We were almost done with a day of gaming at Karl's. Karl was still there and raring to go. Barb had learned a couple new games already and was fading, but she hadn't been there as long. I felt like a pumpkin already. I couldn't take another deep game.
BUT, Karl pulled out Cartagena. He promised it would be fast. We picked colors (and promptly forgot who was who). We played the randomish version, which prevented me from falling into complete paralysis.
Game 1: Karl went first. This was to help us understand the rules (which, took, literally 2 minutes to explain). The fact that he hadn't won all day was not taken into consideration. A couple quick swords and he was a ways out. Barb also played a sword and then a couple others. I also had a pair of swords, which gave me a tremendous advantage that I took advantage of, without quite realizing how powerful it was.
The game jockeyed back and forth for a while, with Karl and I fairly consistently ahead of Barb's pieces. Karl was the first to score one of his blue pirates, but he was more spread out than I. We both moved a few guys in and Barb even had a red pirate on the ship. But I had a lot of pairs waiting for good situations, hoping to build off each other. Karl had all but one guy in, but his last guy was quite a ways back and he was out of cards. I had at least one round, probably 3. I had finally drawn two bottles the turn before (making a set of three) and went a-drinking and moved in two of my last four guys, with the last two so close to moving in. Barb spread out so Karl couldn't draw two cards at once and had to drop back FAR to get a card, leaving me a clear situation. I only had one card, but could drop back safely, as long as the card I drew wasn't a gun (the last space on the board). It wasn't, so I won.
Game 2: I "got" to start, as a "reward" for winning game 1. I had a little-connects hand, so I went out a bit, dropped back, and drew 1, waiting for an opening. Karl took full advantage of my pairing to get two cards and move ahead. Barb didn't quite grok the game and bounced around randomly for a bit. I had a good draw and could use a trio of jolly rogers (the first spot on the board, but...) to move my two guys who were out a LONG ways along and not leave a nice path.
The next few turns I was lucky (err....skillful) in getting Barb and/or Karl on spots ahead of me and moving great distances without much matching in my hand. After a few rounds, Karl and I were neck-and-neck and Barb was a complete non-factor, reduced to playing with herself and unable to take advantage of our pieces position, either to draw or move further.
Once again, drinking paid off. Another trio of bottles let me leapfrog some spots and move from fairly-even to distinctly ahead. I ended up with all my guys in, Karl had 2, and Barb had 0. LUCK was definitely in my favor strongly the second game, though.
All-in-all, a very fun end to a day of gaming.