Seven players take control of seven nations. You can move around your armies and fleets trying to take supply centers but if you really want to get anywhere, you're going to need to ally with someone.
And then if you really want to win, you're going to have to backstab that sucker so skillfully that they'll never recover.
This is a game of persuasion, a game of lying, a game of backstabbing. It also seems to be a game of reading everyone else's mind as you figure out who is trustworthy and who is a liar.
It's an amazing game but don't play it with whiners who get emotionally invested in the game. I've heard many reports of tears and boards being flipped after people getting backstabbed. I haven't seen it myself but I still suggest on choosing your players carefully. You don't want them to cry after you stick the knife in.
I'll admit that this is a good game on paper and I've heard tons of stories from friends who loved their experiences. Yet, I've tried this 2-3 times and I've HATED it everytime. I even won once and I still hated the experience.
One of the ways you know you have a fairly distant, cold and harsh board game is when it's actually better suited to be played by e-mail. That was my first hint that this is probably a game I should not play.
I know of no other game that illicits such strong reactions from people when it is suggested as the next game to play. Everything from groans to glee.
Overall on the good side, you have LOTS of player interactions, VERY challenging (to stay awake), obviously 100% skill-based (like selling a used car), and the rules are very easy.
However, on the weak side, combat is really weird, the different starting powers are CLEARLY not balanced, VERY repetitive and worst of all, WAY TOO LONG.
So yeah, I'll give it a passing grade but I don't ever wanna play it again.