Sanjay escorted Mel home while Vicki and I waited in his apartment. It was quarter after midnight, but we just had to squeeze in one more game. And the three of us love 'the meeple game', so it was a closer of Carcassone!
The Players: Vicki P., Myself (Mark E.), Sanjay M.
This game was much different from our previous encounter where Vicki just ran away with it from Sanjay and I. In fact, Vicki managed to get stuck around the high 20's, low 30's while Sanjay and I lapped around the meeple scoring track.
I, however, had control of this game about half-way through and didn't lose it. I realized that my mistake in our initial playing was over-play of meeples as farmers. Farmers are great, but since they don't pay off until the end of the game you are wasting scoring chances by not placing them someplace else.
And since we play with the river expansion, farms are not quite so valuable (read: game balance destroying) as they would be.
My own masterstroke of evil came when I was working on a nice large city unaided in one area of the board. Vicki began placing city tiles and meeples close by that were unconnected but easily could have been brought in. However, I cut her out completely by finishing my own city and leaving her with a smaller one that proved impossible to finish.
And who says you can't play Carcassone at least slightly cut-throat? ;)
Sanjay focused more on scoring roads this game while picking up the little two-point micro-cities that form from time to time. His own attempt at an actual decent city fell completely flat and he didn't free up his meeple until the end game.
I don't have exact scores but in the end I had around 80 points, Sanjay was somewhere around 60-70, and Vicki just barely managed to cross the 50 point mark.
I find Carcassonne unbelievably addicting. The game itself is fun, it's easy to play, and it looks gorgeous as the cities and rivers and roads slowly form themselves from nothing. Sanjay and Vicki both love it too.
I give it a well-deserved 8. And that's the end of another exciting gaming evening, a full eight hours of non-stop play!