Our group was lucky enough to have the game explained to us by the author Krzysztof himself. He did an admirable job conveying the complex rules in a very clean manner and we managed to play about 1/3 of the game in about 40 minutes before we decided that we needed to see other games as well.
The game is best described as a hard core resource management and worker placement game. In order to score as many victory points as possible throughout the course the game's twelve turns, the players try to set up multi-stage production chains and compete to place their produce on outbound trade ships. During each turn, the players place their helpers on various locals in order to get money, acquire building rights to new buildings, have them constructed, activate their production abilities, exchange raw materials, trade intermediate produce or place the final wares on ships. In addition, the first player to place a worker on one locals is entitled to perform a privileged action. The game owes its complexity to way these actions have been implemented. Here are a few examples:
Buildings are represented by cards that have up to two colours. A building can only be build if placed adjacent to one of your buildings sharing a colour with it. Performing this action with privilege one can ignore this restriction.
Intermediate produce (e.g. leather that has been produced from cows and is used in production of arms and books) can be placed on the marketplace for a modest amount of victory points. This is useful as one might not be able to craft the final product yet. Other players can purchase intermediate products from the market place, but have to pay the player who placed them there.
I like the way most of the action have been implemented as they various ways the players can interact other than blocking placement options with their own helpers etc. The game felt as if it had been "crafted" with complexity as a design goal. As a result it is by no means for the faint of heart, but it should present and adequate and interesting challenge to fans of genre.
Edit: I meant to post this in "general", but I miss clicked and it passed as a review. Let me emphasise that this post is not a full review, it merely is an account of my impression based on an incomplete trial at Essen.
Appreciate your comments on the game. I think this game looks VERY interesting. Hoping to get a copy here in the US!