Is Australia really golden? I just played a game this past weekend that showed Australia can be fools gold. We played a large seven player game, which took some tweaking of the rules make sure it was fair to everyone. In fact the rules we chose were specifically to counter the problem of the last two players being biased towards early elimination. We added a random turn order, a rule that only allowed three assaults in the first turn and no one could be eliminated until after that turn. These rules worked out well because the first guy eliminated went second in the turn order in the early part of the game, as he was not playing a good game and as such, should have been eliminated early.
The opening of the game saw five players make a move for Australia. One in each territory plus one for Siam. The free-for-all produced a bloody masscre and the one player that remained, didn't last as long as would be previously thought. In fact, his desire for Australia came because he had lost twice before to the same guy, the guy who takes Australia and wins from there. But this time, the focus on Australia for our seven player game was so high, that players forgot other issues on the board and failed to mount a successful push out of Australia to establish a better position for himself. He was elininated in this game ostensibly because he did not expand fast enough once he took Australia, the cardinal sin of the Australian strategy.
Always remember, Australia is good for defense, but terrible for offense. Unless you take this into account, you will not win. Smart players, like the ones we had at our table last weekend, will crush through your defenses at Siam and Indonesia before they become to formidable and your hopes and dreams will be lost.