I always found that the reviews on this game were vague but after playing it for a while I see the reason. It is very hard to review this game.
The game is a great one and I do not find the learning curve to hard but the reason for that is that the other players started just like me. The external and internal conflicts look massive at first but become second nature after a game. Tile/leader placement must be done with the upmost regard to anything around!
Basic you play leaders in kingdoms and as such you score points when tiles of the same color are placed (followers)and no not meeples!
Black is King and will score for the other 3 colors if none of them are in that same kingdom.
As you know kingdoms come and go as in this game. When a opponent leader is placed you can decide to go head to head and resolve the outcome with red(priest) tiles or you can create your own kingdom with it and then connect the two kingdoms to see who has the better pull (plaing the leaders color tiles)
You always have 6 tiles at the beginning of the turn and you have two actions in any order you want.
-you can swap any amout of tiles with a fresh batch.
-you can (re)place a leader (internal conflicts with red tiles)
-you can place a tile (external conflicts with leaders color tiles) and you can build a monument when 4 of the same color tiles connect a square. these can rack up the points but other leaders could take it over!
-play a disaster tile to destroy a tile.
the game starts with ten tiles on the table with tresures. these act as wildcards for the VP total at the end of the game. Your weakest link is the one that wins so you need to balance all 4 factions in order to win.
A very well designed game with great value (lots of goodies in the box)
I'have seen some serious comebacks and this is one of the few games where you can easily catch up to the leader.
I would surely recommend this game to any player out there that find carsassonne to simple or ants to have a more serious game than the latest soft games.