Recommended to me by Ralph Mazza, this is a pretty interesting title! It’s an abstract civ-building game in the style-ish of Through the Ages, but it’s fixated on your position in that beeeeeg colorful chart you see there on the table. Going left-to-right is your technology level; going up-and-down is your military level. They only advance. As they do, the intersection of your military and tech equals what government type you are, which in turn provides ongoing victory points.
Gameplay is quite simple but it requires you internalize a bunch of icons, Race for the Galaxy style. You have a hand of basic actions, and those never change (although you pick up a couple extra as your tech advances). You also have a random Advisor character, who basically acts like an action card; the game is subtly asymmetrical in that each color has a different set of advisors.
So, anyway, you start out by playing an action. Everyone reveals at once and then you play it out in turn order. You spend cubes to do stuff and to note where your civilization has expanded to on the world map way at the bottom — each region has a randomly assigned victory point value for holding it as well. Eventually you play a couple cards, and then at the end of the game three cards.
The vibe of your turn felt very Dominion like, in that you end up with an elaborate tableau of cards that are tapping and untapping and moving cubes around and then untapping again and then triggering thus and such effect. Kind of fun to build a big engine! And it can take a while to resolve what would otherwise be a pretty quick turn. Given we were playing a learning game, it wasn’t bad at all.
Four players finished the game in maybe 3.5 hours, again learning as we went.
There were some quibbles and some rough translation problems, but no show stoppers. I think we found only one place where the iconography — or the lack thereof — was disappointing: when you advance your tech to Navigate, it opens up some options that are explained only in the rulebook and not anywhere on the cards or the board. We lived.
I came in DFL as a super-belligerent barbarian society; a couple consumerist cultures ended up neck-and-neck at the front.
Pretty fun, and I think I’ll play it again with my less-facestabby crowd.