The game is mostly about Lebensraum, building up your empire, one people token at the time. The citizens procreate and fill the land. When there’s enough of them at one place, you swap them out for a city token and continue spreading your civilization elsewhere.
Players perform three to five actions each turn and their level of development affects the effectivity of these actions. There are always five actions to choose from: move, fight, have babies, have an idea, build a city.
The development track is interesting. Each turn is an era and at the end of an era, somebody is promoted to the next era and gets a bonus to something. Others will have to suffer from a very small technological disadvantage for a while, but everybody will catch up the leader next turn and then someone else might get the promotion.
What else… Combat is simple and luck-free. It’s a simple comparison of token amount plus bonuses from cards. There’s a bluffing element and an incentive to attack: a losing attacker loses just one token, while losing defender loses everything.
Sounds interesting and fairly simple. It should play pretty fast. Even though there’s fighting, the game will move on. Someone will get promoted each turn, and when someone is promoted to the last era, the game ends. There’s a fixed amount of turns, that is.
The victory points are a total of cities, occupied hexes and a bonus for reaching the last era. Here’s my biggest doubt about the game: the last turn will probably be full of blatant beat-the-perceived-leader action. However, you can only attack your neighbours, so that should tone it down.
After reading the rules, I’m definitely interested to try the game when I can get it.