Crowns takes about 20 minutes to learn, but it has sufficient depth that you may never master it. It is probably more like chess than it is like other games, but the differences are still astounding.
Because each player chooses their own army and sets up independently of their opponent, the number of possible Crowns games is far greater than the number of atoms in the observable universe. Additionally, Crowns pieces have special abilities that prevent the kind of threat buildup often encountered in chess. It is tough to protect your piece by threatening its potential captor if your enemy has pieces that can capture from a distance!
Crowns involves many levels of strategy. In addition to strategy during gameplay, Crowns involves a high level of meta-strategy. Because the player does not know the nature of an opponent’s forces until the game begins, difficult strategic decisions begin before the game even starts. You must choose a formation that can handle whatever your opponent throws at you — or maybe you think you know this person, so you take a risk and choose a formation that will tear them up if you’re correct.
From designer's website: http://crownsgame.com/about/