...how British am I?
After reading a number of glowing reviews for this game (i.e. Carcassonne helped bridge the gap in my relationship with my son) and discovering that it is a particularly good two-player game (I'm always searching for games that my lady friend might enjoy), I finally threw down the money and bought the basic game (w/ river expansion included) today. I'm just getting into board games and this seems like an appropriate next step. I’ve played the game three times thus far. My session report:
An inebriate won game 1. Need I say more? Round one's always practice, right?
Game 2 was a night later with the lady friend. Cutting from five to two players offered up new glimpses into strategy. This was her first game, so she spent most of her time collecting points through cloisters, roads and cities while almost completely ignoring farmers until the end of the game when it was too late. Because of this, I easily captured every city on the board and nearly lapped her on the scoring track.
Game 3 went down tonight, with just me and the lady friend again. This game was much closer and certainly more enjoyable. This game featured a couple of big realizations for me. The first was that in this game you can completely heckle your opponent and mess with their goals. In a quick two turn move I stopped her from getting 24 points. With my first tile I placed a knight next to her largest city. With my second tile I built myself into that city and closed the wall to force a tie in said city. My second significant realization in the game was that in a two-player game, the proper and adequate networking of farmers is central to winning the game. I invested early on in a couple of farmers to secure up a number of small cities that were formed around the starting space. As the game progressed, this same space grew to contain 6 cities. As we approached the end she made a considerable push to merge her farmers to this area. It really came down to the wire. Within the last five tiles, she freed a meeple and placed a farmer one tile away from being merged into the city center. Fortunately for me, we ran out of tiles at the perfect time.
I can already tell that this game is going to have me hooked. It's got the pieces of my favorite types of games: a helping of chance, simple rules/mechanics, and great strategy just below the surface.
NOTE I: After the first game, I had a couple questions about gameplay, but I found answers for those with a quick forum search (Good lord I love this website).
NOTE II: My Carcassonne box came with an extra red meeple, so if anyone is missing exactly one red meeple, I've got you covered. That, or I'll glue him to the front of my car like a hood ornament.