We enjoyed it. It was quick (first time play, with three players, maybe 15 minutes - I could see this taking only 8 minutes once players are veteran with the concept). It is am empire building game (sort of). All of the basics are there - resource management, economic growth, conquest, territorial gains, positional strategy. Sort of.
|The map (the game comes with two), cubes are armies, discs are cities, round tokens are a variant (preplaced resources)|
The game play is quite simple. There are a number of cards visible, and available. On your turn you select one and then add it to your growing collection of sets, that may be worth victory points at the end of the game (cards each have a resource on them, which combine into sets worth victory points). Each card also has 1 action that you perform, that affects the empire situation on the (simple, but attractive) game board. Some of the cards are "wild" which means they still have an action to perform, but may be used as any resource at the end of the game (to build larger sets).
The actions have to do with (1) placing armies, (2) moving armies, (3) removing opponent armies, (4) building cities. Cities are the same as an army, but once built cannot move, and cannot be removed.
The selection of a card may be free, or it may cost you some gold pieces (each player has a stash given to them at the beginning of the game, to allow judicious expenditure in order to take a card early in it's appearance into the game).
The end of the game has a score calculated based on (1) one point for each territory where you have the most pieces, (2) one point for each continent where you have the most pieces, (3) points based on the sets of resources you turn in.
Simple, decisions abound, nice straight forward strategy, two paths to victory (territory conquest, or cards).
In all, we think it is a win.