With time for just one more game, we decided to complete a Sid Sackson trifecta and selected Acquire. Ed had first nominated another Sackson offering -- Sleuth -- but James protested, and we went with one with which he's more comfortable.
I had good luck early, getting first move, and making a chain on my first tile placement. Damon and I dominated the early luck in creating chains.
I formed Continental in the upper central portion of the board, Damon formed Worldwide just below it.
Normally, and especially in a 5-player game, I like to go for the little chains and to be bought out in the mergers, not liking to be cash poor. But this game, I wound up in a cash-poor position as I quickly tried to convert some early mergers into competitive shares of the large chains that began to form in the board's center. Worldwide was the first chain to grow strong after swallowing a neighbor, but Continental soon followed suit.
I tied Damon for majority share in Worldwide, and battled Ben for dominance of Continental.
On the right side of the board, a multiplicity of chains began to form -- Imperial, Festival, Tower and American, from top to bottom. I made some fruitless attempts to get in on the action in American and then Festival, but to no avail.
The bidding wars for Imperial and Tower were fast and furious between James, Ed, and Damon, and I couldn't get in on them.
I eventually lost control of Continental to Ben based on his ability to outspend me. Lacking liquidity, I tried to end the game as quickly as possible. The larger those other chains got, the bigger and more lucrative their mergers were, the worse would be my competitive position at game's end.
Tower wound up being the big chain on the right. We had three "safe" chains -- Worldwide, Continental, and Tower. I forced the swallowing of American, and then Imperial. I wasn't able to bring the game to a close by swallowing the regenerated Festival, now on the left side of the board.
Ed had the ability to do it, and did so only after we twisted his arm. We all argued that his relative position would only slip, in comparison to Ben and Damon, if Festival was allowed to grow before being swallowed up.
Once again, our "stealth" player, Damon, emerged with the game. It was a cliffhanger, he coming out just barely in front of Ben.
In the three large chains at game's end, Damon and I shared majority in Worldwide, Ben had majority to my minotity in Continental, and Tower was dominated by -- if memory serves me correctly -- either Ben and Ed or Ben and Damon.
Damon won the game by doing what I usually try to do -- doing well with a number of small mergers. I had a nice share of the final large chains, but did not pick up nearly enough along the way.
Damon -- $39,600
Ben -- $39,400
Ed -- $30,900
Chuck -- $27,300
James -- $11,700