I have been playing SJ regularly as a lunchtime filler for the past couple of weeks and it has been quite a hit with my not so serious gamer friends.
This luchtimes game was quite interesting in that as a 2 player game there was a lot of tactics and measure / counter measure involved plus an unusual end conditon.
The game started with me building a Prefecture and Pete a Tobacco plantation. The early rounds saw me Counciling and Pete producing then trading. My second building was a Quarry, Pete's was a Library (I needed to worry about this build). After his Library went down Pete went into prospector mode, I build a Market Hall to counter (slightly) Pete's advantage in trading, Pete built a trading post (which did nothing all game).
Pete's next build was the start of the rounds of counter measures as he built a Prefecture to offset my Councillor advantage and I built a Gold Mine to make him think twice about prospecting.
Over the next few turns various buildings appeared, Pete got a Chapel and Market Hall, I got a Library and Crane. Things were close but I had managed to hang on to a Palace and shortly later pulled both a Triumphal Arch and City Hall. The Triumphal arch got spent but both other 6 buildings made it to my final set of 12 buildings. Pete continued to build bits and pieces to keep in touch but he was starting to lag behind.
Then the cute masterstroke. With one building slot left I upgraded my Indigo (the only production plant I had) to a Victory Column (for free with the library and Quarry) and on the next turn built the biggest violet building I could (I think it was a 3 cost but can't remember what).
I ended the game with 51 VP's
24 for buildings
5 under my Chapel
12 bonus for the City Hall!
10 for the Palace.
Pete only managed to get a Triumphal Arch and only one mounment so was a long way back after keeping quite close for the first half of the game.
There is a lot more to 2 player SJ than initially meets the eye. This is rapidly becomming one of my favourite 2 player games.