I've recently started a habit of driving over to a fellow gamer's office 1/week to play games at lunch. Today we played San Juan. I'd played it once or twice before with John, the first time losing horribly in a 3 player game as I tried to work out what I was doing ... the next time we played it was 1 game each ...
This time I tried to think a bit more about my various options and strategies.
In the first game John quickly got a production advantage and had the traders post down, so I was always going to struggle playing the game that way ... We had also both got the library down fairly early, so I decided to focus on receiving most of my cards through prospecting. At the same time, I managed to get down both the Palace (?) [1 VP extra per 4] and the ???? [+1 VP per voilet building] and went on a violet building spree. On the other hand John had lots of discounts for building things ...
Game finished with me winning 42-37 (exact scores approximated)
Second game with both got libraries and chapels down early with the chapel filling up quite well. In the early game I struggled with buildings as John managed to pick the builder consistently ... but my prospecting kept me in the game. Also John built a prefecture early and started using the Coucillor phase to build up his hand ... so I countered by building one too. By mid-game, I seemed to be grabbing the builder most of the time and put together the statue, hero, monument (?) and the triumphal arch.
Game finished with me winning 52-47 (exact scores approximated)
Third game the libary was the first building I built, closely followed by the chapel ... but I couldn't pick upo any decent buildings or producers ... so I spent a few turns with the Councillor. I followed up with Coffee and Silver, with a trading post to John's Silver. As the game progressed I managed to be outselling him (while he had the aqueduct, he only had the Indigo and silver) through my greater production overall. Poor John couldn't find the library as they had been buried fairly early under my chapel. John did manage to get the Arch with all 3 monuments while I had the Palace and the Guild Hall (+2 VP per production building) and started building 2 or 3 VP production buildings.
Game finished with me winning 62-52