This picture accompanied a recent update from SJG--the advance copies have arrived. I'm told that I will be getting one this week! Here is a link to the post.
Also included in the update is a link to the official rules. I think they turned out very well! They broke the round into four phases: Espionage, Bidding, Resolution and Patronage. This does an excellent job of including all the necessary parts in an elegant way. My preferred rule about keeping losing and tied bids has indeed been included as an optional rule. And some of you may need to check the playtester section--they included quite a few of the names I submitted. All in all, I am feeling very upbeat and ready to see how things go from here.
FYI: I'm still planning to be at Origins on Friday and possibly some on Saturday. Feel free to look me up (you might try the SJG exhibitor area or the Axis & Allies play area).