Rather weird game with not much shipping going on. The craftsman, trader, and captain role piled up the bribes a couple of times. Early in the game I got some lucky timing breaks being able to take a role with money and be the only player who could take that action. I was in the 3rd seat and focused mostly on corn and coffer getting a small market. I was the first to get a big building (guild hall). I managed to snag the fortress later, but the other 3 were quickly picked up around the same time. Andrew got the residence since his island was full thanks to the hacienda (? pull random plantation tiles). Ken grabbed the remaining 2, but didn't score as many points as Andrew's 1. The game ended with the colonists running out since there was a lot of empty large production buildings bought.
The upper right and lower left of the game board remained empty. Lots of buildings were played (excessively so according to Ross). Ross played his starting tile near mine, which worked for me since I had the church and was lucky enough to place people there the first 2 turns.
Just for Adam: I had the fewest gold, but still won.
This game really needs a tie breaker. It seems like there is almost always a tie when we play.
From the score card, it looks like Diane did a good job avoiding negatives and maxing out 4 categories, but failed to upgrade her house and increase her family.
I don't know if Andrew did his "play as many cards as possible" strategy, but it doesn't look like it since he only got 4 points from cards. Both he and Ken had full family and 5 stone rooms, but Andrew was only missing boar while Ken was missing 4 categories.
Ra was rather shy the first epoch, making for the longest 1st round we've ever seen. I was able to get all 5 people and some monuments. The pharaohs were shy too with Ross getting 2 and me and Dave tying with 1.
Ra was shy the 2nd round as well despite our fears of a quick round. Me and Dave got in a grudge match with our alternating low sun tiles. He would call Ra. I would bid just so he would have to bid something higher than his 1, and he would let me have it. I was out early and Ross went into the gauntlet of death with 2 sun tiles and only used 1.
By the 3rd round, we expected nothing but Ra and disasters, which was pretty close. Ross's massive pharaoh lead and monuments locked the win for him.
Ross avoided the love shack and focused mostly on tools. Dave started out on an "eating points" strategy. I started taking the love shack to block him from it. Once I reached 8 people, I started eating points. I managed to pick up some early hut builder cards and tried focusing on building huts. Managed to get a set of 6 green cards which I typically avoid. Had trouble getting tools though, which hurt a little since I was picking up tool makers to keep them from Ross. The farmer cards didn't come out until the 2nd half of the game. Me and Dave took some to keep them away from Ross. The last 2 turns, I managed to increase my farming level to 4 and started acquiring food again to avoid eating points. I had the lead going into final scoring. Ross closed the gap with his cards, but I had enough to edge him out.