As usual, a very good, concise review on your part, Tom. I agree, it's a very fun and replayable game. My only gripes with the game (and they're minor) are that it plays a bit long for what it is (and I think that's attributable to the fact that there are SO many things that a player can do, that it's susceptable to analysis paralysis) and that the bits that they give you for money are so incredibly small.
Aside from those two minor gripes, I think the game's a winner.
Good review...although you only had a size 6 ship...not a size 7...
I enjoyed this game very much the one time I played it, but I don't know how often I'll get to play it as my game group doesn't seem to care for economic type games very much...but in the one time I played it, I must say I disagree with you about having enough money...I never felt I had enough to do what I wanted
Yeah, we brought out the poker chips immediately as well.
I don't find AP too much a factor, because half your choices are blocked each turn, and your options amongst the four you do have are often limited (IE, if you take the green rondel, you might only be able to afford the item currently pointed at, or one spot away. Thus, that option is two things to consider buying, not four).
I do find a factor in the length is the adjustments you continually do. Buy ship parts, slide all the ship pieces down, refill from the stacks. Buy a Canal, slide and refill, buy a train, slide and refill... If you're the sort of person that doesn't like a "fiddly" game, that will affect your enjoyment of this.
Personally, I love it. It's very tactile, almost toy like as you build ships.