I wish we could have started in the other order, but we had a big group who wanted a huge game, so we broke it out. I was teaching the game, so let everyone pick their races first. I ended up with the Yengii (as I expected), and we left the Zeth in the box.
There was a FLURRY of activity as everyone jumped into trading from the get-go. The Im'Dril fought hard to get fleets out, and succeeded due to misinterpreting the fact that the Unity large wild he traded for could not, in fact, be used as an octagon. But there was too much going on for anyone to notice. The Eni Et struggled through the first three rounds before becoming the most popular player at the table in rounds 4-6. I'm sure this is a common phenomenon, but she could have leveraged us against each other, and probably collected below-market value for her insane essentially autotech converters.
The Faderan played well but didn't farm out acknowledgements as much as they could have. The Unity, faced with a plethora of trading partners, found a stingy market for wilds, and really struggled. The Caylion, Kjas, and K't did their thing, although the Caylion should have traded for more ships - they didn't use their x2 Seedlings very much, and the K't didn't end up popping out a lot of colonies. There was a lot going on.
I, as the Yengii, actually invented a tech on turn 1 and my economy did fine, as the Yengii are quite wealthy. I managed to license it for a small handful of cubes. Throughout the rest of the game, I invented maybe 4 or 5 more techs, but found licenses very hard to share. I ended up just calling "everyone look at the bottom of your cards. Can you use Genetic Engineering to upgrade any of them? You can't get that card. I can give you that card for a blue and a yellow."
This type of overeager salesmanship was necessary, and very difficult. I managed to sell about 8 licenses throughout the game - about one per player, but for 3 techs, so 2.67 licenses per tech. I used my good economy to trade for other cubes in bulk and saved up in order to invent an Era III and Era IV tech on the final turn. I went into turn 6 with 21 points and ended up with 45, and won. (#badteacher). The final scores:
*(G) Yengii: 45
*(J) Unity: 28
*(L) Caylion: 28
*(H) Im'Dril: 27
Eni Et: 26.5
Some people were a bit confused - "Oh, I can run the purple arrow now? I thought arrows had to be done after trading was done." But overall, it was a fun exercise, even if people didn't 100% grasp the entire game after one play. Everyone had fun - there was lots of walking around the table, good-natured negotiating, and the Eni Et player saying, "Hang on, hang on!" when three different players were shoving cubes in her face, trying to borrow the same converters.
All in all, a game well-received. So, we followed it up the next day with a 4P game. The starred players in the above list played. I've included initials so you can see how scores changed.
(J) Faderan: 46
(G) Unity: 36.5
(H) Kjas: 26
(L) K't: 23
This is the second time the K't finished last. This time, L invented three techs, one on each of the first three turns, crashed her economy out, and never recovered. I read on another thread here that the Unity can dominate a 4-player game. Not so in this game. With the K't and Kjas pretty self-sufficient, the market was really tight for gray, and I wasn't able to get much profit at all. I ended up trading for the Faderan's donation VP every turn, and doing a lot of business with them. One time, I invented a tech that required 6 whites with 6 small grays. I pleaded with everyone - what a waste of gray cubes! I'll exchange them with you - but everyone's converters were running at capacity and they had no need for my gray, so I was forced into using them sub-optimally. It was really a lot tougher than I thought. Although, I feel like 36.5 is pretty respectable for the Unity in my 2nd game.
J, who won with the Faderan, was ambivalent about the game after playing game 1 with the Unity, but he said he was hooked after game 2 (especially after he got so many easy ice worlds - there were usually 2 or 3 on the bidding track each turn).
All in all, a great first weekend of SC. Many are looking forward to playing it again.