Thanks Dude. I've been interested in this game and keep waiting for it to arrive at my FLGS. Phalanx creates what I call "Drama" games. They're usually not action packed oriented, rather curious and intriguing, maybe slow but interesting. Like a dramatic movie of sorts. I tend to enjoy this drama style quite a bit.
Other great Phalanx Drama Games: Revolution (epic drama game) Alexander the Great Heart of Africa Before the Wind Go West
Yeah, I dunno what a pro-spectre is either. I always called them PROSS-pecters. But what do I know? I'm in gold country here in California. I bought this game at Dundracon 33 this past weekend just because it was about California history. I had no idea it just came out! I haven't had the opportunity to play it yet, though I may tonight. I'll post a review of my experience then. But so far, it certainly seems unique.
I've really enjoyed this game. Not since Modern Art have I been so angst to make the right choices. I'm favouring a church strategy with a heavy gold digging phase and letting others cash in my investments on their turn for a double income stream.
Also, don't compare what you can get from finishing the game to what you can earn from staying one more round. Compare the amount you will get for finishing the game, with nothing for your opponents versus how much more you opponents will earn compared to you, should you stay in the game.
I've even won this game with negative 31 by railroading to the finish with one final cash in of some lucrative investments, thanks to the church.
This game can play so differently depending on the participants but there are signs of a greater game in there with a bit of perseverence.