Today Victor and I played my favourite two player variant.
The variant goes as follows: Each player plays two colours. Players alternate turns and colours. Scoring is as in the rules (highest single scoring colour wins). Royal islands are made as in the rules (only one colour may be on the island to make it royal).
This was by far the tightest game I have ever played. Several times we had to count each other's scores because the points were that close.
Me: Purple, Green. Victor: Red, Yellow.
Victor took the lead through most of the game. I tried to take as much advantage as I could of my green pieces (sacrificing them as much as possible). I sacrificed when I could get Victor's colours off the board. Victor was playing a very balanced game, scoring very well for both his pieces. I noticed that both strategies worked well, as our three scores (Purple, Red, Yellow) were so close for much of the game. Sacrificing Green gave me a slight edge, I think.
At the end I got lucky and was able to bump Victor off three key islands, and he wasn't able to get back on them.
All in all a very tight game.
Me: Purple: 32
Victor: Red: 30
Victor: Yellow: 22
Me: Green: 18