It's a great game but..... Despite the large number of cards available there are only a couple of strategies that are predominantly used. In particular "fast advance" and Scorched Earth. Scorched Earth in particular almost ruined the game for me.
Near perfection. It's so good I don't know what could be done to make it better. So why isn't it a 10? I find that the game typically revolves around Afghanistan and Pakistan. I realize that you can't fault it for this because that fits perfectly with the theme. In fact it should probably be applauded for capturing this theme so well. It just gets repetitive after playing half a dozen games. The scenarios that come with the game go a long way to squash this repetition. The rulebook is superb.
Good game if you can get it to the table. Everyone is right, it takes a long time and you need like minded folks willing to put in the commitment for that time. The good: It is THE grand strategic 4x game. The Bad: You win by collecting points. I find this so lame. Too many mechanisms and fiddling around for what it is trying to do. You have to have the first expansion and use it's strategy cards, the game is broken if you don't.