Workers, buildings and nobles are needed to gain supremacy in Old Russia. Although mostly a card game, a board is used to help keep things straight and keep score. Players want to have the most fame points to win at the end of the game. Play follows four phases that are each scored as they end. First workers are collected in the worker phase. They tend to generate money. In the Building phase buildings are built. These usually produce fame but can produce money. Next, nobles are brought in. These generate fame and or money. They are also very important at the end of the game as they offer large bonuses. Finally, an upgrade phase allows the other three types to be improved.
A different player goes first in each phase and the sequence rotates after each complete cycle. Workers, buildings, nobles and upgrades are in the form of cards. Money is handles as paper Rubles. Small wooden tokens are used to keep track of who goes first. On each phase, cards are played into a pool with limited spaces. If cards are left over from a previous phase, they take up some of the spaces. Sometimes a player must take a card to ensure there will be enough spaces in the next phase so they will have a chance at getting one. Money is very important at the beginning of the game but it is fame points that will win it in the end (the end of a cycle where one or more card decks have run out). The more nobles you have at the end the better.
The game consists of a game board for laying out the cards and keeping score along the edges, four decks corresponding to the four phases, paper money, wooden phase tokens, and eight small player tokens. The game works best with four players but can be played with three. Game time runs between an hour and an hour and a half although speed is influenced by familiarity with the game. Very fun and good strategy without having to keep track of dozens of different things. It is an easy game to pick up and follow. Check it out.