You are a deity; a god—one among many, perhaps—looking down upon the earth, upon this curious species called humans, and upon their still more curious behaviors.
They’re very proud of themselves and their advancements, these humans, and they take themselves very seriously, what with their empire-building and their silly and relentless wars with one another.
They have no clue how tiny they seem to you, like clever insects—how thousands of years of their civilization pass for you in a matter of minutes, and how completely subject they are to your whims.
But, like them, you’re proud, too, ye god, and you do so very much delight when these humans notice you and praise you and create all these wonderful and diverse religions about you.
And your very favorite thing of all is when they marshall their greatest talents, and the earth’s most precious resources, and they build monuments to you and all your glory.
After all, where would they be at all if not for your influence and magnanimity?
The object of the game is to score as many points as possible, at the end of five progressive game ages (game phases) by influencing human activities (arranging card tableaus) and encouraging the construction of monuments (collecting suited sets).
The five nations of the game evolve through progressive game ages and through individual technology levels (tech levels). Different ages and tech levels dictate different circumstances and game rules.
The five tech levels loosely correspond to the five game ages, but it is important to remember that the tech level of any individual nation might not be the same as the current game age (one or more nations can be “behind the times”).
Any time a nation’s individual tech level advances beyond the current game age, it will cause the game age to advance by one increment.
Depending on other circumstances, other nations may or may not advance their own tech levels at the same time.
When any nation advances beyond the steel age (V) and into the atomic age (the sixth, unmarked age card), the game ends, and you proceed to scoring.
—description from the publisher