At the beginning of the game, each player gets to select a fantasy race to control from a shuffled stack. Each race is paired with a separately shuffled stack of powers that modify what the troops of that race can do—for instance, if you pick up Wizards with a Flying power, you get bonus gold for occupying magic spaces (the Wizard’s feature) and you can send your troops anywhere on the board (the Flying feature). Once a player picks their characters, they get a set of tiles representing their troops, and on their turn use them to take over land on the board. As players expand their empire and come into conflict with each other, they eventually run out of useful tiles, which they can then turn over (the game calls this “going into decline”) and on their next turn pick a new race/power combo to use. This continues for a number of rounds depending on the number of players, and whoever has collected the most gold (earned mostly by acquiring land) throughout the game wins.
Source: James Austin (New York Times)