From the publisher :
The players will lead their Greek characters into a bold action of besieging Troy and rescuing the beautiful Helene.
The first one to reach 12 points will be the winner.
During the game, various stages will unfold and during these, the victory cards are put into play. As it happens, a player can make his own army stronger or weaken those of his opponents by playing the correct cards.
After the siege, the strongest players will receive a victory card of their choice, all cards in play will be discarded, and a new phase will unfold with the cards remaining in each player's hand. Each player will then receive 3 new cards and the next battle round will commence.
Iliad is a quick card game where players assemble an army to besiege Troy, with rewards offered for the strongest armies. The first player to gain 12 victory points wins the game. The game consists of a few decks of cards: victory cards, hero cards, oracle cards, and army cards. The game starts with each player being dealt a hand of 12 cards, hero cards are laid out according to the number of players, the victory deck is shuffled and the top 1 - 3 cards are revealed (based on the number of players), and finally the oracle deck is shuffled and the top card is revealed. The oracle deck determines which type of siege the players are engaging in; they are either fighting in a simple one-upmanship contest (Gorgon) where the player who has the strongest army at the start of his turn wins, or a full siege (Thanatos) that only ends when all players pass. At the end of every siege the winner gets his pick of victory cards and the first player marker (which is worth 1 victory point), and if it is a Thanatos siege the next strongest gets to choose next, until the weakest army takes the Thanatos card, which is worth negative victory points.
Each turn players may play a card from their hand onto the table, or choose to attack an opponent (usually with one of their units already on the table), or pass, which in a Thantos siege grants them the strongest available hero for that siege. The unit cards each have a strength, and like a game of rock-paper-scissors some cards can kill other cards. Other cards are support cards which help your army or offer defense against attacks. While there are no limits to the number of cards players can play in a siege players will only draw 3 cards between sieges, thus players must manage not only the current siege but future sieges.
The game is straightforward, and the math in adding up an army's strength is not taxing. The aspect of only drawing 3 cards per turn, with a hand limit of 12, helps to balance against strong hands. Furthermore, players will see the victory points available per siege and decide how many of their cards a particular siege is worth. The game is light, but the strategy is present, especially as players posture and cautiously build armies.