We finally got this to the table on Tuesday, and all I can say is...wow. It combines auctions, negotiation, money-management, area control, player interaction, and screwage into one package--but it never feels like a mish-mash. I lost horribly--and I type those words far too often--but I enjoyed it. It's mathy, which may be why I lost, so it could be prone to slowdown with people who suffer from Analysis Paralysis. But I tend to play by the seat of my pants and in-the-moment--which is almost certainly related to the aforementioned losing tendency.
We followed that with a card game called Five Crowns. We thought it was a trick-taking game, but after Randy read the rules it was more like a rummy game. Similar to Phase 10, but without the urge to drink poison after 3 hours of playing and realizing you're only on Phase 4. One good thing that came of playing this was that, unlike any Game Night I'd attended, we actually talked. We discussed movies, music, books, funny stories. It was great! Usually we're too busy staring at a board and figuring out our next move to actually get to know these people that we spend one night a week with. I heartily recommend playing a fluffy game once in a while, just to connect. I had a blast.