So, you draw lot to start.
Why don't let the starting player be the first to choose position - with bonus/malus? And then begin the very game?
We thought it would be more fair.
This is an interesting suggestion. Indeed this is an option to play, without any big effects on the end result, but more control at the start.
We have decided to get a quick start up for the game in which you minimize the downtime. Also I can tell you that we have experienced that there is NOT an advantage to start first. There are enough alternative actions to choose from, but also statistically we have seen that players who carefully check out the choices made by earlier players, can definitely profit from it. For instance with production. You can choose to take the same product type, so if other players produce, you profit directly and are able to sell them in the market right away. Also prices can go down when other players are earlier. Last but not least, the player who starts last for instance gets to choose FIRST for the next round. We know from experience that this balances out perfectly, but nevertheless, it is always possible to choose your own "family rules".
A nice hint for other players, to try out and see what they like most. This adjustment definitely does not "bite" the game system:).
The Game Master