I played this first at a game board cafe and we had a games master teach us how to play; in the end, both he and our group were tearing our hair out in frustration. Once we finally got the hang of it enough to play without assistance it ran smoother, but it still wasn't as enjoyable and there were far too many rules to keep track of (some that we weren't even aware of until it came time to total the scores). It's a nice concept (love the history aspect) and at least allows players to keep their own gameplay to their placemat kingdom, but it makes it harder to see what everyone else is doing on theirs even though you're currently concerned with your immediate neighbours.
There aren't enough pieces for in game scoring which makes it harder for us to keep track and even though trying to outwit your neighbours is fun I find it less fun when you keep in mind that you have all these friends you're in game with but only a few that you're directly playing with (it's like a tournament where you're scored against other gamers even though you're in the same game).
I would not recommend anyone under 18 play this game as it is way too convoluted. My group only ended up playing one more game after the first one; we just couldn't take any more of it. It really did have a cool concept but required way too much to make it work. I don't need something to be simple, I just want all the parts to be unified and fit together perfectly and this game lacked that well-thought out feel. I wouldn't ever play this game again but perhaps others might have a better opinion of it. Just try it before you buy it as I would have regretted buying this outright without knowing the frustration ahead (in learning to play and in teaching others).