I played a 3 player solo short game this afternoon, this was probably my 4th game and the first one where there was some contention for the winner. Typically I have all 3 starting with money pumps and two stall out at some point due to a miscalculation. This time I tried 3 strategies: Player 1 was a trader, P2 was a builder, and P3 started a company for $10 (I typically IPO higher.)
I didn't take detailed notes on what happened, but P2 started the bear at a high IPO price and ended up issuing three more shares. It bought a large number of companies from both 1 and 3. Player 2 had almost no liquidity but with some dividends was able to buy a second share. The price ended up peaking at $50.
P3 had some cheap orange and reds with synergy, so I had him float the Star at $10, paying in $8 out of pocket. He immediately sold a share for 9, so there were 4 issued. He bought some cheap oranges and sold them in for max, and used the cash to buy back all of the star shares. The Star didn't have a large number of valuable companies but had some OK synergies and paid out max dividends every turn. The share price stabilized after being pushed up by P3's purchases. P3 had reasonable liquidity with the dividends.
P1 was a standard trader selling companies into both the Bear and the Star. He ended up with a couple of greens that couldn't sell but was making decent income off of them.
Once the maintenance cost went up, the Star sold all of it's dying companies into the Bear. At that point the Bear had something like 12 companies and had a huge income, but the writing was on the wall. Once all the blues were out it would be over. P2 sold his second bear share and bought a green. I decided it would be better to get a blue, so I waited a turn to sell it into the Bear and use the cash to buy FRA. In the mean time, P3 bought another green and reformed the Star with it. P1 had a blue, two greens, and a yellow. P3 bought Ryanair and sold it into the new Star for the max to pull some cash out. P2 finally bought FRA and started the constellation with it, and gutted the Bear. By this point it was already the last turn and it was all over.
The final scores were:
P1 - 197
P2 - 131
P3 - 152
My question is, is that the best way to move out of a builder role? I think the Bear was about as strong of a red/orange/yellow company as could be built in a 3P game, but P2 had very little liquidity and was all tied up in the two very expensive shares. I think in a long game (which I have never played) the Constellation would have been a strong green/blue/purple company but the clock ran out. What should a builder role do in a short game to avoid the last turn maintenance? There was no way the bear was getting up to $100 to end the game early.