El Capitan sees a fair amount of table play at the Tuesday Night Northbay Gamers meeting -- almost exclusively with 5 players, and last night was no exception. We had 4 veterans and 1 first-timer, who was an experienced gamer.
I wound up last on the first turn, which would put me in a hole I could never recover from. The choice tickets for coming on the board were all taken by my turn, and luck left me with only the most expensive destations -- I chose Alexandria to make my stand. Now I had to choose -- should I build one warehouse and go off the board next turn, or try and make Alexandria pay by going the distance and building 3 -- I chose the latter, which was probably the wrong strategy.
I wound up taking two big loans round 1, one big loan round 2, and a small loan round 3 (taking any loan in round 3 means you have lost). I think I did okay despite my starting position and poor choice on turn 1 -- I was able to make up most of the points gap by being the second player (of 2) to get to all 9 destinations.
K. won the game using in part a strategy he had developed in earlier games -- always buy all 1-cost tickets -- they fit in later letting him be the first to get all nine cities.
K. was close to being a runaway leader by the end of turn 2 -- I think that is a slight problem with El Capitan.