What they say about it
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is a beautiful game. It's a card taking, card playing, fun family game with short term goals (building the parts of the temple) that give short moments of satisfaction throughout the game. Even if a player loses, they still have fun and want to play again. Sure, there is a lot of makeup on this lady of a game, but it's only enhancing the fun that's already there. Days of Wonder hits another home run!
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects neatly fills the niche between mass market games and hard core "gamer's games". It's a tightrope act that Days of Wonder, judging from the well deserved success of its Ticket to Ride series, seems to have mastered. The way the cards in the marketplace are handled gives you some clue as to what you can expect to draw but, without perfect information, there's a sense of taking a chance - or playing it safe - that makes the game engaging without adding complexity. Cleopatra has enough decisions to keep you involved - from card/resource management to mosaic placement to offerings for corruption absolution - with just enough luck (in card draws and dice rolls) to allow you to blame a defeat on chance. And, despite all that's going on, the game is easily taught to those who enjoy games but don't breathe the European style of play that many of us take for granted.