Scott A. Reed
Received Carcassonne in the mail today. I'd played the game a couple of times with my brother, but trolling eBay I came up with a sealed copy of the Limited Edition at a reasonable price, so I pounced on it. After a week of waiting, I was salivating at a chance to play and to teach my wife how to play.
Instruction went simple enough. With just her and I, I went over the rules for placement and scoring for knights, robbers, farmers, and monks. Even though I we received the Limited Edition with all the expansions, we opted just to punch the basic set to get a good starting point without involving even more rules.
The first game went well. Since we'd reviewed all the tiles out face-up to make sure we didn't have any expansions mixed in, she quickly familiarized herself with the different varieties and values of tiles. Since we opted to play the most basic game, I let her play the starting tile (sans river) which she did, taking the city portion. From there the board spread out over the course of fifteen minutes. Since I'd played before with three and four people, I noticed just how different strategies were for just two, with plays more on the selfish front, or unabashed attempts to screw the single opponent over. At any rate, I was doing well into the final stages of the game... except that I hadn't been paying close enough attention to the farm sections. I was ahead in scoring at the close of the game, but when we tallied the scores for the farms... she beat me by two points.
After getting snaked on that one, I vowed that I wouldn't let it happen again. The second game was a bit more involved, with us twice horning in on each others' cities to rachet both scores up at the same rate. Also I was twice out of Meeples when I drew a cloister, just adding the new cathedral to the landscape outside my single populated one. She closed in several cities, and capped ends of some of mine preventing further expansion. While I was drawing cloisters and city parts, she continually drew road pieces and pulled the "Settlers of Catan" longest road award for a 13-point road before we completed the game. But I had not let my earlier lesson about the farms go unheeded, so I had all the ground staked out as best I could. In the end, I was only slightly ahead, but when we counted farms, it turned out that my meeples outweighed all of hers, and I supplied all the cities on the board.