What I have learned from this game of Tongiaki with my non-gamer SO is that he is extremely anal-retentive at times. His main concern was that I not mess up the modular board. I let him know that this was pretty much a futile battle since I have limited fine motor skills... Win the game? Nah... but let the tiles separate and his eyes bugged out... He is so on the way to utter geekdom....
We were playing two-player, purple (me) vs. yellow (him). We used the native tribes variant, meaning that when we discovered a new island during play, the player who had initiated the journey would place one of fifteen boats that had been set aside for this purpose onto the island, thereby serving to mix the colors up a little bit more.
We're not entirely sure that this variant is effective, since for us it only gave us a few boats of different colors and they often sank.
Gabriel (yellow) didn't go after royal islands so aggressively this time, and overall forgot to spread his boats out too much. They got clumped onto about three islands, and he had placed all fifteen boats, while I had boats on almost all the islands. I then sank a bunch of his boats in journeys I knew were fruitless, using that to claim royal islands near the end game. Unfortunately, one of my final boat placements was a very bad move. I caused us to sink and in so doing I gave him back just enough boats for him to get a much more respectable score.
I still won 32-30 but his words were, I believe, "This is a testament to how crappily you were playing that I was able to catch up..."
It was a very crappy move, and I think the mild snark throughout the game is proof we were both pretty tired and out of it.... Such is life trying to get gaming in after a workday.
I WILL have a better game next time and win again.