Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Randy was out when I arrived for his NYE game afternoon & evening, but Mel was home and desperately wanting some relief from the madness of the rest of the holiday season, so I was quite happy to engage her in a couple of games of Carcassonne. Mel has played a lot of Carcassonne, but I've played one or two games in my time and I'm not the worst player in the world, so we got in a couple of fun and interesting games.
The initial dozen or tiles for the first game were bizarre - I drew one cloister and a lot of road tiles, so I had few options - a bandit, a monk and a farmer (just in case). Meanwhile, Mel was drawing city tile after city tile - and not ones that were closing off the city, either - those massive "3 side" tiles were clumping together for her, and so a massive city began to take form. She did draw some other city tiles as well, and so scored the first points for a 8-point city.
The tile draw settled down after a while and we moved into the regular run of cloisters, small cities and the roads around them. Mel is quite happy to steal my points for roads, and managed to do so on a couple of occasions - once on quite a long road, to my frustration. However, she wasn't able to protect her megacity, and I snuck in a knight so that when it was eventually finished, we scored the 30 points or so it was worth. Meanwhile, I finished my own larger city for about 12 points, and I began to draw ahead on the scoring track. As we got down to the last few tiles, it was obvious that my farmers would hold their own despite Mel's manoeuvring, and so I took the game, 126 points to 106.
The second game was closer still. Mel again began with an 8 point city, although this time I was gaining more city tiles and Mel more road tiles. Cloisters flocked to Mel, but they proved troublesome as she played two next to each other, and I was able to play a city tile that made it impossible for either to be completed - yes, Mel would gain 16 points for the two at the end of the game, but her meeples were trapped.
Mel did likewise to some of my road and city meeples, and we stayed in very, very close touch. Mel and I both built bigger cities, but neither of us could steal them from the other. I played the "big city" tile to make it much more difficult for Mel to complete hers, but in the end it just gave her more points as she skilfully completed it - somewhat to my surprise - for 36 points. Ouch!
However, I'd gained a lot of points elsewhere, and, once again, I was ahead with farms. As we scored as the game ended, Mel's lead slowly was reduced... until a solitary point separated us, but I could do no more. Mel had won, 106 to 105! What a close and entertaining game!
Unfortunately, by this time, the others were arriving so we couldn't play a deciding game, but they were two excellent games of Carcassonne on New Year's Eve!