Is this procedure for the Sale correct:
- king returns merchant(s) to Merchant Pool
- king receives from bank number_of_merchants_returned * nation_prestige Drachmas
- prestige of nation is decreased one step
Or are the second and third steps inverted?
Because, if the procedure is as written, and Sell-Buy-Sell is allowed, then a king can (in his turn) sell a merchant and buy back the same merchant at a lower price.
Yes, this decreases the nation prestige, but it can be a strategy for your support nation (which you bleed dry). On the other hand, it doesn't make sense because you won't be able to decrease the price you paid for the 3 merchants you need to keep as king.
As you say, by selling merchants in a company you are the king of, you devalue your other merchants. I can't see how this is a winning strategy. A typical 18xx rule, that isn't in poseiden, is that you can't buy back shares in a company you sold that round. I see no reason why not to adopt this rule here. Their is also a FAQ about this, the response is:
es. This is the main difference to the standard 18xx rules. If a player tries to stall the game by creating an infinite loop – buying and selling the same merchant again and again – it is time for house rules.