has to rescue humanity from his own "success", all the while dealing with the consequences of his meaningless piss-off-the-higher-being-for-no-gain actions.

Unfortunately, that's when I read the author's notes. There the author shows that he's of the show- then-tell-something-different persuasion.
According to the notes, the MC's not racist, he's a jokester (yes that's right. When the MC _thinks_ that the Canadians have to apologise for existing, he's joking. To himself I guess.)
The MC doesn't hate other people, he hates other governments ("Only politicians and Europeans lie." ... I guess every single European is a government?) etc. pp.
Rather strange decision to piss off a lot of his potential readers by an author who relies on Patreon money to care for his ailing grandmother. But I digress, back to the review.

So my hopes for a twist are pretty much crushed. This won't be a story with a grand reveal and actual consequences, it's simply an MC with plot armor the thickness of the wall of china.
Now I expect the devil will turn out to be quite reasonable and all of the stick-it-to-the-man bullcrap the MC did will be entirely without consequences. He'll prolly end up sleeping with the devil's daughter. Damn :(

But enough of my whining about disappointed expectations based on a few first chapters (yes I see that I wasn't quite reasonable there, no need to rub it in).
On to the good points!
Beyond the awkward soap-boxing you'll find a deep system and hopefully (still on day 2 so no real clue) a nice base building story. Also, it's gonna be a long one if the day-to-chapter ratio stays the same. ~5 chapters per day right now, so there'll be a lot to read for sure, always a plus!
There are boxes galore including actual maps (maps! on royal road!). The game has a whole bunch of different terrains, additions to said terrain and a lot of bonus points on both. Techtree seems quite large as well, lots to discover there. We've already been teased about leader-units and the unit roster should be quite extensive as well. Given the MC's favourite playstyle there's bound to be lots of smaller, neutral civs, these will be interesting (and likely the source for the harem-tag. fantasy waifus!)

If you enjoy books like Civ CEO, Dragon's Mist or Civilization: Barbarians and don't mind the so-called humor, this may be the story for you.
I prefer my escapism without preaching so unfortunately, it may not be for me.

jadecriminal
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The opening was wibbly, what with takin satan at face value, over the top Murica Heck Yeah mini soap box (which are amusing af. "Nothing is more american then chinese buffets" Hilarious ) and the "I'm into bdsm" (Super easy to fuck up)

A lot of red flags.

But protagonis is actually respectful, going pedal to the metal "fake it till your anxiety meds wear off" fuck the arrogant rulers and you all matter

 and caused the plot to move forward by making satan himself flinch and make them an independant faction via abandonment.

Now the real game is starting.

 

Style: Choice of protagonsit and humor may put off some readers. But if they make it past they are exactly the right audience.
Grammar: Did not notice any (bad) grammar.

Story: Reserving judgement. After all he could yet turn out to be a the bad kind of sadistic, torture happy or start using the word loli a lot. Or Author could pull bullshit of of their buttocks. (Ending of Season 1 Code Geas Style. Game of throne ending. Or the Palpatine suddenly beeing alive again in star wars. )

Chracter: Nailed it. Seemingly a a carricature of a posterchild of hurr dur murica. Turns out that's exactly what he's trying to be because he hates what he'd be otherise. It would fail if he was a dick about it but I actually like the guy as of chapter 22

Overalll, objectively it's closer to 4 than 5 but a few extra fractions for originality.

It was going to be lower but chapter 20 are actually a payoff and now makes me interested.

Make it past 50 without raping or torturing anyone and I might just put it at 5.

QueenInRags
Overall

So far so good, I'm really getting a sense that quite a bit of work went into this novel so far, and it's a good sign. 

Overall I quite like the mechanics that are going on as well as the general theme of the story. The system and gamelike mechanics are unique and fresh and the setting is * Muah !!! 

However I do have some gripes with this novel 

What I don't like however is the obvious Romance bait and Gary Sue we have as the main character. Overall Id say they are decent enough for a web novel but let's be honest they aren't the most well-written characters . The romance or (hints at romance ) is also pretty cliche~ and horribly written in a way that feels like its being written by an alien who has never experienced an actual relationship or met an actual human girl. This may be purposeful to appeal to certain audiences. Most of the characters just come off with that one-note feeling.  Overall however so far I think that the rest of the story covers for this and I hope that continues forward. 

Sorry for the somewhat scalding review and contradictory five stars but the combination of an amazing setting and concept with standard horrible internet garbage is confusing me. Like good god has feminism died ?? Are realistic female characters too much to ask for ??? 

Icarus-570
Overall

As the title says, not my brand of humor, pretty well written otherwise.

The continuos America this, Americans that along with continuous pokes at Europeans and British got tiring pretty fast for me at least.

-Rambling for the 50 words-

Interesting concept with the civilizations vibes if maybe a little unrealistic the happy go lucky attitude with the non existing planing for late game from a character who supposedly has anxiety and is a top level player of strategy games.

AliceHealer
Overall

There are two sides to this story really.

4X: Wonderfully crafted system that makes you wanna play a 4X game.

MC: Flawed idealist who is trying to keep a straight face in insanity.

Although the author can get carried away with "america" rants its endearing enough and not actually racist in any way. A main character who actually has a personality is always appreciated even when they're a bit one note.

Made me pick up civ 6 so its a success in my eyes.

Mexxor
Overall

I love the concept of a 4X story. The system is great so far and the reasons why the MC does things within the system are well thought out. Not so sure about the rest of what he does, but you can't have everything. I'm mostly here for the game anyway. Kind of glad the MC also has some flaws so it doesn't get stale though. 

randomnerd
Overall

I'm going to be honest, I can't write a good review to save my life but I love this story and want to get the ratings up so I left one anyway (:

I'm just happy to get a litrpg based off something besides generic fantasy adventure or dungeon building. Not that I don't love those also, I just think this format has a lot more potential

Sorry for the lack of constructive criticism.

Mister Bill
Overall

Tons of screens! Good characters. Good writing. Worth a read!

I'm enjoying it so far, especially for the 4x stuff. Very well done. I like the worldbuilding and unique elements. I suggest you read it, too. Because it's enjoyable.

Wow reviews need a lot of words. I mean an absolute ton of them.

Pirate-Captain
Overall

While the concept is awesome its very anoying not being able to get a complete grasp of how many people a unit holds they talk abouth 2 spearmen units but they onlu have about 30 workers.

They say that a single milatery unit can controll 1 square. How do they have so many milatery workers and so little normal workers and the story from what i have read so far gives no grasp of how many men there are in a unit they only say unit now comparing that to how many workers they have i say about 5 men in a unit how is that reasnable for 5 men to take over a square.