I like that the Masquerade and Wharf start with random police so you can open Gang on turn 1. Other than that aspect, Big City is my favorite.
In every game I've played on the Wharf, no one goes for the ship if the game is close. It takes 1 AP to scout, 1 AP to kill the guard, and 7g worth of urchins to claim it. If your opponent doesn't interfere, you spend 7g to get 1 VP (the rest nets out). That's what it costs at the church but it's 2 turns instead of instant.
I'm not sure about the Masquerade VP since I've not tried it and neither have my opponents, but it feels similar. Since the Masquerade requires 6 VP, it feels like even more of a control game, leaving no room for VP timings. I think I might prefer the dimensions flipped (map is wide instead of tall), because if someone starts with a bank behind them, it's a nice advantage.