Has this version been changed from the previous versions?
The names of the businesses were changed to sound like high-tech companies instead of hotel chains. Play wasn't altered at all.
When two companies merge and only a few shares of the larger company remain, can the majority holder (or anyone, for that matter) in the smaller company trade in their shares for all of the remaining shares, thereby preventing anyone else from getting any more shares in the larger company?
The rulebook states, "Each player, starting with the mergemaker and continuing clockwise, can hold, sell, and trade the defunct stock cards." The person who made the merger can trade as many 2-for-1 deals as he wants, then the next person, etc. Yes, those at the end of the line may get left out. Finally, the person who played the tile that caused the merger can buy three shares of stock after everyone else has sold/held/traded their now-defunct stock.
We had a situation in which a player wanted to place a tile that would have caused a three-company merger between two safe companies and a smaller company. Can that tile be played? Can it merge the smaller company with only one of the larger companies, even though the tile connects all three?
Two safe companies cannot merge under any circumstance, so that tile is unplayable. Turn it in and get a new one.
What happens when you run out of tiles to replace the six that you should have? We played a game in which there were three safe corporations and one active corporation, and no corporation had more than 41 tiles. In our situation, should we have continued playing without picking up any new tiles, or ended the game when the last tile was picked up?
The game ends when a player declares that the game-ending conditions have been met. If the "active" corporation in your game still had fewer than 11 tiles, then the game could not end. Even though no tiles remained to be drawn, someone was holding tiles that could either increase the size of the small corporation or merge it with one of the three large ones. Play continues as normal, with no one drawing new tiles, until the game-ending conditions arise. It may not feel fair to the players holding only unplayable tiles, but that's business!
What's the best number of players?
The game plays best (in our opinion) with four players. Five and three are also good, and six is OK. The special rules are needed to play with two players -- it's similar to a three-player game with a dummy third player.
Download the rules to Acquire.