The game is set on the island of Crete during the 14th Century. Settle the provinces of Crete with your people and your abbot. Build villages, bring your ships to harbor and increase your influence by building mighty forts. Only he who shows the most skill in employing his castellan (Cretan tower guard) and other characters will gain the most victory points, finishing first in this competition for fame and glory.
Kreta is a fairly standard influence game where you are placing tokens in regions and then scoring them. The map shows Crete divided into areas and each area is worth a certain number of points. Players have a set of tokens that they can place in the regions, on the region borders, or on port cities. The tokens are people, towers, cities, ships and some other things.
Beside the board is a series of cards each showing one region. Two of these are face-up and the rest are face down. These cards show which of the regions will be scored - the first of the cards shows the region that will be scored first and so on. That means you know the next two regions that will be scored but you don't know which ones will happen after that.
Each player has a set of cards each which allows them to add tokens to the board or move a certain types of tokens. These are played one at a time in turn and the regions start to fill up with tokens. Each player also has a scoring card which triggers the scoring of the first face-up region card. Once a region is scored the next region card is turned face-up (with an option to change it) and play continues. The game ends after a certain number of regions have been scored.
This game works nicely and there is a fair amount of strategy in the game. It is an interesting game. There really isn’t anything terribly original about its mechanics, but the way they fit together is engaging and the game felt like a nice mix between tactics and strategy. In other words, you could try and race about, aiming for the next region to score, or you could try and plan ahead a little, concentrating on regions that seemed likely to score later on and then picking the Castellan role to try and make sure that they do. I can’t say whether these approaches have similar win percentages, but it’s always a promising sign when I can look at a game and see something that doesn’t feel like the players are all trying to race along the same pre-set path to victory.