What're you looking at!
My wife and I have played this game about 8 times, and have not encountered some of the problems mentioned in previous forums. Now that we have the hang of some of the special abilities of the characters, our matches have been quite intense.
I started with Dancing Deb on my side, so I went first and used her as a joker to move one of the body guards into my club. My wife immediately countered by moving Dancing Deb into her club, so Champagne Charlie was back smack dab in the centre again.
After I got Saucy Sue on my side, I used the bodyguard card that allowed them to "snap to," and I got to move Champagne Charlie over to my side again. In short order, Penny got Saucy Sue back to centre and a bodyguard in her club, then I got the other one in my club.
My plan was then to move Handsome Hal to my side, which I did, and then use his power to attract to get Saucy Sue on my side. However, my wife moved Handsome Hal all the way to her club, and then used his power to get a body guard in her club. All this time Champagne Charlie was hanging with in a square or two of the centre.
You can either move characters out of your opponent's club or move them into yours to keep Champagne Charlie from moving too far, and we were both opting to keep characters in our clubs.
Then I got Dancing Deb in my club, and was able to also get a bodyguard into my club as well. Dancing Deb's power as a joker came in very handy in moving characters out of Penny's club, and with two in my club, I managed to move Champagne Charlie very close to my end.
Finally, with only four cards left, on the second time through the draw deck, I got Champagne Charlie into my club. This was also very fortunate because if the cards had run out, Saucy Sue was on Penny's side and she would have won the tie, if she could have hung on for another turn.
I find this game to be very well balanced, in that between cards and special powers, you are rarely unable to do something to help your position.
I am the white void. I am the cold steel. I am the just sword.
I know that it's not likely that anyone will read this, but from reading your play... I'm almost positive whoever has Hal on his side of the board goes first, not Deb.