I got this game because BGG says that this is a great intro game for newbies. I'm trying to get my friends to come over and play the more complex games, and I thought this might be a good one for crossing them over.
I got my wife to play our first game. We both liked it a lot. The rules are very quick, just like everyone said they'd be, and the game moves pretty quick once you get the first few cards down and get the feel for how it works. We agreed to try three rounds. The first game was quick and since we made a few errors, I'll skip that one and call it a practice game. The errors were: I picked up a card first without thinking (old habits from other cg's), instead of playing a card, and she let me keep it. That card turned out to get me a bunch of negative points! She somehow ended up with only 6 cards in her hand at one point, and I let her draw two, which could have messed up my scoring possibilities pretty bad.
The next game we agreed on three rounds also. I downloaded the "Professional_scoresheet" pdf file from BGG, which is VERY handy and looks good. We both already felt like we picked up a little strategy even with only one play, so we played a little more carefully, but the rounds were still fast. At first, Karen seemed a little disappointed about the seeming lack of ability to mess with your opponent's plays, but after we realized there's only one of each card, she changed her mind. If you pay attention, you can make an educated guess as to what your opponent is up to, and you can decide better what to give up on, too.
We both played pretty much like we had in the first game, and I ended up with a nice 48, and she got 24. The round took 15 minutes, including calculating our score.
Here Karen figured out (near the end of the round) that taking cards off the discard piles, even if they're useless, gets you extra turns. I think we both got a few extra points using that knowledge. She got a LOT more points than me that time though: she 72, me 26. Also took about 15 minutes, with calculating. During this round, Karen somehow ended up with too few cards again. 5, I think. I made her keep that handicap (heh, heh). Unfortunately, it didn't hurt her that much. (Curses!)
I'm starting to notice that our playing is more careful in the beginning, just like someone embarking on an expedition! We both tended to discard a little more the first few turns and wait to see if we could draw some better starting cards. Then we went on a frenzy of playing the cards we collected, picking up discards to grab some extra turns. This helped me out a LOT. I made up a little of the point gap. She 71, me 58. 20 minutes.
She: 167, Me: 132, game took 50 minutes.
We both enjoyed it a lot, and I predict we'll have fun teaching this to our friends. There seems to be some depth here. I look forward to more games!