A simple first-time, two player game.
My opponent was a non-gamer who has been mildly receptive to a very small number of previous sessions to introduce him to this world. I brought several new titles for him to choose from this time. Even before I explained the various options he was ready to choose The Discovery based simply the cover art.
My own status is that I have an awareness of the Carassonne series almost exclusively from casual reading at this web site. I did participate in one session of the original version with my teen-aged niece quite some months ago. She was supposed to teach me how to play. I felt bushwhacked when she engaged in tactics I did not understand were coming and she took over a contested area that gave her an immense point advantage at the end. I have not had a chance to revisit that experience.
So on this day, both of us were uncertain how things would progress. My only advantage was that I had examined the rules.
My opponent completed two areas of modest scoring early on and took the lead. My followers were deployed on areas that I was unable to make grow further or complete. Eventually I placed and drew off a follower just to get two points on the board.
We both fumbled. My opponent was not deploying all his followers. I was, but I wasn’t scoring. He reached the thirties; I was still a dozen points behind.
My opponent abandoned an incomplete four-tile grassland just to get the four points. Fortuitously I drew a tile that usefully attached to the same area so that I could deploy a follower and withdraw him for a five. And the same again for six points.
He made some more small point moves because I was catching up. He was otherwise focused on another area that he was unsuccessfully trying to expand and therefor did not catch on to what I had done.
One more grassland tile allowed me to place yet another follower, and this time make the area completed. My resulting 14 points for the seven tiles allowed me to surpass him.
We continued to the end without further distinction, but a final score 76 to 56, in my favor.
My opponent had some awkwardness recognizing where an area type came to an end when the identical type also began anew on the immediately adjacent side of the same tile. He would imagine they were still continuous. Or maybe that was just in the case of the mountains.
The scoring system was not hard to understand, but it was difficult to organize and solidify in our minds. We had to keep looking back at the rules to assure ourselves what to count. Both tiles and cities are sometimes included and sometimes not.
The players’ aid to summarize scoring needed its own players’ aid to describe how to interpret it. I must organize something of my own in order to present this information more easily to others in the future (and even for my own well being).
Neither of us had any feel for how readily we might be able to complete an area, unsure what types of tiles might be drawn. We were poorly equipped to choose an area to abandon earlier. We had no comparison for what might be a relatively good value of accumulated points to draw off.
I had thoughts in the last half that this game title could have been disastrous if it had been the very first introduction that I provided my opponent. I had otherwise accepted that it was safe since this series gets mentioned as a gateway choice. My confidence now wavers on that point.