Got to play this again this week at the "regular" session of the Dallas Games group.
As the title says, we had the same 4 players.
Play time: 2.5 hours! Of course, this was because we needed no rules explanation. 3 of us now own the game, and the 4th has a darn good memory. I believe it may have gone for 3 hours had one player not crowned Conan after the first adventure of the 3rd age.
Rules: One player was unclear on the point that ONE army could remove multiple "raider tokens". Since he won the game by 3 points, we were disinclined to listen to his whining.
What was different this time?
The player who crowned Conan did NOT win this time, but it did boost his score from 4th place to 3rd. In the after-game discussion, we all decided he went for the "crown" too soon, and really needed at least one more "adventure" to have enough time to conquer at least one more territory. I know I wanted one more attack! I finished 3 points behind the winner, and had 5 armies (and a metric ton of kingdom and strategy cards) poised to attack his defenseless 4 point province!
Even though we were much more familiar with the "dice choices", I had more fun, and felt more pressure, with each selection I made tonight. The familiarity with the choices made it easier to see long-range repercussions of decisions, and this made the game more intense.
In the first game, we all upgraded forts to cities with no exceptions. In this game, we passed on this in the first round, simply because we wanted those extra armies for military actions. This was a more aggressive game!
The different display of the "Objective cards" had an interesting effect on opening strategy. In short, the rules were familiar, but the options and goals seemed different. Very enjoyable!
To sum up again: it just keeps getting better!