Summary by Vitenka (based on v0.1): It's a geography claiming game, with a smattering of Dominion upgrading.
You have a tray of underlings, that you can activate for effect once a round (gain a cube or two, spend cubes to claim land) or you can pass; and gain the secondary (coin) effect - spending on either a cube, or on buying a new underling who sits on top of one of your existing ones replacing him.
At the end of the round, you then untap them all; may frobble underlings around a bit, and score a goal card from hand (for VP and cubes) if you have matching territory. On some rounds there's also known shared goals to score.
One interesting thing is that you can score each goal in hand a set number of times; and the rewards decay over time. But when scored, if you've set it up right, you may be able to gain multiples of the reward. So there's pressure to delay for a better payoff, as well as to pay off ASAP. --Vitenka
Give each player a player mat and one of each of the basic underlings (white dot): Architect, Woodsman, Gatherer, Artisan. Set aside the six basic Builders (white dot).
Sort all the [mission cards] into the 7 decks: Public Geography, Public Politics, Geography - Connected, Geography - Separated, Geometry - Connected, Geometry - Separated, and Politics.
Deal a random Public Geography mission card and a random Public Politics mission onto the round tracker. Put the other Public missions back in the box.
Deal each player 5 secret mission cards, one from each of the 5 decks. Look at your own missions, but keep them a secret from the other players. Shuffle the rest of the mission cards together to form a draw pile.
Shuffle the underling decks for Age I (rounds 1-3 - light grey dot), Age II (rounds 4-5 - dark grey dot) and Age III (rounds 6-7 - black dot).
Randomly determine a start player.
Lay out the six starting builders, and the four starting resource tiles (6 Wood, 4 Wood 2 Stone, 4 Wood 2 Gold, and 2 Wood 2 Stone 2 Gold).
Starting with the start player and going round clockwise, players take it in turn to take one of the Round Zero setup actions:
Take one of the six basic Builders and put it on your player mat. (Once per player).
Take one of the starting resource tiles, take resources from the supply as indicated on it, and put the tile back in the box. (Once per player.)
Place an initial settlement on the map next to a red citadel, as long as none of your existing settlements are next to that citadel. (Three times per player.)
Repeat until all players have a Builder, starting resources, and three initial settlements each next to a different citadel.
Then place all the remaining unclaimed basic Builders onto the underling hiring market.
Advance the round indicator to Round 1.
Set up for the round: Move last round's underlings from the top row of the hiring market to the bottom row. Add 4 more underlings from the current Age's deck to the top row of the public hiring market. Advance the start player marker to the next player in clockwise order.
A) Use the green "up" ability on one underling, moving it upwards. This will usually gain resources (wood, stone and/or gold), or let you spend resources to build settlements, upgrade settlements to cities, or move settlements around.
B) Use the yellow "down" ability on all of your remaining unused underlings, moving them all downwards. You gain coins, which are temporary (not represented by anything physical). You may buy one cube (£1 for wood or stone, £2 for gold), or one underling (for its cost in coins).
When you buy an underling, you get its green "up" effect as a oneoff. If it has any "on-buy" effects shown, you also get those.
After taking action B, you may change your active 5 underlings: you choose 5 of your total collection of underlings that you want to use next turn, and put those 5 on top of your player mat. Put any other underlings that you're not using into a personal "inactive" pile (e.g. tucked under your player mat). You can return them to your council in later turns.
Then you're done for this round. Other players who've not yet taken action B keep going round taking turns.
C) Change: Take one of your active underlings who you've not yet used this turn and exchange it for one from your supply of inactive underlings.
Once all players have passed (taken action B), advance the round indicator. For every round except the first this will mean you now have one or more scoring rounds.
On private scoring rounds: each player may score one of their personal mission cards. Either play a mission card from hand to in front of you and score it for the first time, or score a mission card that's already in front of you for the second time (then remove it from the game).
To score a mission card: It will describe the configuration of settlements and cities you need. [Examples.]
A settlement has value 1; a city has value 2.
A "grouping" of buildings of yours is simply several of your buildings adjacent to each other.
Two "separated groupings" must not have any chain of your structures linking them. Similarly, three separated groupings must each not be connected to either of the other two.
A "triangle cluster" is a group of 3 buildings all touching each other.
If you satisfy the requirements for the mission card, you get the bonus. It is possible to get twice or even three times the bonus:
When scoring a mission card, you can get twice the bonus if you can divide up your buildings into two sets, where each set satisfies the mission requirement. But in order to score the current bonus twice, your two sets must have no buildings in common at all. Any separated groupings must still be separated from each other even considering all your buildings.
To score three times the bonus, your three sets must each consist of entirely different sets of buildings, and so on.
The value of a scoring set is always 5 VP. Each scoring set also gains:
In rounds 1-3, several resource cubes as shown on the round tracker (1 Wood, 1 Stone, 1 Gold)
In rounds 4-5, a few cubes as shown on the round tracker (1 Wood, 1 Stone)
In rounds 6-7, no resource cubes
Each Geometry mission also grants you a bonus VP and a bonus cube per scoring set.
[Lots of examples of scoring go here.]
On public scoring rounds: each player scores their buildings against the indicated public mission card.
After the private scoring for rounds 3 and 6, each player scores the public Geography mission, with as many disjoint scoring sets as they can make.
After the private scoring for rounds 5 and 7, each player scores the public Politics mission, with as many disjoint scoring sets as they can make.
Each scoring round is self-contained. You forget whatever you may have scored in any previous scoring rounds. For example, buildings that were grouped together to score a personal mission card may be allocated to two different scoring sets during a public scoring round.