Joel, Jeremy, Katrina, Mel
Game 1: A nice friendly romp into flatland. There was definitely an interest in chewing up my territory. However, there were a few locations that were open to me. The highlight of the game was the fact that at the end, the remaining tiles was Joel 2 (winner), Katrina 2, Mel 3, Jeremy 3. So we all had a fairly good opportunity to play. This would not repeat itself in game 2.
Game 2: I believe I have determined my choice opening. In anycase, Katrian and Mel, lunged at each other using their L and | piece (5 spaces) to really chew up territory. Joel and I pushed to the middle, and I was able to secure a beach head into all four quadrants. I took advantage of my well formed opening as well as the beach heads, and just sought chances to eliminate options for expansion as well as playing in contested areas (something that you should normally do anyway).
When the dust had settled, and after a minor blunder on the 4th to last turn, I had 4 spaces unplaid (| shaped). Katrina had 7. Joel had 22 and Mel had 38. It was the most bizarre looking board I had seen (aside from the games played by my 3 and 2 year old).
I finally found my favored opening move. Its subject to revision, but the opening four moves just felt right. It produced a good barrier between my two regions (requiring the 1-spacer to cross) plus created lots of corners as I pushed towards the center, leaving a very versatile arrangement for responding to incursions and for making incursions against other positions.