Yes, it was. Getting the 7x7 bonus left me with a few unfillable holes - but the game ended before that hurt too much.In the third place playoff, robthomasson wins the first game 35-27. Finished with 6 gaps apiece, the 7x7 bonus tilting the game. Nice game.
I went second - new game started with me as first player.
A small observation on the first player vs second player preference topic. The first player can never place more than one patch on their first turn whilst the second place player will sometimes have that option. But the first player does go first (wise words indeed) and have the possibility of influence - so I guess that I think there is no inherent advantage to first or second. If there is an advantage it is decided per game by the available patches. Early buttons are worth so much.