I can’t see this answered but I’m probably wrong as nobody else seems to have a problem with it over the years.
“The players choose a starting player. He places his figure on any of the 14 spaces on the track around the board.”
The setup diagram shows the first player choosing the first square.
What is the benefit of going on any other square than the first? Surely the first player wants to see as many tiles as possible before deciding on where to go?
What am I missing?
The spaces are in a continuous circle. So at the time of that "decision", all the spaces are empty and equivalent, and it doesn't matter on which one the first player starts. E.g. if 4 players play, their pieces will be on 4 successive spaces, and then 9 tiles are dealt out in the next 13 successive spaces, and the "last" space (behind the first player's marker) is left empty.