The game puts the players in the role of rules building a town. To do this you are building structures represented by the cards which have a cost. You are able to either gain coins or draw cards with your action every turn. So you are often building cash and then drawing and building. This would be very simple except for the other mechanic present in the game. Each player drafts a character that represents there patron or employee.
These character cards really change the game. First of you will see play order rotate from turn to turn as these character switch with each round of play. A nice strategy is to take the Warlord who acts last in a turn and then take the assassin who acts first. Some of the characters allow for stealing gold or cards which really adds another element to the game. If you constantly take a character and end up ahead of the game play you will often find yourself targeted for theft or otherwise hampered. It make certain character become very bad at times and very good at others. People often target the architect early on seeing the character as powerful. In the games played this character was often left alone when a leader presented himself with a large number of a particular type of structures. So character give extra cash for having a related type of building so a leader with religious buildings is aided by playing the bishop.
As we were playing a seven player game the turns were a little long. The recommended half to and hour game became three. A good point was everyone was able to quickly grasp the game and begin making coherent plays. People saw the leaders emerge and were able to use cards to attack them. This was good but often there was a bit of slow down in the selection of a character card. Which increased as the game went on and strategies were formulated.
All and all I think it was a good game. The building stuff is a bit simple by the characters add enough to the game to make it interesting. It did well enough as a seven player game, which was our requirement. For more information please check out Fantasy Flight Games.