We half played our first 3 player game over the weekend. Due to not knowing all the rules and cards, it took a long time. My son went terrorist early and was difficult to see how he couldn't lose. What is the sense of the game play? Is it like Risk in the sense at some point it is clear who will win and its just attrition after that. Or does cooperation come into play?
remembers me on my last 3 playersgame where one turned to terrorist early. I could win the game by cooperation. The 2 empires supported each other by fighting the terrorist player. Well, the game took nearly 3 hours. But it was possible. Beating terrorism is a hard fight. Like in real life
Going terrorist early is a "strong" strategy that can be hard to beat. However most people will consider this a weaker win. You should consider going terrorist as giving up and playing the AI against the other players.
Our first 3-player game lasted about 75 minutes, ending in a terrorist victory. (I knew I couldn't win over the remaining empire and had been in too many fights with him to ask for peace, so I turned Europe entirely terrorist, ending the game)
The second was a four-player game and took a little over three hours. In larger games, I think you're likely to have more complex relationships and therefore it may take longer.
My intuition (or perhaps it's just the way my friends and I play) is that this game can be extremely "swingy." You can't really engage in wars of attrition since developments are too expensive. You can, however, work up a nice fat hand full of useful cards and effectively wipe an opposing player out of a continent (or even entirely) in a single turn.