Sadly my wife being away also seems to coincide with our youngest daughter deciding that sleep is an optional hinderance, and this leaves me with the slightly annoying problem of having the time and space to play something complicated whilst having the mental capacity of a cabbage. Still, I keep trying and occasionally it works out, sadly it's a little slow going this time round but I've been enjoying trying to figure the thing out.
Viceroys is a game of exploration and colonization, set in the age of exploration. It's pretty much 15th century 4X, you explore, make discoveries, colonize, produce wealth from those colonies, buy new units, fight natives, other players and pirates. It's all played out on an old school map, complete with the inaccuracies of the time which adds to the theme, though it is a little confusing to play on.
Luckily it comes with rules for non player characters so it's playable solitaire, as I'm not entirely sure it'll make it to the table with the group. It's old for one thing, 1986 though it feels like an old game, the pieces are old school cardboard counters with bad/non existent art, the cards are the old style thin stuff that came in sheets, it's got a ton of die roll modifiers to keep track of, it's looooonnng or at least I can see it taking a long time. The whole thing feels a little clunky in the way some of these old designs do.
There is a lot to like though, there's a lot of scope for interesting play, the diplomacy idea in particular sounds like it could be fun with people being able to make verbal or signed written treaties. Verbal treaties are just that and can be broken easily, but if you sign a written treaty then you lose victory points if you decide to break it. Each player takes on various "offices" to help run the actual game, and these offices bestow small benefits like extra income. There's land and naval combat, plus a system for war in Europe. There are lots of additional rules and intricacies, which make the whole thing seem more like a moddable system, though this is partly it's problem, especially with the particularly meandering rulebook which splits the rules up for no apparent reason into completely different sections.
Well, I've not got far. I may leave it set up a little longer.
You have to love a game which has the line "For the purposes of the game, the world is round" as one of the rules though. :)