I was able to tie him region points on the board with shields except for one region in which I had one extra, and this moved me up to beat him by one point. By our count he had 70 and I had 71 - very close game.
We played again today (twice, well, I played twice, John was in one of those games). While explaining the rules John noticed something we'd forgotten to count in yesterday's game... a 2 point bonus for most cards left in hand!
So in fact, I beat him by 1!
John thrashed the rest of us in today's game though