I bought Antike recently and was keen to try since the game looked excellent from the rules. Bill was also keen to try it and actually played a 5-player game a few days earlier with another group.
English side of the board. I had Greece and Arabia and Bill had Phoenicia and Persia.
The game was decided pretty early, as I built some Arabian armies, researched the wheel and went after Persia. But it was all too soon. I could not keep the pressure on and Bill's counter attacks were supported by a better resource base. This left Arabia very weak, so Persia could support Phoenicia against Greece.
The problem was that although the outcome was pretty clear pretty early on the game degenerated into an arms race, with most turns being Iron followed by Arming. No-one could afford to choose anything else for fear of losing territories.
With Persia having a strong resource base it could produce 7 Armies to Arabia's 4-5, so eventually Arabia was worn down - after 2.5 hours of fighting.
Meanwhile, Greece had some good gains against Phoenicia, but Persia could provide support via the Black Sea if Phoenicia was really in trouble. The key moment was a combined attack by Persia and Phoenicia which destroyed my temple and iron production in Byzantium. From then on Greece struggled to keep up as well.
When we called the game off Phoenicia had 6 VPs and was the likely winner.
1. Antike is a very good game. I imagine that this was pretty-much the worst case experience for me - a long, drawn out affair which I was always going to lose after the first few turns - but I still enjoyed it.
2. It is very hard to back down once the Arms race begins.
3. The game is unforgiving on bad mistakes - this is a good thing.
4. In 2-player, you really need to have your two civs work together. Bill did this more effectively than me.
5. The technologies and all worth getting - but when? The wheel is very powerful.
6. Provided you play a generally 'solid' strategic game I get the feeling that tactical play is more important in winning the game. Maneuvering your forces well is crucial.