Making an amp is fairly simple at first glance. Just put some forward bias on the transistor and apply a signal. The circuit can misbehave is several different ways. A transistor has three regions it can be biased to.
With no bias it will be at cutoff.
With to much bias it will saturate.
When it is biased in the active region it will amplify.
It can be biased too much and then be over driven and distort too.
So the question is why a circuit will not operate when built "properly" but will work when the transistor is rotated.
I took two transistors and put them in my transistor hfe testers.
hfe is the forward transfer or ß. The collector current will be Ib * ß. If the circuit is biased into saturation with the transistor inserted properly and you reverse it ß is reduced so it is no longer saturated. In order to give more help I would have to see the circuit in question but the simple answer is to reduce the bias.
Note: The transistors being tested are germanium micro alloy.