Nothing like Innovation, and yet I can see why people compare them. You have to know the deck and the general strategic landscape to play well, and yet it's tactical and combo-heavy. In any case, I was a little surprised to find that I liked it, but I do.
One of the most gorgeous, involving, thematic games I've ever seen. A thrill to play, and a fabulous design. So much depth and variety in such a small box.
Bust cards make this game somewhat hard to play. I've played with 2 and with 3 players. 3 seemed ideal. If we add players I think it will bog down.Old style - puss your opponent sort of play.
I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this game, but the gameplay didn't really come through for me. Basically, you amass cards that give you different types of points in anticipation of a "topple" card coming out. You can see the topple cards coming, so when one is revealed, all the players try to make sure that none of the other players can win. While some might enjoy that type of dynamic, to me is seems obstructionist. Also, the art is very busy on the cards, making it very difficult to tell what is going on, which can be problematic since you really need to know what your opponents are up to.(1 play)
--Dec2012-- Lovely period colour combined with some Eklundian political rants. And then a lovely, subtle, volatile game layered on top. Yeah: there's quite a lot of randomness here. One's not always going to have a viable path forward. So even the most compelling win isn't entirely one's fault. But the journey toward the win (or loss) is entirely worth it: the game tells a great story, and allows one to participate sufficiently in the resolution to make the game compelling.
I'm not sure that the weird scoring system compensates adequately for the semi-random hoseage encouraged by the numerous "take that" cards. Add to that the capriciousness of the deck, whereby you might see cards that help the game-state along or you might not, and you have a package that doesn't quite seem to justify its rules grit or its playing time.
Initial rating is a 7. Still trying to get a SOLID grasp on the rules, but there are a few questions that don't appear to have answers. This is definitely a 9 if they get cleared up, but without knowing for certain, it dampens my enjoyment of this title. With that said, this is thematic as all hell. It's a definite buy, for certain... I just don't know where it fits on the scale, that's all. UPDATE (Dec 2015): Following roughly 20 more plays of this (Vassal, face-to-face with 2-4, solo), this is really solid, and quite deep. It has a press-your-luck mechanism that works really well from a political perspective inside the game. I'll never turn down a game of this. The trick, however, is that others tend to do so. Thanks to rickyroyal, there's a strong (and tough) variant that plays very well solo, in those situations.
One of the most well balanced and constructed games I have played. Ebbs and flows throughout the game as the player in the lead easily shifts, if one can even be identified due to the multiple ways to win. Sub selection of the complete deck used for each game makes it highly replayable.
To borrow a phrase from a friend of mine: "Munchkin for Adults." A take-that game with a patina of historic legitimacy. Typical nightmarish Eklund rules overhead, with war crimes-level of horrifying graphic design. Glad the system spawned Pax Pamir and Pax Renaissance, though. Trade Condition Notes: Like new. Cards removed from shrink, but unplayed
This game has the highest play-to-size ratio in my collection. With a single deck of cards and some tokens that fit into a small box, you can easily have two and a half hour sessions, packed with drama, strategy, battles, negotiation, clever tricks, and surprise victories. I can't tell how I feel about the game entirely; it is unique in my collection, and thus hard to place in comparison to other games. I like the depth and the various paths and processes to follow, but the high variability can result in some very lopsided play, and the complexity of setting up a win makes feeling confident with a win unusual.