Immediately after a game quickly won by me, Clarissa and I settled down to a rematch.
In the 1st battle (Modena), Clarissa played a 10 early, and I dropped a key card, punting the city but blocking her from playing a scarecrow card to reclaim her 10. (My biggest criticism is that there are too many scarecrow cards, allowing the player with the best hand a double-advantage).
In Firenze, Clarissa, rather than placing the Condottiere marker on the map, placed her red marker on the map, seeming a little over-confident (or tired- we play after our 1-year old goes to sleep for the night). It was an omen, perhaps, as Clarissa won the city. I discarded the rest of a crummy hand to end the round, but Clarissa had 2 cities won in 2 battles.
My 2nd round hand had a 6, a 5, a 4, and a lot of junk. But a long drawn-out battle over Lucca went my way when I lured Clarissa into playing her 1 and 2 cards by playing all of my lower cards. She stayed just ahead by 1 or 2 points until I pulled out a 4 or 5 late in the battle to win 24-23. I again discarded to dispose of a crummy hand...
And drew the same crummy type of hand for the 3rd round- but at least I had a drum. With my lead in the battle for Parma at 9-6, Clariss played the bishop. My hand just got a lot worse.
In Bologna, we devolved back into an empty-the-hands battle, and my drum gave me the 38-23 win.
In Round 4, Clarissa easily took Parma, playing a 10 and a Surrender card in her 1st 2 moves.
With the game on the line, she coupled the Heroine and Winter cards in Mantova to clinch the victory.
While I still feel there is too much of play-every-card-and-use-the-scarecrows-to-pull-back-your-10s, we both were able to try a mix of strategies over the 2 games we played tonight, and I think enjoyed the game much more than we have in the past. I look forward to playing it more often, and hope to find others living in Queens (in NY) who want to play this with us.