Mixing languages in the title, I know.
Last night I brought out Hacienda to play with my wife and her friend Vicki, for the first time for both of them. I have been trying to find slightly less complicated games to play with my wife since recently figuring out that all the games she dislikes are the longer, more complicated ones. This realization came after trying to force her to play 1960 with me, which will never happen again! Hacienda is a nice middle-ground game, not very complicated but with some good strategy.
We played the symmetrical dog bone board, which I don't remember ever playing (gamers like the non-symmetrical board).
I started my land grab in the north central, with the intent of getting a few nearby markets quickly. My wife started hers in the south central, and Vicki started in the southeast corner, next to the water.
I continued to pursue the "get to a bunch of markets" strategy throughout the game, building a few different small farms to get to as many markets as possible. I think I've always gone for this strategy and wouldn't know how to play the game any other way. My wife and Vicki at first went for the big land mass strategy, although Vicki quickly realized that she could block me with a couple of tiles, and did so.
At the first scoring I was ahead by half a dozen points or so, because I had at least two more markets than anyone else. All of my lands were at least three tiles each, so I didn't do too badly on land scoring either.
But I was always cash-poor the entire game, since my herds and lands were small. But my wife and Vicki were making money hand over fist with their huge herds and land masses, raking in 15, 20 pesos at a time. I, on the other hand, had to resort to harvesting all of my lands just to get enough money to buy the animals I needed.
In the end, the more markets strategy won out, and I won by about 10 points. The extra points they made up with all of their water and hacienda purchases didn't make up for the extra points I got by connecting to all of the markets but two. Everyone enjoyed the game more or less, and agreed that it was a good, not-overly-complicated-like-that-stupid-1960-game game.