Minecraft studio Mojang has, entirely without warning, released a brand-new game on Steam called Crown and Council. It's a “casual strategy game of geopolitical drama,” originally created for a game jam, with 75 included maps and a built-in generator that can create new ones on the fly, and it's entirely free.
“It’s simple to play, but not quite so easy to win: do you spend all your cash on universities, hoping to survive long enough that your book-learnin’ makes you unstoppable in the late game?” Mojang explained. “Or do you go for a quick land-grab, hoping to put enough boots on the ground to give you an irreversible early advantage?”
The rules are simple: Each turn you earn a certain amount of gold based on the number of territories you own, and can spend any or all of it in any way you see fit. Launch attacks, fortify your holdings, or just sit back and let your enemies exhaust themselves against each other while your treasury grows fat. I've only played a few rounds, not nearly enough to make a meaningful judgment, but so far it seems surprisingly decent as a pseudo-Risk kind of experience, and it does have a deceptively simple vibe to it too.
And it's free! That's a big plus. Snag it from Steam.
[Note: The Mojang blog post announcing Crown and Council was written by Marsh Davies, a former PC Gamer staffer.]