This was our first game for all four players. The players are Greg, Chris, Seth, and Mike.
In Era A, Mike and Greg formed a symbiotic relationship in the East, with Mike shipping Greg's spice. Two cities on Celebes grew, while the western two cities in the era struggled without spice.
Chris upgraded to mergers 2, and started stirring the pot. With Seth, Mike and Greg having slots filled, era B started. Chris appears to be in dire straits, but having his pick of the next era without interference was going to springboard him back into contention.
Chris was able to take his pick of the Era B companies, and was able collect some great profits in the burgeoning rubber companies of Sumatra. Quite a jump since he controlled his own shipping.
At this point:
Mike controlled the massive blue shipping fleet (two merged tiles), and one of the rice companies.
Greg controlled the early eastern spice (two merged tiles), and a rice.
Chris controlled two shipping companies and a rubber.
Seth controlled a small western shipper (two merged tiles), a rice, and a rubber on Borneo.
Greg had advanced to mergers 3, and created a siap faj company from his own holdings in Celebes, and the era B rice in Borneo. It was tough dropping half the tiles, but it did lower shipping costs, which were eating nearly two-fifths of our profits.
The era B cities started pushing the center of the map West, since only one of the four added cities were in the East.
Partially to cause trouble, Greg initiated a merger between the rubber companies, which Seth won. Chris was now wealthy, while Seth had income, but often needed to use other shippers (while Chris was vertically integrated).
Cities erupted in the center of the board, and oil would swing the balance on the board.
After one round of aqusitions, oil was spread around. Seth had an open spot to take the last rice or spice company on the board, but decided to let the game continue for another round.
In the last round, an oil merger was won by Mike, combining the northern Borneo and Moluccas holdings.
In the end, Mike's shipping, supplemented by rice and oil profits catapulted him to a substantial win.
The final scores were:
Profits x2 Cash+Bank Total
Mike 1090 613 1703
Chris 620 817 1437
Greg 580 744 1324
Seth 650 331 981
1. I learned the value of the expansion track. I didn't invest in it at all, and especially as a Siap Faj seller, it showed.
2. Wow is it hard to grow cities. We only had the two cities grow when the only good in the world was spice. I could see it being easier, but once we had two commodities, we quickly had three or more.
3. Not all shippers are created equal. Seth quickly found that his companies had less capacity than Mike's two companies. Expansion was overrated for the shippers who hit their capacity so quickly.
4. Oil can't be ignored if Era C lasts for more than a single turn. Wow! What profits.
Great game, but I'm bringing my calculator next time.
Thanks for the report, Ur-Quan Master. Indonesia looks good!