- Everyone plays at the same time, so there is little waiting on other players
- A fixed number of turns (18), so there are no game-suddenly-ended surprises, nor a worry that the game will go all night
- A three-act structure that allows for richer and more interesting things to happen late in the game
- Cumulative economy, so you can never find yourself bankrupt
- A simple system for trading with your neighbors, so who you sit next to really matters
- A very simple military system that never really feels cruel
In short, it is rich, and while it has some level of inherent complexity (military actions, scientific development, industry, building wonders) it all happens by playing simple cards, and so the complexity is wide, not deep, allowing for a lot of emergent gameplay because there are a lot of verbs, but the verbs are each simple and of the same form. I look forward to trying it again. No wonder this has so many awards -- it is very interesting and steamlined.