We sat down to play this and it maybe took 2.5 hours to learn & play. We aren't strangers to games at this point and everyone was fairly quick to take their turns.
Warlords amassed on japan and sat down to find out who would be the next emperor. Red began by establishing itself on the southwest island, Black put a stronghold on the west, purple played the middle northern lands, blue the east and yellow the southeast.
As the game progressed through to the first winter things were picking up speed, castles peppered the lands, theaters were well placed, even a few temples in pockets. Revolts were close at hands in most of the land, but fall saw a good harvest and there were no revolts to be head. Purple picked up a commanding lead having little competition for the north. Red from his island hideaway and black with their western stronghold were close at hand however.
Onto the final year, Yellow was denied key positions on the map and struggled to find a good strategy, black held the west but couldn't break the island to the south and had a sizable but single army in the east.
By the time the second Winter had hit, territories had been conquered and reconquered revolts had been settled lands had been pillaged and purple would command the lead from the middle of the map. By controlling opponents expansions and limiting them to their strongholds or pressuring them to besiege each other, purple was able to find the points it needed to stay in the lead.
Red ended up in second, with black, and yellow, blue a distant memory.
The game was the first time this particular group had played, was VERY well liked by a few and only moderately by one.
Would definitely play again.