I don't like to make sweeping changes to any published game, even a print-on-demand product. It implies that the rules were deficient before. But playtesting has revealed the following weaknesses in the design:
1. There are never enough chips to do all the investing you want. Half the time your best strategy is to pass.
2. The "doubling" mechanic for stealing shares (now referred to as "hostile takeovers") is kind of contrived, and results in shares being quickly priced out of the market. Again: lots of passing going on.
3. The game is intended to be played over three rounds, or "ages", but each round feels like more of a separate game than a progression "through the ages". The incentive to continue is not strong.
Why do I draw attention to these failings? Because I feel they have been corrected with v1.1 of the rules. Check them out for yourself; if you can't find v1.1 rules on the Geek, try: http://www.thegamecrafter.com/uploads/cc/60/cc60279a748bf6fe...
For the benefit of old-timers (ie: those people who bought the game 1-3 months ago), let me quickly summarize the changes:
1. Spoils are now 6 chips, regardless of the number of players.
2. "Stealing a share" is now referred to as "Attempting a hostile takeover", which I feel better represents the actual process. More significantly, the player attempting a hostile takeover can pledge any number of chips larger than the share's current price!
3. At the end of an age, players retain their chips and shares (sans shares in extinct chimeras, which are returned to the table).
4. Players who hoard chips between ages might trigger a "reckoning", which causes them to lose half their chips. This serves an important function in the game (the robber in Settlers of Catan works the same way), but it is also a fun diversion in its own right. The bottom line: try not to hoard chips!
5. Numerous examples of gameplay have been added to the rules.
6. I've replaced the "blind shares" variant with a "One Age" variant. One Age is exactly that - a short filler game played in one round. How many investment games do you know that can be played in 20 minutes?
While the rules are different, the components are the same. If you already own the game, just print off a copy of the new rules and you'll be set!
If anyone has any questions about the rules, please don't hesitate to post them on the Geek. Not only will we set you straight, but you'll be helping to refine the rules for ultimate clarity.