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Conquer the world with history's greatest warlords under your command.
The game plays in 4 turns where each player plays a ruler from history and conquers territories using a simple dice mechanic. The deck of world conquerors cards generates effects and goals to modify and drive the action. If nobody has conquered the world by the end of the 4th turn to win immediately, the player whose empire got the largest at any given point wins.
Each card can be played in one of 3 ways: Generals allow you to place a pawn in that card's territory to be used for rerolls in combats in or adjacent to the territory. Playing cards as agents gives you one time effects that reflect that historical figure's abilities (Stalin assassinates, Victoria adds an extra die on a naval attack). Playing cards as rulers gives you their ability for the duration of your turn and sets a goal that reaching it will net you a power bonus at the end of your turn.
At the start of your turn, you're issued a number of tokens. This number escalates by one during each player turn to ramp up the epic nature of the game. You also get the bonus when somebody plays a ruler (including you) in one of your territories, and you'll get it at the end of your turn if you reach your ruler's goals. Tokens convert into armies controlling territories in successful attacks and are spent to pay for failed attacks and sea attacks as a Supply Cost. Each time you pay the Supply Cost, it escalates.
On your turn, you campaign by throwing one die for each territory you control adjacent to a target territory. The defender throws one die for their defending army plus another for each adjacent territory they control. The highest die wins. Losses and Naval attacks have an escalating Supply Cost. When you are unwilling or unable to pay the Supply cost, your turn ends. Make it count, though, because you only get four turns.
Strategic depth is layered onto this simple system by the deck of conqueror cards. Each historical figure has special powers based on their history, such as Erik the Red making unsupplied naval attacks, or Stalin using assassination to eliminate enemies. The cards may be played as your empire's ruler (which makes their power last your whole turn), a local agent (which gives you the power just once), or a general (which ignores their power but gives you combat rerolls). Ruler cards also have a strategic goal, such as Elizabeth's “No one else controls a continent” or Caesar's “Win 5 attacks.” Fulfilling these goals gets you a power bonus at the end of your turn