I fell victim to one of the classic blunders - the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never fall behind in military strength when playing a civilisation game"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...
But I am getting ahead of myself. If you scrape off the colourful and spangly and very lovely bling that comes with my "Deluxified" (ugh) copy, The Flow of History is basically a card driven civ. Players are trying to add buildings and leaders and wonders to their personal nation, fight off attacks from their opponents (more on that later) and ultimately try to earn the most culture VPs.
The core of the game is how you acquire cards.
The standard way is a two-step process; first, you "invest" by putting your marker on a card, and placing a bid with resource coins. Then, on your next turn, you can complete the investment by taking the card, adding it to your nation, earning an investment bonus, and applying effects such as special abilities or attacks (hmm) or VP generators.
This is all very well, but it's a slow process (taking two turns) and it leaves you open to the other way of acquiring cards - sniping them from your opponents. You pay the investor the amount they bid on the card, then you get the card and they get some extra resource coins as compensation.
Interestingly, sniping is not as horrible as it sounds. You can mitigate against it by placing a high bid on a card, and sometimes having someone snipe a card is a good thing because you'll end up with more resource coins than you started with.
No, the toughest part of this game is the warfare. Attacks are triggered when you get a military card, and the attacker has to choose from the opponents who have less strength - even if they don't want to. This means you have to compete for highest military strength if you want to avoid being attacked and losing cards from your nation...
Anyway, my nation was decimated.
Final scores: Anthony 25, Phil 23, Stuart 17, Annie 14, Me 12