[...] and I don't think we played anywhere close to how it was intended. We tried, it was just so over the top that we opted for a dumbed down version.
The problem here lies in generality: it's not always easy, or possible, to simplify something and still have a viable game. Best case scenario, you can render one of those overengineered things into their simpler predecessor. For example: removing about a dozen of disconnected victory mechanisms from Game of Thrones boardgame results in something like Chaos in the Old World.
We didn't even finish. Just called it quits after a couply beers and a couply hours.
At least the night was eventful, and the boardgame facilitated some of that fun.
Good to see you back.