Ok first really good play test with only 2 people. I wanted more but two would allow for some downtime examining the game with a long time boardgame/wargamer.
A crisp, cool, fall morning in Denver when I set out from Aberwaithe with my ship and Tony set sail from Norland on his ship appropriately named "Norland" (each player is allowed to name his ship on a small index card). The card is used to keep track of goods, tools, colonists on the ship.
My "Endeavor" trailed behind the Norland as Tony landed in the extreme north and I in the extreme south of this fabulous New World. My explorers quickly determined that we had found a land of great tobacco (strangely at random in the south) and Tony had discovered great supplies of furs surrounded by numerous difficult swamps. My terrain was more variable, full of interesting peninsulas I could use to ship goods into later.
The Norland quickly set for home to announce the discovery of a great New World and claim the 10 VP bonus which he did. I stayed on to score points exploring and looking for good places to bring back my next batch of colonists.
My delay was to cost me as Tony brought back numerous colonists and tools and founded his first camps to harvest resources and farm which converts into a village (simple tech tree).
While Tony worked on the New World I managed to claim numerous continental influence roles and I began to have a majority in the powerful nation of Aqueva.
Tony advanced his Old World tech and developed a mill and began to ship cloth to his new village gaining numerous points. I, however, purchased my second ship the Dauntless to increase my capacity.
Now we both had our maximum 2 explorers working out large circle gaining points and finding more valuable resources. I hit a gold mines (literally) as well as some spice. Tony continued to now find tobacco and furs up north.
We both expanded toward each other until we surreptitiously discovered a native tribe between us: we had a buffer state! I quickly shuttled them trinkets to increase my relationship (good relations allow trade for valuable native goods).
Tony's village and cloth trade was sinking me and I decided to invest in the production of spirits just as we had to wrap up. Tony far outscored me in New World points, but the Influence spaces and majority helped me catch up. The final score was Tony 85, Wade 79. Pretty good balance for a shot in the dark!
I need to adjust some things for 2 players but I was amazed at how quick and smooth it played. It felt like a simple Euro mechanic, but with difficult decisions on your second role. Tony picked it up right away (obviously) and wanted me to leave everything so he could make copies: which I took as a good sign. The cards that I have not really mentioned also worked well. Tony took good advantage of them, while I gained money and really outfitted my little island empire.